What Does PK Mean in Betting? – How Does PK Work in Betting?

PK is an abbreviation for Pick’Em in spread betting, referring to a betting market with a spread of zero (0) and equal odds – in other words, both teams or players being of the same ability, with no clear favorite.

But, what does PK mean in betting, and how does it work in different sports? Get ready to learn about reading PK betting odds and find out some handy strategies, plus all the pros and cons.

What Does PK Mean in Betting?

So, what does PK mean in sports betting? In a nutshell, PK in sports betting refers to a level betting market where there is no favorite between two teams or players. Also popularly referred to as “Pk’Em” or “Pick” for simplicity. The betting bracket may present the point spread as ‘0’ or use the abbreviation “PK,” as shown in the example below based on an NBA game between Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz:

pk betting 1

How to Read PK Odds

Understanding how PK sports betting works requires a firm understanding of point spread betting. A spread in betting refers to the number of points added or subtracted from a team pre-game. The logic behind it is reasonable.

Most games usually pit one stronger team/player (favorite) against a weaker one (underdog). The favorite is also known as ‘the chalk’ in betting, and is more likely to win, so bookies use spread to even the playing field. Ideally, everyone would bet on the favorite and win, denying bookies opportunities to make money. To this end, the bookie deducts some points from the favorite and adds some points to the underdog.

A negative (–) sign indicates deducted points, while a positive (+) sign indicates added points. The favorite team/player must score more points than indicated in the spread to win, while the underdog shouldn’t lose by more points than indicated in the spread.

However, the moneyline odds aren’t always equal for PK betting markets. They usually vary slightly for most sports betting markets, such as football and basketball. Interestingly, they usually vary considerably in soccer betting, as shown in the example below, where Everton have odds of +139 and Wolves +218.

PK betting

Different Sports with PK Betting

Now that we’ve answered the question what is a PK in betting, we can take a look at what sports betting markets can it apply to. PK bets work in any sport with games featuring evenly matched teams/players and where draws are highly likely. Here is an overview of how to use it when betting on four of the most popular sports:

  • NBA (Basketball)Betting on the NBA also involves high-scoring games, but PK betting markets still emerge once in a while when picking a winner (not covering the spread) becomes the only option. Moreover, both teams’ moneyline odds are usually equal or almost equal, just like with PK in football.
  • NHL (Hockey)PK betting on the NHL follows the same principle as PK in football and basketball. Hockey is also a high-scoring sport, and games can never end in a tie. However, evenly matched hockey teams can form PK betting markets, eliminating the spread and leaving you with a moneyline bet as the only option.
  • Soccer – Unlike football, basketball, and hockey, many soccer games are low-scoring, meaning PK betting markets are more common. Interestingly, the moneyline odds for PK betting markets in soccer usually vary considerably – they are not equal or close like in football or basketball. Ties are also common in soccer bets, and the best offshore sportsbooks therefore issue refunds for PK bets that end in a tie.

Five Top Tips for Using PK in Betting

PK sports betting is not as easy as picking a winner. Both teams are evenly matched, making picking a winner tricky. To this end, you need a reliable betting strategy to make accurate picks at the best live sports betting sites. Here are five PK betting tips and strategies to help you bet like a pro:

  1. Research Each Team’s Form – Research factors affecting each team’s performance, including the game’s location (playing at home is usually an advantage).
  2. Review the Teams’ Head-to-Head Records – History tends to repeat itself, and the teams’ head-to-head records can give you a crucial insight into how they match up. However, remember to factor in each team’s current form when reviewing their head-to-head records.
  3. Stay Updated on the Latest News – Certain events can affect a team’s performance. An injury can leave a team weaker, while a new player or removal of a poor one can make them stronger.
  4. Check the Moneyline Odds – PK in spread betting is essentially a moneyline bet. The odds determine your potential payout. Additionally, the difference in odds can give you a clue on which team is the favorite or the underdog. As such, check the moneyline odds and do the math.
  5. Watch Your Timing – Bookies can add spread points to a PK bet as they adjust the market’s odds. As such, avoid wagering on PK betting markets too early.

How Does PK Betting Work with Different Betting Lines?

PK bets are compatible with different bet types and betting lines. Here is an overview of three easy ways to use PK with different betting lines:

Spread Betting

PK in spread betting is essentially making a moneyline bet. It involves picking a winner instead of betting on the spread, which is zero.

However, you can still use point spread betting in PK bets by placing early bets, ideally immediately after the market goes live. Bookies usually adjust their odds and spreads depending on betting volumes and other factors, meaning that a market’s spread can change to zero by the time the game starts. As such, placing your bet before other bettors allows you to lock in the spread.

For example, consider a bet based on a match between Arsenal and Chelsea, with a spread of +1.5 for Chelsea. Supposing that most bettors wager on Chelsea despite it being the underdog, the bookie may gradually change the spread to 0 to even the field. You can lock in the spread by betting before the bookie starts adjusting the odds and spreads.

Similarly, you should avoid betting on PK bets too early if the spread is zero shortly after the markets go live. This is because the bookie can set a new spread as they adjust the market’s odds based on betting volumes. You can take a look at this in action at the best online sportsbooks according to Reddit.

Parlay Betting

PK betting doesn’t affect parlay bets. Parlay betting involves placing multiple wagers on one bet. With PK bets, the individual odds would add up just like they do in ordinary point spread markets. Interestingly, PK parlays boost your bet’s odds, increasing the potential payout – the potential payouts for individual PK bets are usually small, considering the low odds ranging around -100.

Handicap Betting

Handicap betting involves giving the underdog an advantage over the favorite team/player by adding some points to the former and deducting an equal number of points from the latter. Overall, it works much like point spread betting.

Pros & Cons of PK Betting

PK bets have many advantages, including the following:


  • The betting options are simple and straightforward, as you only need to pick a winner.
  • You don’t need to worry about covering the spread, which can be tricky.
  • You can use a reliable PK betting strategy to make your picks more accurate.
  • PK betting markets are common in soccer and various other popular sports, creating many betting opportunities


  • Lower odds
  • No winnings when there is a draw

Overall, PK betting offers more benefits than disadvantages, and all you need is a good betting strategy to make it work to your advantage.


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