Spread Betting on Phone with two teams

Spread Betting Explained in Sports Betting

Many people love to bet on sports by using point spread. Spread betting in sports betting may sound tricky but don't worry, we'll make it easy for you to understand. We'll show you all you need to know to get good at point spread betting and win your bets in sports betting.

What does Spread Betting Mean?

Spread betting is a way to bet on the outcome of something, like sports betting or financial market. It's different from regular betting where you either win or lose. In spread betting, you're trying to predict how accurate your bet is compared to what actually happens. There's a range of possible outcomes, and you bet if the actual outcome will be higher or lower than that range.

Point Spread is a way to predict how much the favorite team will win by. If the team has a minus sign, they're the favorite and need to win by a certain amount for you to win your bet. This type of bet is very common and helps make games fair by giving an advantage to the underdog.

3 Important Parts of Point Spread Betting

The Spread

This is the difference between Team A and Team B, showing how much one team might win by. A bigger spread means the underdog is less likely to win. Also remember that different sports and games have different types of spreads to understand.

The Favorite

This is the team that experts think will win. They decide this based on things like how well the team has been doing, injuries, and home-field advantage. It's the team most people expect to win.

The Underdog

The underdog is the team not many people expect to win. They have a plus sign in front of their name. Even though they lose more often than the favorite, they can still surprise everyone and win. You can control point spread by observing the line movement pre-game.

Example of Spread Bet

Imagine Team A has +10 (-110) odds, and Team B has -10 (-110) odds.

Here's what it means:

The +10 for Team A means they need to win by 10 or more points for you to win your bet.

The -10 for Team B means they have to lose by less than 10 points for you to win your bet.

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How does a Point Spread Work?

Once they set the point spread, you can bet on either side of it. Let's use the NFL as an example. If the Titans are favored by 7 points over the Jaguars, it's shown as ‘-7' at your sportsbook. This means the Titans have to win by more than seven points for you to win your bet. The ‘-7' is like taking their final score and subtracting seven points from it. If they win by exactly seven points, it's called a ‘push,' and you get your initial bet back.

On the other side, the Jaguars would be ‘+7' in this situation. They need to lose by less than seven points or win the game for you to win your bet. They don't have to win the game outright; you just think they'll keep it closer than seven points. If they lose by three points because of a last-minute field goal, you'd still win the bet.

The point spread is like a handicap that makes two uneven teams seem even. Without it, it would be hard to bet on a college football game where a strong team plays a much weaker one, because in that case, the strong team would be a huge favorite in terms of the money you could win.

How to Place Bets?

Using a sportsbook is pretty straightforward. Just pick the sport you want to bet on, like baseball, basketball, or football. You'll usually see the point spread as the first option. It's smart to have accounts with more than one sportsbook if you can, so you can compare the lines and odds. It can be different at different books, even by just a point or two, and that can make a big difference over time.

When you bet on the point spread, it's all about finding good deals. Think of it like the stock market or betting market where you look for opportunities where one side is undervalued. So, it's not always about betting on the teams with the best win-loss records. For example, there might be an NFL team that only won 5 out of 16 games but covered the point spread 11 times. This is called their ‘ATS' or ‘against the spread' record, which is a common term in betting. You'll also see a team's ‘home ATS record,' which shows how often they cover the spread when playing at home.

Besides just looking at numbers, it's also important to think about how well the teams match up. Consider things like how one team's defense does against the other team's offense when you're betting on the point spread.

Spread Betting in Different Sports

It work the same way in different sports, but the scoring is different. In football, it's about goals, in basketball, it's points, and in hockey, it's also goals. It varies depending on the game, and if you're not sure, you can ask the experts handling your bets.


In baseball, point spread betting is called the “run line.” It's usually -1.5 for most games unless one team is a huge favorite, in which case it could be -2.5. Home teams often have better odds on the -1.5 because they have a better chance of winning by one run, especially in the ninth inning. Some bettors prefer betting on the favorite -1.5 or the underdog (weaker team) on the money line instead of taking +1.5 runs.


In basketball, there are some unique aspects. It can be a good strategy to bet on struggling teams when they play against much better teams. If a losing team consistently keeps games close, a double-digit point spread against a stronger team might be a good opportunity. However, in NBA and college basketball, free throws at the end of the game can change the outcome of spread bets. Sometimes, what seems like a sure win can turn into a loss if one team fouls excessively in the final moments. Knowing which coaches do this can be important.

Football (NFL)

In the NFL, point spreads are crucial. It's important to know the key numbers because they can determine your bet's success. For example, the difference between -8.5 and -9 isn't that big, but -2.5 to -3 is significant because many NFL games are won by exactly three points. So, getting the best number matters. Matchup analysis is also vital. Even if a team is better overall, weaknesses in specific areas can make a difference. Injuries matter too, especially if a group of players in a particular position is injured.

Pros of Point Spread Betting

Here are some advantages of these point spread bets:

  1. You don't have to pick which team will win.
  2. There's a chance to win more money.

Should I Bet With Point Spreads?

There are a few good times to make a point spread bet.

  1. When the teams are very close in skill, it's a better chance to win.
  2. f you want a big prize, these bets can pay a lot, but they can also make you lose a lot.
  3. when you're confident and know how spread betting works. Betting without knowing can lead to big losses.

Why Does Point Spread Change?

Imagine you want to bet on a football game, and you see the team you like is +7.5 points. You plan to bet $200 on them, but you don't have the money until Friday.

When you check the betting options later, the spread is now +6.5 points. What typically happens is

  1. A sportsbook sets the initial betting line.
  2. Other betting websites copy that line.
  3. At first, you can only bet small amounts.
  4. As the game gets closer, more information comes in, like player injuries.
  5. The sportsbooks adjust the line to reflect the new information.
  6. The line can move because of big bets from experienced gamblers.
  7. Sometimes, sportsbooks change the odds to get more bets or manage their risk.
  8. The line closes when the game starts, showing the most accurate odds.

So, point spreads change because of new info, big bets, and strategies to attract more bets or protect the sportsbook's profits. This happens a lot in sports like NFL football where there's time between setting the odds and the game.

What is Line Shopping?

What do you do if you wanted to bet on the Lions at +7.5, but now the line is +6.5?

First, think about whether you still like the Lions at +6.5. When the line changes a lot, it's a sign to be careful. If the experienced bettors liked the Lions at +6.5, they might keep betting on them.

If you still want to bet on the Lions, check if any other sportsbooks offer +7. This is called ‘line shopping' – looking for the best possible odds. Line shopping can make a big difference in the long run. It can turn losing bets into ties and ties into wins because sometimes games end with those exact scores.

For example, in a game between the Chiefs and Bucs in Week 12, most places had a line of 3.5. But some smart Chiefs bettors found -3, and when the game ended with a score of 3, they didn't lose their money.

Point Spreads and Live Bets

Live betting is getting more popular because of better technology. When you log in during a big game, you'll see live betting lines that change often, usually when there's a break in the action.

One thing you can bet on during live games is the point spread. These lines move fast based on what's happening in the game. For example, let's say the 49ers score two early touchdowns, and the Lions can't do much. The bookmaker might say 49ers -17.5 is the new line. But if the Lions run the kickoff back for a touchdown, the line might become 49ers -11.5.

Unlike live moneyline betting, live spread betting can sometimes give you a chance for something cool called ‘middles.' That's when you can win more than one bet, but you can't lose them all. In the example I mentioned, if you first bet on the Lions at +17.5 and then took 49ers -11.5, you'd have a chance to win both bets if the 49ers win by 12-17 points.

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

Look at it this way, when you want to make money, you either buy or sell stuff. In this case, there are two boxes with numbers: one for buying and one for selling.

The buying box usually has a lower price, while the selling box has a higher price. The gap between these numbers is called the bid/offer spread or bid/ask spread. Basically, for you to win, the price has to move quite a bit, whether you're buying or selling.

What does ‘Pick Em' or ‘Pick' Mean in Point Spread Betting?

It is when two teams are very evenly matched in a game, they don't need a point spread to even things out. In such cases, the point spread is set at zero, and it's called a ‘pick' or ‘pick 'em.'

So, ‘pick 'em' is like a regular bet where you simply pick the team you think will win, without worrying about how much the team wins. Normally, playing at home gives a team a little advantage, but when it's a ‘pick em,' it suggests that if the game were on a neutral field or court, the away team might be a slight favorite.

Why was Spread Bet canceled?

There are some factors such as if the sportsbook makes a big mistake in setting the odds, they might cancel the bet, especially if the game hasn't started yet. Be careful with illegal sportsbooks as they may not play fair.

In baseball, if the starting pitcher changes after you placed your bet and you bet with ‘pitchers listed' on the runline, your bet can be canceled.

If a game or match doesn't happen on the scheduled day and they play it another day, the sportsbooks might cancel bets and create new ones.

Sometimes, games end early because of bad weather or an injury in sports like tennis. Always check your sportsbook's rules to understand how they handle these situations and more.

In Conclusion

Spread betting in sports wagering is exciting by allowing you to bet on more than just who wins or loses. It involves predicting the margin and is used in various sports It offers unique opportunities and challenges, understanding the basic is crucial to success. Additionally, shopping for different odds and staying informed about news and follow good betting strategies can enhance your chances of making winning spread.