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Dead Heat rules in sports explained

Definition of Dead Heat rule

Dead Heat is a rule in sports betting that denotes a tie between two or, sometimes, more participants. It is most commonly applied to horse racing, dog racing, golf and motor sports. It applies in all bookmakers, but due to the fact that it is rarely used it is remains unknown to large part of the general public.

What exactly is the Dead Heat Rule?

This term is found under different names in native bookmakers due to impossible literal translation. For example.
Suppose we have placed a bet on first place in a horse race. But the top position is occupied by two contestants and even a photo finish cannot determine the ultimate winner. In this case, the bookmaker splits the bet in half and half of its value is multiplied by the preliminary odds.
If three or more contestants have the same result, the bet is divided by the number of contestants.
Learn more about expected value.

How does Dead Heat works in horse bets?

Let’s look at a situation that is typical of horse racing betting. We place a bet, the value of which is €/$10, to place runner 7 in the top three. The odds of the chosen selection are @2.20.
The contestant finishes in third place, but shares it with another contestant who recorded an identical time. The bookmaker settles our bet as a winner, but our payout equals €/$11 instead of €/$22.
The initial bet, which is €/$10, is divided by two – €/$5, and then multiplied by the stake of 2.20.

Check our horse racing calculator in-depth review for more information.

How Dead Heat is applied when betting on golf?

In golf, there are cases when several participants finish the tournament with the same number of points. If they are fighting for first place, a playoff is played, but no such rule applies to lower positions.
Let’s say we bet €/$20 on Tommy Fleetwood to finish in 3rd position and get odds of 3.50. If our prediction is correct, we should take home €/$70.
However, it turns out that four other players finished the tournament 10 points under par and tied with Fleetwood in 3rd position. So, our stake of €/$20 would be divided by 5 (the number of third places) and then multiplied by 3.50. In this case, we “win” €/$14, i.e. the betting bank will decrease by €/$6.

You can find additional information about the “Dead Heat” rule in your bookmaker’s terms and conditions.