When two sides are evenly matched in an event what results is known to bettors as a pick em. Traditional wagering has bettors betting on a point spread. For example, the Lakers might be six point favorites against Memphis at home. In that scenario, if you wagered on the Lakers to cover the number they would have to win by seven or more for your wager to be a winner. If you wagered on Memphis, and they won outright or lost by 5 or less then that would be a winner. A win by the Lakers of exactly six points would result in a push and all bettors getting their original stake back.
Sometimes the match-up is just too close to call and neither team is favored. That means that nobody gets any points or has to lay any points in the contest. It wouldn’t be difficult to imagine that same Lakers team playing the Spurs and being a pick ’em at home (with a healthy Kobe Bryant). The line would look like this:
Spurs pk -110
Lakers pk -110
You are just wagering on whichever side you think will win and neither team has to cover or stay within a number. The odds makers have agreed that this one is just too close to call. They have looked at the match-up from both sides and factored in the home field advantage and determined that it’s a toss up.
One slight bit of helpful information about a pick em line when they are played on someone’s home court is that the line maker actually thinks that the away team is superior. For example, in our above scenario the Lakers are having some points factored into the pick em line because they are at home. If the game was played on a neutral field the Spurs would probably be favored by 3 to 4 points. If it was in San Antonio we can see a scenario where the Spurs were favored by around six or seven points.
In reality, nothing changes much from a bettors standpoint on a pick em line. It just effectively turns a traditional point spread wager into a money line wager at -110. If you pick the winner you will still get paid like any other wager.