Online Betting » Betting Guide » What is a Dead Heat in Betting: Everything You Need to Know in 2024

What is a Dead Heat in Betting: Everything You Need to Know in 2024

Dave Kuzio
Fact checked by: Jim Knight
Publish Date: 01.07.2024

When you hear the term ‘dead heat’ in the world of sports betting, you automatically think of horse racing or greyhound racing. An event that is basically a race and can end up in a tie when you are looking for an outright winner.

During this guide, I will explain what a dead heat means and how it relates to different sports. Although dead heat betting is not commonplace in soccer, it does actually happen. I will be explaining which other sports often see a dead heat and what happens in terms of payout.

What Is A Dead Heat?

A dead heat is when two or more competitors in an event finish at the same time and cannot be separated with an outright winner declared. If you backed one of the competitors that ended up in a dead heat, you will still get paid out but your initial stake will be reduced. You will not receive the full payout because your selection was not the only winner.

Example Of Dead Heat In Soccer

Betting on the top goal scorer bet in the Premier League is very popular. It is a nice fun bet to have, and as long as your selected player has a good season then it could run until the final day of the season.

This happened in the 2018-19 campaign with Mohamed Salah, Sadio mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all vying for the Golden Boot.

Heading into the final game of the season, Salah led the way with 22 goals, while Mane and Aubameyang were two behind with 20. Mane and Aubameyang both scored two goals apiece with Salah failing to get on the score sheet. This meant the race for the Golden Boot was a tie with all three players on 22 goals.

If you look at the table below, Salah ended up with the most assists, but they do not count in the race for the Golden Boot. If you had selected any of the three players to finish as top goalscorer, you would have received a payout at lesser odds.

2018/19 Top Goalscorer

PlayerPriceWinner Payout (£10 bet)Dead Heat Payout + Stake
Mohamed Salah (22)6/1£70£29.98
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (22)10/1£110£43.33
Sadio Mane (22)80/1£810£276.40

Simple calculation of dead heat with three selections coming first:

Work out your winning from original odds of 10/1 for Aubameyang

£10 x 10 = £100 + Stake £10 = £110

The competition was a dead heat between three players

Divide your stake by 3 and that will be your new stake for the original odds

£3.33 x 10 = £33.33 + Stake £10 = £43.33

What Are Dead Heat Payout Rules?

The payout is calculated by dividing the stake by the number of competitors involved in the actual dead heat. If two players or horses are involved in a dead heat, then the stake is divided by two. If three are involved in the dead heat, then the stake is divided by three. It is important to understand that it is your stake that is altered by a dead heat and not the odds that were placed. Always check the rules laid out by each bookmaker, as some may differ from others.

Dead Heat Examples From Different Sports

Most people think of a dead heat in horse racing and even greyhound racing, but with all the different markets out there now, there are quite a few sports that can end up in a dead heat.

Check out the table below:

Dead Heat SportExplanation
Horse RacingThis is the most obvious one. Dead heats are quite common in horse racing when two or more horses cross the finish line at the same time.
Greyhound RacingVery similar to horse racing. Yes, these races are over in a flash but there are times when the dogs cross the line together causing a dead heat.
SoccerObviously, you cannot have dead heats in soccer matches as there are three outcomes. A dead heat in football could occur in markets such as top goal scorer or most assists.
GolfAlthough it doesn’t happen in every tournament, a dead heat in golf is quite common with the each way betting market. With some bookmakers paying up to eight places, it is not unusual for some players to end in a dead heat.
CricketHaving a dead heat in cricket is rare, but it can happen on occasion. In a Test match, both teams could end up on the same score. It is unlikely, but it could happen.
Rugby LeagueJust like soccer, this is not common but it has happened. You can bet on top try scorer and things like Lance Todd Trophy winner. Back in 2007, Paul Wellens and Leon Pryce were joint winners of the award. This meant it was a dead heat and bookmakers paid out for that outcome.
Formula OneThis is another race that could see two or more drivers cross the finish line at the same time. It is very rare that this happens, but it is still a possibility.

Final Say On Dead Heat Betting

A dead heat is basically when two or more competitors finish all level in an sporting event and cannot be separated at all. If that happens your bet does not win, but you will receive a payout with some of your stake being reduced.

In terms of horse racing, you want that horse to win. You do not want your stake halved because of a tie. Yes, the bet technically wins but your payout is lower than you had anticipated.

It is a nice little bit of insurance to have. If you are backing a player to be top goal scorer of a tournament and he ends up tying for top spot, it is a good bet to have because it can run for months. It is not as good if you are pipped on the final game of the season or your stake is lowered because of a tie.

That is the risk you take in sports betting, but overall dead heat betting is more rewarding than the bet being classed as a loser or void.

The majority of bookmakers will have their own rules for dead heats. Make sure you read them carefully before placing a bet if you think a dead heat could be a possibility after the event has finished.

Dead Heat Betting FAQ

🔢What is A Dead Heat?

A dead heat is where two or more competitors are tied for a single position. 

❓How Does A Dead Heat Affect My Bet?

It is the stake and not the odds that will be affected if you have a dead heat. That stake is divided by the number of competitors that finished in the dead heat.

✅Is It Common To Have A Dead Heat?

Getting a dead heat is not that common, but it does happen. Horse racing, greyhound racing and golf are the most common sports as they are all vying for a number one finish.

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