What is a Pick’Em in Sports Betting? How to Bet a Pick’Em

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What is a Pick’Em Bet?

You may have seen or heard the phrase “pick ’em” when looking to place a bet. I remember the first time I saw the acronym “PK” when placing a bet, and I thought my sportsbook was glitching out. The question is, what the heck is a pick’em? Long story short, a pick’em (aka pick or PK) is when both sides of the outcome have the same odds, there is no favorite or underdog.

With pick’em lines, there is no spread bet, and only the moneyline is offered for both sides at standard odds (-110; bet $110 to win $100). You are essentially given the choice to simply pick who you think will win the game. This can be used to your advantage because there are not the typically high juiced odds that you commonly see when looking at moneyline bets.

Pick’Em Bet Examples

Let’s run through a quick example of a pick’em bet. Say the Phoenix Suns are hosting the Golden State Warriors in Phoenix. Both teams have moneyline odds of -110, with the “PK” acronym showing for each point spread. This signifies a pick’em game. The two teams are perceived to be evenly matched for that particular game, so you have the same odds to pick either winner, no point spread is being offered. If this was being played in Golden State or a neutral site, the Warriors would most likely be favored and the game would not be a pick’em.

One important thing to remember when seeing pick’em bets – this by no means is an indication that a game is evenly matched in the eyes of the books. You must keep in mind that sports books change their point spreads according to the money that is coming in. If the books see that significantly more money is coming in on one team, they will adjust their odds accordingly. This rule applies to all lines, but it is particularly important to understand this rule when looking at pick’em lines. Just like any other bet, you should make sure to do your research on the game before locking in your pick. 

Pick’Em Betting Strategies

  1. How are other books valuing this game? Are they also offering a pick’em?
  2. Who is the home team/is there any type of home field advantage (even in a neutral site)? Does home vs. away record indicate value on either side?
  3. Are there important players injured causing the line to move toward a pick’em?
  4. Is there an opportunity for a positive value play, even with the pick’em line?
  5. What are the money trends for the game? What do additional sources of data like power ratings make the game?

As you can see, these are all factors that can and should be applied when looking at any line, and you should treat a pick’em bet like any other bet. Even if there is one team with the better record, for example, you should not rush to bet them to win.

Although pick’em lines offer the best moneyline odds in terms of value you must do the research to understand why the line is a pick’em and find the side that you believe has the most value.

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