Spreads betting is one of the most popular forms of betting and is often the first market to open, even over the moneyline. Betting the spread allows bettors to bet on either team on equal grounds, as opposed to the moneyline, which often leans heavily towards favorites. But spread betting comes with its own intricacies and can be more challenging than straight-up betting.
Spread Betting Explained
What does “spread” mean in betting? Spread betting is a form of wagering that is based on the accuracy of a wager, as opposed to a simple “win or lose” outcome.
The spread was created to foster more equal action (bets) on both sides, not just on one side.
The moneyline tends to lean heavily towards favorites. As such, bettors would need to invest a lot of betting on the favorite. The point spread allows the public to bet on both favorites and underdogs at an equal line.
Spreads are like points handicaps. They manifest as either a minus number or plus number. The minus number indicates how much is subtracted from the favorite. If the spread is “-7” for example, seven points will be deducted from this team’s final score.
Betting on the favorite means “laying the points” as the favorite needs to win despite losing points; this decreases their chances compared to the moneyline.
On the other hand, a plus number indicates how much is added to the underdog. A spread of “+5” means five points are added to their final score.
Betting the underdog means “taking the points” as the underdog is given additional points; this increases their chances of winning the bet, as opposed to a straight-up bet on the moneyline.
Tips When Betting the Spread
Betting the spread can be a little harder than betting the moneyline. Being familiar with how the spread is created can go a long way in becoming a better bettor at spread betting.
Pros vs Cons
Spreads Betting Examples
Betting on the spread can need some getting used to, and needs a little bit of math. Let’s look at a recent game between two NBA teams.
Boston Celtics +5½
Miami Heat -5½
In this example, the Celtics are the underdogs and are given an extra 5½ points, while the Heat will lose 5½ points. The game is played and Miami defeats Boston 120-117. The winning spread here is the Boston Celtics’ +5½.
Boston’s 117 points plus 5½ equals 122½, which defeats Miami’s 120 points. On the other hand, a bet on Miami’s 120 would lose as their final score after the spread amounts to just 114½, which loses to Boston’s 117 points.
Often, but not always, the spread is given ½ points to avoid a bet being “pushed”. A push happens when the final score’s differential is exactly the same as the spread, thus leading to a draw between both spreads.
Spread Betting FAQs
1. What Are Spreads in Betting?
2. How Do I Read or Bet Spreads?
3. How Does Spreads Betting Work?
4. How Are Betting Spreads Determined in Vegas?
5. Why Are Betting Spreads Negative?