Gambling
May 20, 2022

Spread Betting Explained

One of the most popular sports wagers is betting the point spread.

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

What Is A Point Spread?

In simple terms, a point spread is a bet on how much the favorite team will win by.

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.

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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.

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

Controlling 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 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.

How To Place Bets With The Point Spread

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.

Keep in mind, that once your bet is placed, you can't back out.

How Does Spread Betting 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, both of 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. This means you can place a bet on both teams if you're confident it'll work out in your favor!

What Do ‘Long’ and ‘Short’ Mean in Spread Betting?

Long is when you buy and short is when you sell. There will be two boxes with numbers and these are your buy and sell boxes. The long box will almost always have a lower price and the short box will have a higher one.

The difference between these two numbers is known as the bid/offer spread or the bid/ask spread. In short, the price has to move a good amount of distance in order for you to win. This is true regardless of whether you're on the long or short side.

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?

There are two different types of margins in spread betting, which are deposit margin and maintenance margin. Deposit margin is the initial deposit you put down to actually open a position while maintenance margin is the amount you'll put in if your position starts accumulating losses that can't be covered by the deposit you put down.

The good thing is you'll get something called a margin call, which is just a notification saying that you need to add more money and the reason why.

Main Features of Spread Betting

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

The Spread

The spread is the differences between Team A and Team B and how much each team will win. The bigger the spread is, the bigger the underdog will be. Every sport and match or game is 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 towards 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 are listed next.

  • 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 and we've talked more about them below.

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 line 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. This could lead to winning double the money!

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How Point Spread 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, football would be goals, basketball would be points, and hockey would be goals. It'll all depend on the game and if you aren't sure, you can reach out to the pros handling your money.

How To Read a Point Spread

It's actually really easy to read spread bets once you know what you're doing. Let's say Team A is -6.5 and Team B is +6.5. The minus means that Team A is the projected favorite and the plus means that Team B is the underdog. With Team A, they'll have to win by 7 or more points for you to win your bet and Team B will need to win or lose by less than 7 for you to win your bet. If Team A doesn't win by 7 and Team B either doesn't win or loses by more than 7, then you won't make anything.

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.

Finally, make sure you're using stop losses to ensure you're in a favorable position if the market turns on you and you'll be able to lock in winnings without accidentally losing them all back.

Betting Spreads FAQ

We understand that betting spreads can be confusing, so we put the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions below. Take a look below to see them.

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 our bet, while the -10 means Team B has to lose by fewer than 10 points for you to win your bet.

What do spread bets mean?

With spread bets, the plus means the underdog will be getting the points, and the negative means that the favorite is giving up that amount of points.

What does handicap 1.5 mean in hockey?

A 1.5 handicap in hockey means the favorite has to win by two or more goals and the underdog must win or lose by one goal.

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. It's one of the only bet types that you need to be accurate on.

What does 1.5 Spread mean in baseball?

A 1.5 spread in baseball means the favorite team will need to win by two or more runs.

What does a minus 6.5 spread mean?

A minus 6.5 spread means the favorite team must win by more than 7 points and the losing team must lose less than 7 points to win.

As you can see, spread betting is easy to understand once you learn about it. You have the chance of winning decent amounts on this type of bet and most bookkeepers offer it. If you still have any questions, reach out and talk with a pro!