Gambling
Updated January 5, 2024
BY Lines

Point Spread Betting Explained: What Does Bet the Spread Mean?

If you're a passionate sports fan, chances are you've come across the term “Point Spread Betting”. Point spreads are one of the most popular types of bets in the sports betting world.

While it can be a little confusing, we're going to try and explain everything you need to know about point spreads and how to be successful betting on them. 

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What Is Point Spread Betting? 

In simple terms, a point spread in sports betting is a wager on the margin by which the favorite team must win a matchup.

If the team has a minus sign, that means they're the favorite and they'll have to win by the specified number or more for you to win your bet. If the team has a plus, that means they're the underdog and they'll have to either win the game or lose by less than the specified number for you to win.

Key Takeaways

  • Point spread betting involves betting on how much a team wins by.
  • In spread betting, the underdog can win or lose by less than specified points.
  • You can control point spread by observing the line movement pre-game.
  • Using an online sportsbook simplifies the betting process.
  • Spread bets change because sportsbooks shift odds for balanced outcomes.
  • Point spread betting involves managing the risk and understanding the market.
  • Get Edge our AI Sports Betting prediction System for unrivaled advantages! 

Each team will have different odds, so make sure you're paying attention to them.

Monitoring The Point Spread

The easiest way to control the point spread is to pay attention to the days leading up to the game.

Not only will you be able to see any important information pop up, like injuries, but you'll also be able to see who the favorite (the team that is most likely to win) is and who isn't. In addition, being able to watch the line move will give you an idea of which team you should bet on and when you should bet. If you aren't really sure how things will turn out, it's a good idea to avoid betting altogether until the next game.

Betting the Spread

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The entire process of betting can be simplified by using an online sportsbook.

To begin, either create an account or log in to your existing one. Next, simply choose the sport you want to bet on and go to that page. You'll then see all of the lines and games for the upcoming days. The next thing you'll do is decide whether you want to bet on the favorite or the underdog. Once you know, go ahead and click on that team. From there, decide how much you want to bet and place it.

Bet on the Spread: How Does It Work?

Spread betting works by allowing the sportsbooks to make two teams that are unbalanced to be more balanced. They do this by taking points from the favored team and giving points to the underdog, which will be labeled by either a plus or minus. The minus means the team is the favorite and they have to win by more than the number specified. The plus means the team is the underdog and they have to either win or lose by less than the specified number.

Understanding Odds 

Positive (+) and negative (-) odds are a format used by bookmakers offering sports betting services in the US. When you see a team with -110 odds (or -120, -200, etc.) it means they are the favorite to win the matchup and cover the spread.

For example, in an NFL matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Jets, -110 point spread odds indicate that the Chiefs are a favorite and that you’d need to wager $110 to win $100. 

If oddsmakers set the line at 6.5 points, the Chiefs would have to win by a margin of 7 points or more for a bet on them to be successful. 

What is Leverage in Spread Betting?

Leverage means that you'll only need to use a little bit of capital in order to open a larger position. In simple terms, this means you can put down a small deposit to open your position instead of having to pay a large amount. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that both profits and losses are much bigger because everything is determined by using the full trade value instead of the smaller deposit that you originally put down.

What is Margin in Spread Betting?

“Margin” is the difference between the final score of two teams in a game. In the context of spread betting, “margin” is the variance between two teams that is used to determine the outcome of the bet.

So, for instance, if the spread for two NFL teams is 6.5, the favorite must win by at least a 7-point margin for a bet on them to be successful.

Main Features of Point Spread Betting

There are three main features of spread betting, which are the point spread, the favorite, and the underdog. Keep reading to see a more in-depth explanation of these below.

THE SPREAD

The spread is the difference between Team A and Team B. The bigger the spread is, the bigger the underdog will be. Every sport and game are different, so make sure you know how to read multiple point spread bet types.

THE FAVORITE

The favorite is the team that a sportsbook thinks will win. They use many things to figure this out, including how many people have bet on the team, how they've been doing during the season, how many players have been injured, and which team has home-field advantage.

THE UNDERDOG

The underdog is the team that isn't as popular and has a lower chance of winning. They are the team that has the plus sign in front and they usually lose more games than the favorite. With that said, though, there's nothing that says they can't come out on top.

Why Do Point Spreads Change?

The simple reason for this is because the sportsbook has the right to shift the odds and spread whenever they want. You have to remember they'll want to try and come out even, so they'll shift the odds and spread more toward their favor. This is something you want to watch because you never know when it'll change. If possible, try and check the lines multiple times a day to ensure you're staying up-to-date on exactly what's going on.

Should I Bet With Point Spreads?

There are a few instances when it's a good idea to bet on a point spread. The first is when both teams are relatively equal because there's a higher chance that you can win your bet. Another instance is if you're trying to get a larger return. These bets can give a great payout, but they can also cause you to lose a nice chunk of change.

The final instance is when you know what you're doing and completely understand spread betting because placing a bet when you aren't sure what you're doing can lead to losing quite a bit of money.

Benefits of Point Spread Bets

Some of the benefits of these types of bets include:

  • Don't have to choose a team to win
  • Chance for a high return

Point Spread Betting Strategies

There are a few different betting strategies…

PREDICT AND EXPLOIT

Sometimes, an extra half-point or full point could mean the difference between winning and losing your bet. The easiest way to do this is to watch the lines leading up to the game and decide if you want to bet now, later, or not at all. Remember, though, once you place your bet, you're locked in and can't change it.

CALCULATE BEFORE LOOKING

Try to make your own spreads and calculate before looking at the lines. All you do is take the games you think you'll be interested in betting on and put down what you think the spread will be. Once you have everything down, you'll be able to look at the actual lines and see how far off you were. Simply put, if you see that the lines are equal or more in your favor, place your bet!

THE PUBLIC AND THE SHARPS

If you're planning on betting on the underdog, you should wait until a few days before the game. As it gets closer, more people in the general public are going to be placing bets and the amounts will go up. 

Try to wait as long as possible before placing your bet. If you see a lot of movement earlier in the week, that's probably because of bettors that have a lot of money on the line. This is a good way to see where you should put your money.

DOUBLE DOWN

Let's say you place a bet on Team A to win. If you see that everything is moving more in your favor, don't be afraid to double down and place another bet.

How Point Spreads Are Used in Different Sports

Even though point spreads are used across multiple sports, they're all read pretty much the same way. The only difference is how they score. For example, basketball would be points and hockey would be goals. 

Managing Risk in Spread Betting

The great thing is that there are multiple tools that you can employ to manage your risk. For starters, you'll want to make sure you know the market you're betting on because it's never a good idea to go in blind. You'll also want to make sure you have earnings reports to ensure you know where your wins and losses are.

What is the Moneyline? 

A Moneyline bet is a wager on whether a team will win a game or event. In a moneyline bet, the bettor predicts that a team will win outright. The odds are typically represented using a positive (+) or negative (-) sign next to a number.

To better illustrate the concept of moneyline betting, let's say the Toronto Maple Leafs are playing the Montreal Canadiens in an NHL matchup. The Maple Leafs are the favorite to win, so they have a negative moneyline, say -150. 

This means that you would need to bet $150 to win $100 if the Maple Leafs win. The Canadiens, on the other hand, are the underdog, so they have a positive moneyline, say +120. This means that you would win $120 if you bet $100 on the Canadiens and they win.

What is Run Line Betting?

Run line betting is the baseball equivalent of point spread betting. A run line bet allows bettors to wager on the margin of victory (or loss) between two baseball teams. 

As runs serve as the scoring units in MLB games, these bets are referred to as “Run Line Bets,” distinguishing them from point spread bets. Run line bets are a way to level the playing field between the favorite and the underdog in a baseball game.

The run line, usually set at 1.5 runs, means the favorite team must win the game outright by at least 2 runs, and the underdog team must win outright or lose by one run.

Top Sportsbooks to Bet

If you love sports betting, you need a good sportsbook. But how do you choose one? There are many factors to consider, such as odds, markets, payouts, and features.

To make it easier for you, we've put together a list of the top sportsbooks to bet at. These are the best of the best, trusted by millions of bettors worldwide.

Draftkings Sportsbook

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Draftkings Sportsbook offers one of the most customer-centric sports betting experiences in the industry. They have a user-friendly platform that allows users to wager on online sporting events, fantasy sports, casino games, and more. 

DraftKings offers odds and betting markets for various sports, such as NFL, NBA, UFC, PGA, and College Football. 

Bet365

Bet365 is one of the world’s leading online sportsbooks, offering a wide range of betting markets and options for various sports and events. Whether you are into football, tennis, horse racing, or even darts, you can find competitive odds and exciting promotions at Bet365. 

You can also enjoy live online sports betting and live streaming of your favorite matches on their user-friendly platform.

888Sports

888sport is a leading online sportsbook that offers a wide range of betting options for your favorite sports. Whether you're a fan of football, basketball, baseball, or hockey, you'll find a variety of bets to place at 888sport.

In addition to traditional bets, 888sport also offers a variety of innovative betting options, such as live betting, same-game parlays, and in-play betting. This allows you to place bets on the action as it's happening, giving you more chances to win.

BetMGM

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BetMGM is one of the leading online sportsbooks in the United States. The online sportsbook is known for its generous bonuses and promotions. 

New customers can claim a 100% match bonus on their first deposit up to $500. This means that if you deposit $500, betMGM will give you an additional $500 in bonus money to bet with.

If you're new to sports betting, BetMGM offers a comprehensive guide to betting that will teach you everything you need to know. This guide covers everything from the basics of placing a bet to more advanced topics like odds and money management.

Caesars Sportsbook 

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Caesars Sportsbook is a great choice for sports fans who are looking for a wide range of bets on many sports, easy-to-use navigation, and generous promotions. 

Caesars Sportsbook also has a helpful customer support team that is available to answer any questions you may have.

FAQs

WHAT IS A SPREAD BETTING EXAMPLE?

Let's say Team A has +10 (-110) odds and Team B has -10 (-110) odds. The +10 means that Team A will have to win by at least 10 points for you to win your bet, while the -10 means Team B has to win outright or lose by fewer than 10 points for you to win your bet.

WHAT DOES SPREAD BETTING MEAN?

Spread betting is when you bet on a team to either win by a certain number of points or a team that has to lose by less than a certain number of points.

WHAT DOES A -6.5 SPREAD MEAN?

A -6.5 spread means the favorite team must win by more than 7 points and the losing team must lose by less than 7 points or win outright.


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