What is Dead Heat Betting?

A Dead Heat is a tie between two or more outcomes in a betting contest with no method to determine an outright winner. The term dead heat comes from horse racing but today a dead heat most commonly occurs in golf betting. This post provides a way to calculate a dead heat payoff with an example.

Dead Heat Golf Example

A common golf bet is whether golfers will place top 5/10/25, etc. In most stroke play golf tournaments, if there’s a tie at the top, a playoff is used to determine the winner. But a playoff is not used to break ties for other places such as 5th, 10th, etc. So its common for golfers to finish tied for various places other than first.

Less commonly there are bets for team events about which golfers will get the most team points, and this also results in some ties. These ties create situations where dead heat rules apply. Depending on the number of players tied and the number of places offered, it affect settlement in a variety of ways.

Let’s say you bet $10 at odds of 10.00 on a golfer to finish Top 10, and they end up tied with two additional golfers for 10th place. This means there is a three golfer dead heat and a total of 12 golfers finishing in the top 10. Your payoff is determined by taking your original stake multiplied by the number of golfers involved in the dead heat and divided by the number of places available multiplied by your odds. In this case = stake * (number of expected winners / number of actual winners) * odds = 10 * (10 / 12) * 10.00 = $83.33.

So in this case your payout is reduced because more then the expected number of winners share in the payout. Without ties, your payout would have been $10 * 10.00 = $100.

Calculator & Freeplay Links

Calculating how much you are owed in a dead heat is a little tricky to do on the fly, so click on this link to view a Dead Heat Calculator from Smarkets.

I regularly write posts about betting and odds. Click here to view my other betting posts.

There are lots of freeplays available for sports bettors, click here for my list of freeplay and bonus codes. If you have bitcoins to bet with, check out Nitrogen Sports, which is my favorite bitcoin sports book.