Point Spread Explained
Understanding the fundamentals of point spreads is essential to navigating the world of sports betting. When you bet with a point spread, you’re not just betting on who will win the game but also by how much. The “spread” refers to the margin of victory required for the favorite to cover the spread.
If the favorite wins by more than the spread, they cover. If the underdog loses by less than the spread or wins outright, they cover. Point spreads allow casual bettors to wager on games that would otherwise be too lopsided, making sports betting more interesting and engaging for all. Read on to learn the basics of how point spreads work and the key strategies to keep in mind.
A point spread is a number set by oddsmakers that aim to generate equal betting action on both sides of a sports wager. The spread adds points to the underdog team’s actual score to determine the winner against the spread. The favorite team has to win by a certain number of points to cover the spread.
How Does the Betting Point Spread Work?
For example, if the Patriots are 7-point favorites over the Jets, the point spread is Patriots -7. This means the Patriots have to win by 8 or more points to cover the spread.
If the final score is Patriots 31, and Jets 24, the Patriots did not cover because they only won by 7 points. However, if the final score is Patriots 35, Jets 21, then the Patriots covered the spread by winning by 14 points.
The point spread moves based on how people are betting to encourage equal action on both sides. If more money is coming in on the Patriots, the point spread may move to -7.5 or -8 to attract more bets on the Jets.
The point spread also takes into account home-field advantage and other factors to determine the estimated difference in final scores.
Does Point Spread Include Overtime?
In most sports, including basketball and American football, point spreads do typically include overtime. When you see a point spread listed for a game, it encloses the scoreline for the entire game, including any overtime periods that might occur.
However, it’s always a good idea to double-check the rules and regulations of the sportsbook or betting platform you’re using, as rules can vary slightly between different betting providers and regions.
Some key terms related to point spreads:
• Cover – When a favored team wins by more than the point spread. Bets on the favored team win.
• Push – When a team wins by exactly the point spread. The initial bet is refunded
• Underdog – The team expected to lose. Bets on the underdog can win if they lose by less than the point spread or win outright.
• Favorite – The team expected to win. Bets on the favorite only win if they cover the point spread.
• Teaser – A special bet where you can adjust the point spreads in your favor, but at worse payout odds. Usually allows you to adjust 2-4 point spreads by a certain number of points.
Why Is the Point Spread Important?
The point spread is one of the most popular types of sports bets. Millions of dollars are wagered on point spreads during major events like the Super Bowl. As a bettor, you’re not just picking the winner of the game but also whether a team will cover the spread.
The added dimension creates more possibilities and requires in-depth knowledge of teams and matchups to make an educated bet.
Understanding how the point spread works is fundamental to sports betting. Once you grasp the concept, you’ll be able to make smarter bets and increase your chances of cashing winning tickets. With experience, point spread betting can be very rewarding.
When you see a point spread for a game you want to bet on, you have two options:
- Bet on the favorite to win by more than the point spread. If the point spread is -7, you would need your team to win by 8 points or more.
- Bet on the underdog to lose by less than the point spread or win outright. If the point spread is -7, you would need your team to lose by 6 points or less or win the game.
Betting With the Spread
If you bet with the spread, you are betting on the favored team. For example, if Team A is favored by 7 points, betting with the spread means betting on Team A to win by more than 7 points.
If the final score is Team A 28, and Team B 17, you win the bet because Team A covered the spread by winning by more than 7 points.
However, if the final score is Team A 21, and Team B 20, you lose the bet because Team A did not cover the 7-point spread, even though they won the game.
Betting Against the Spread
Betting against the spread means betting on the underdog. Using the same example, if Team A is favored by 7 points, betting against the spread means betting on Team B to lose by less than 7 points or win outright.
If the final score is Team A 21, and Team B 20, you win the bet because Team B did not lose by more than 7 points. However, if the final score is Team A 28, and Team B 17, you lose the bet because Team B lost by more than 7 points.
When spread betting, you need to determine if the spread accurately reflects the difference in quality between the two teams. If you think the spread overestimates the difference, bet against the spread.
If you think the spread underestimates the difference, bet with the spread. Spread betting adds an extra element of both risk and reward that makes sports betting more challenging and exciting. With some research and sharp instincts, you can win money betting against spreads that you believe to be inaccurate.
Setting the Spread: How Oddsmakers Determine the Point Spread
To set the initial point spread, oddsmakers analyze historical data, trends, and statistics for the two teams. They consider the teams’ recent performances, head-to-head matchups, strengths, weaknesses, and matchups. They also account for external factors like home-field advantage, weather, and injuries.
Oddsmakers aim to determine a point spread that reflects the expected margin of victory for the favored team.
The point spread adds an element of excitement and uncertainty to sports betting. While the outcome of a match may seem obvious, the spread introduces the possibility of an upset and winning bet.
When setting and adjusting the spread, oddsmakers aim to find the delicate balance that motivates bettors to wager on both sides.
Key Factors in Setting the Point Spread
- Team strengths, weaknesses, and matchups
- Recent performance and trends
- External factors (home field, weather, injuries)
- Expected margin of victory for the favored team
- Monitoring betting action and adjusting to encourage two-way action
- Aiming for an equal number of bets and dollars on both sides
Point Spread vs Moneyline
Point spread bets are more focused on the margin of victory or defeat, making them useful when there’s an uneven matchup.
Moneyline bets, on the other hand, are about picking the winner regardless of the point difference.
The choice between the two types of bets often depends on the bettor’s preference, their understanding of the teams’ strengths, and the perceived risk and potential payout of each bet.
Understanding the basic concepts of point spreads and spread betting is crucial for anyone interested in sports betting. While the idea of picking a winner seems simple, spread betting adds an extra layer of complexity that requires knowledge and skill.
However, with time and experience, you’ll gain an understanding of spreads that will allow you to bet more strategically and provides you with more tools to find value bets.
Whether you bet big or small, spread betting makes any match more exciting by giving you a stake in the outcome.
Now that you comprehend the fundamentals, you can start developing your own spread betting strategies and systems to maximize your winnings
If you want to learn more about point spreads, take a look at our Asian Handicap article with an useful chart!