# What Is a Draw in Sports Betting?

Draws are common in sporting events, especially in horse racing and football. But what exactly do bookmakers mean when they use this term in relation to sports betting? And what are the odds of getting a draw in any sport? Let’s take a closer look at these questions.

## What Is a Draw in Sports Betting?

When a game ends in a tie, bookmakers will often allow for a “draw” to decide the winner of the matchup. Mathematically speaking, a tie goes to the team that scored the most goals during the game. But why do bookmakers give in to this request from bettors? Why don’t they simply declare a winner based on the final score? The answer is simple: They want to keep your money. Having a draw gives them the opportunity to do just that. Here’s how it works:

## How Do Bookmakers’ Favorite Pastime?

It’s all in the name. When a game ends in a tie, the winner is usually determined by drawing. It’s the bookmakers’ way of keeping the action flowing and generating additional betting volume. By entertaining fans (and hopefully, bettors) with a little suspense, they stand a chance of keeping more cash in their pockets. For that reason, draws are usually seen as a positive thing in relation to sports betting. For every game that ends in a draw, there will be at least one winner each time the bout is settled.

As for the odds of getting a draw in any sport, let’s break it down by event type. In hockey, a draw is probably the most likely scenario. The puck will just as likely stay on the ice for the entire length of the game as it will slowly circle the rink (or the arena) before settling in to become a draw. Thus, in case of a tie, there is no clear cut winner because there is no clear definition of a “goal” in hockey. In fact, there is no definition of a “goal” at all. In order to generate more interest in the game, the referees have the power to blow the whistle for a sudden-death overtime period. In case of a draw, the game will likely continue until someone scores. In other words, the odds of a hockey game ending in a draw are extremely high. Similar results can be seen in basketball, where the two teams are usually tied at the end of the game, and they have to settle for a tie as well. In both sports, the odds of a draw are usually 1 in 2 or 1 in 3.

## Can A Draw Improve The Odds For My Favorites?

Although a tie is usually a negative thing in relation to sports betting, it can sometimes be a good thing. In other words, getting a draw can sometimes improve your odds of winning. This is generally the case when the game is close, i.e., within a margin of victory or a loss. In fact, the closer the game is, the more likely it is that a draw will happen because there will be less time remaining once the clock strikes zero. Let’s take a look at an example: Let’s say Joe Hockey is backing the Los Angeles Lakers against the Golden State Warriors. Both teams have an identical record (5–1), and their matches will be held over three games. According to the latest odds, Joe’s odds of winning are 10/11 (91.36%). In other words, there is a 10% chance he will win. But here’s the catch: Since the matchup is still close, the game might not yet be over. In the last game of the series, the Warriors defeated the Lakers in seven games. In case of a draw, the series would have ended in a tie (3–3), which would have given the Warriors the nod due to their overall winning percentage. In another example, let’s say the Miami Heat are playing the Toronto Raptors and the score is tied at the end of regulation. The clock then stops and the two sides realize they’re evenly matched. Therefore, they decide to engage in a time-out situation. After some discussion, they decide to play one more period to determine a winner. Unfortunately for the Raptors, the Heat score the next three goals (in a row) during the overtime period and eventually win the game. In this case, the odds of the game ending in a draw decreased from 11/4 (73.91%) to 9/2 (90.48%). In other words, the draw decreased the odds of the Heat winning by 4%–6%. These kinds of events make it more difficult for the underdog to win, as he or she will have to outperform the odds (rather than simply match them).

## How Does A Draw Affect My Chances Of Winning?

While a tie can sometimes be a good thing for an underdog in the form of increased odds, it also has the potential to hurt them as well. This is generally the case when the favorite enters the situation. A tie can decrease the odds of the favorite winning, albeit it rarely by a significant margin. For that reason, it is always a good idea for the favorite to avoid tying when they can. Let’s take a look at an example: Let’s say Seattle takes on San Francisco in the 2016 NFC Championship game. The 49ers are the current defending Super Bowl champions and are considered one of the best teams in the history of the league. They have won 18 out of the last 20 games, with their only loss coming in 2014 against the Seattle Seahawks. In theory, the odds of the 49ers winning this game are 12/1 (12.00/1), which is extremely high. However, the game is still very much in doubt. In the last minute of the 4th quarter, the 49ers trail by two points. The two teams then agree to a draw and the game goes to overtime. In overtime, the 49ers immediately take the lead and go on to win the game 17–14. In this case, the odds of the game ending in a tie decreased from 12/1 (12.00/1) to 4/1 (4.00/1). In layman’s terms, this is equivalent to decreasing the odds of the 49ers winning by 8%.

## How Does A Draw Affect My Odds Of Getting Some Extra Points?

This is mainly an issue for football fans since the majority of NFL games end in a draw. Unless otherwise specified, any overtime period (or periods) in NFL matches will be decided by a “field goal,” where the points will be determined by the amount of points scored in regulation. Thus, if a team is leading by a wide margin at the end of regulation, the other team will normally concede and request a draw. This is mainly due to the fact that a team that is losing by a large margin usually doesn’t have enough time left in regulation to make up for the deficit. As a result, they often choose to play for a draw rather than risk going into overtime with a chance of losing. This is particularly useful for fans that like to bet on games with some extra excitement rather than just laying down the wagers based on the final score. One example of this is the 2014 AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts. Indianapolis is a familiar foe of New England, having played them six times since 2007. This matchup was bound to be competitive, given their history and familiarity. In the first half, the two teams were tied at 3–3 (3 points per team). The score remained still at the end of regulation, which meant that the game went to a tiebreaker — the field goal. In the ensuing overtime period, New England scored two touchdowns and a field goal, which gave them 7 points and a 7-3 lead over the Colts. In essence, the Patriots had increased their odds of winning by 5%, due in large part to the fact that they requested a draw at the end of regulation rather than risk going into overtime and possibly loosing.

As a general rule, it’s a good idea for the favorite to request a draw rather than let the game end in a tie. If this is done at the end of regulation, then the game will likely end in a tie, and the oddsmaker will have to calculate the winner based on other criteria. However, sometimes it’s not possible to avoid a tie. If this happens, then the decision should be based on how important it is to avoid a tie. For instance, let’s say the two teams are still tied when the fourth quarter is about to end. In this case, the fans are still interested in seeing their team prevail, but they don’t want to wait until the end of the game to do so. In case of a draw, the game will likely continue until someone scores. This is usually the preference of the fans since it’s more exciting to see the game end in a shootout rather than a tie. Of course, this is all based on whether or not the fans are actually backing the underdog. If they are, then a tie might actually be preferable, due to the fact that it increases the odds of the underdog winning. In any case, it’s always a good idea to watch out for ties when betting on sports.