What Does PK Mean in Betting? – Pick’Em Explained

Author photo

Written by Dan Fitch

Updated: 07:19 am EST, 02/07/2024

If you’ve ever wondered what does PK mean in betting, then this is the article for you. A ‘PK’ is an abbreviation of ‘Pick’Em’, which is when oddsmakers don’t have a favorite on their spread market, for a sporting event. We’re going to go into depth regarding this betting term, giving you some practical examples of how it can be used.

How PK Betting Works

With a PK bet both selections have identical odds. If it is a market that features a spread, there will be a zero spread. The contest is rated as being dead even.

The oddsmakers cannot separate the competitors in the betting odds and think that they both have the same chance of winning.

pick'em meaning in betting

A good example could be found in the heavyweight boxing clash between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk. Their fight saw two world champions putting their respective belts on the line, with the winner to be crowned as the undisputed heavyweight king.

Both men had unbeaten records and have racked up many accomplishments over their storied careers. There were strong arguments as to why each fighter has a chance of winning.

Appropriately, the betting was very tight. Some sportsbooks had it dead even, with Fury and Usyk both available at odds of -110 and the draw out at +1600. That meant that neither man was favorite and both were rated as slight underdogs.

This fight represents just about a good example as you are likely to find of pick em betting. The oddsmakers couldn’t separate them and neither result would have represented a surprise.

Placing a Pick’Em in Sports Betting

We’re now going to take you through the steps of placing a pick ‘em bet. Follow this step-by-step advice for placing a bet on a PK.

1. Choose a Sportsbook

Take a look at our recommended sportsbooks and choose the one that best suits your needs. Click on the appropriate link to take you through to your chosen betting site.

2. Sign Up

Once on the sportsbook website there will be a button to click on which will take you through to the registration process. Typically it was be marked as ‘join now’ or ‘sign up’. Find it, click on it and enter your personal details to set up an account.

3. Add Funds

You will need money in your new sportsbook account before you can place a bet. Find the cashier section, choose a payment type and select the amount of money that you want to deposit.

4. Find a PK bet

Take a look through the sportsbook and browse through the events and markets that are covered. Eventually you’ll come across a pick ‘em bet that you can place.

5. Place Your Bet

Once you’ve found a PK opportunity, click on the selection that you want to bet on, choose a stake and confirm your bet. The only thing to do once your bet is on, is to watch the event and hope that your wager is successful.

What Does PK Mean in Sports Betting?

Having explored PK meaning in sports betting, we’re now going to look at some major sports in which you’ll sometimes find a zero spread.

What Does PK Mean in NFL Betting?

Different trends occur in sports over the years, which can have an impact on betting. In 2023 the average margin of victory in NFL games significantly grew from 2022, which meant that there were less instances of an NFL pick’em.

It will be interesting to see the future trends that develop and if they have an impact upon what does PK mean in football betting. The evolution of scoring stats in a sport, is generally the result of tactical trends. This means that we should see a return to there being more instances of pick ‘ems in future years.

What Does PK Mean in Basketball Betting?

Basketball is a high-scoring sport. Yet the margins of victory can be surprisingly slim. This means that an NBA pick’em is not as rare an occurrence as one might expect.

Sportbooks can often drop soft NBA lines when they release them early. If you can spot a PK opportunity, you may be able to back a team at -110, before a stronger favorite emerges and the line begins to shift.

Pick’Em Betting in Other Sports

You may wonder what does PK mean in betting on other sports. In baseball there are regular instances of pick ‘em wagers to be found. When spreads are released early, you’ll often find MLB games with equal odds. The same is true in the NHL. Hockey is a low scoring sport, where the margins of victory are generally pretty slim.

Then there are individual sports to consider. Particularly at the very highest level of such sports, individuals can compete who are very well-matched and oddsmakers won’t be able to separate them. This can be true in sports such as tennis and also combat sports such as MMA or boxing.

Exception to the Rule – What Does PK Mean in Soccer Betting?

There is one sport where the term PK may not necessarily mean a pick’em and that is soccer.The soccer PK meaning can be an abbreviation that refers to a ‘penalty kick’.

A penalty kick is when a foul occurs within the penalty area and the team that have been disadvantaged are awarded a shot at goal against the goalkeeper from 12-yards. It is of course possible for there to be a pick’em is a soccer betting market as well.

Don’t confuse these two different types of PK. Soccer is a low scoring sport where well-matched teams often play each other, which can result in such instances.

What Does PK Mean in Betting Strategy?

As we have now addressed the topic of what does PK mean in betting, you may be ready to place such a bet. Before you do, here are some strategies that you may wish to consider.

Question Whether a PK is Legit

A golden rule in betting is to look for value. You can find value in instances where the oddsmakers have incorrectly priced a market and a selection is available at a bigger price than should really be the case.

Experience can play a big part in spotting such opportunities, but so can putting in some hard work, by doing plenty of research. You may find instances of incorrect PK betting meaning where a selection has a bigger price than it should. If there’s a spread of zero, ask yourself if there really should be some sort of spread in place.

Check For Alternative Spreads

If you find that there’s a PK with a spread of zero and you think that realistically there should be some sort of spread in place, then you may be able to find one and extract some extra value from your bets. Quality sportsbooks will provide a deep range of markets for any event they cover.

This will typically include alternative spread options, with a number of different point advantages/disadvantages to bet on. So take a deep dive into the markets on offer to find better odds. That way, you don’t have to bet ATS (against the spread), but simply on an alternative.

Wait For Live Betting

When a sporting event starts, the betting continues. The market goes live and the odds move based on how things play out in the game. This means that a game can start as a pick’em, but that a favorite may emerge at some point.

By definition, a PK is a difficult bet to predict. This is because the different outcomes have equal probability. Sometimes it pays to wait until the market is turned live to see how things go, presenting the opportunity to make a more informed choice.


What is PK in betting?

What does PK mean in spread betting?

Is a PK bet the same as Moneyline?

How rare is zero spread betting?

Why is there a different PK meaning in soccer to other sports?

Does PK stand for penalty kick?