What is the Point Spread in Sports Betting and How You Can Bet on the Spread

Do you want to bet on the superior team in any matchup? Do you want to bet on teams such as the Golden State Warriors, The New England Patriots or the Clemson Tigers? For that to happen you must understand the Point Spread in Sports Betting.

In this article, you will learn and understand a different angle to sports betting you might not have thought about before.

The Point Spread and the Moneyline:

Imagine a game of any sport. It could be football, basketball, baseball; you name it. Looking at the matchup, one of the two teams immediately jumps out as being the favorite to win the game. Let’s name this “Team A”. The opposing side to Team A would be the underdog, named “Team B”.

The Moneyline (betting strictly on which team wins the game) would normally favor Team A to win the game, as they are seen as the superior team (To get a better understanding of the moneyline, you can watch this video). Betting on Team A would result in a lesser return, due to a lower odds when the probability for a win is high.

At the other hand, the moneyline would indicate that the probability for Team B to win is lower than Team A. The odds would therefore be higher, and would result in a greater return on your bet.

The Point Spread evens out the moneyline:

To even out the odds in bets, the bookmakers give a disadvantage to the favorite to win, Team A, and give an advantage to the underdog in the matchup, Team B. This situation is an addition to the already given moneyline, and aims to balance the odds of the particular game.

This is commonly known as being the Point Spread. Just to clarify, the Moneyline, is the Point Spread which is the closest to 50/50 win probability or giving 2.0/2.0 in odds on each of the two teams.

The Point Spread in an example:

Let’s look at a hypothetical example from a game between the mentioned Team A and Team B in basketball;

Learn how to understand the Point Spread in Sports Betting.

Learn how to understand the Point Spread in Sports Betting.

Team A is predicted as the favorite to win the matchup, due to a number of factors, such as form, home-field advantage and injuries to the opponent’s top player. We imagine the odds for a win for Team A to be 1,50. This means that if you win, you get back what you initially put on the game, in addition to 50% of what you originally betted.

The odds for Team B would be much higher, at a level of 2,50. Here, if you win, you would get back what you initially put on the game, in addition to 150% of what you originally betted.

However, when the bookmakers seek to even out the odds, they set up a Spread on the game.

This means that they create a chance for people to bet on the game with a handicap, meaning that Team A has to beat Team B by a certain amount of points, scores or goals, in this case points.

If we say that Team A has a Point Spread of -7,5 it means that they are favored to win by this amount of points. For you to win betting on this Point Spread, Team A must win by 7,5 points or more, practically meaning that they must win by 8 points.

By betting on a Point Spread of -7,5 the odds have risen to a 2,00, because they have to do more than simply just win.

The Point Spread for Team B would be at +7,5. This means that they have been given a head start of 7,5 points, and that they “win” as long as they don’t lose by 8 points or more.

When a team is given an advantage like this, the odds will drop accordingly, and in this case it drops to a level of 2,00.

As it is impossible to score half points, this bet would either be won or lost from a bettor’s perspective.

The Point Spread with even numbers:

If the Point Spread is at an even number, for example -3 for Team A and +3 for Team B, one more outcome would be possible. If Team A defeats Team B by exactly 3 points, and evens out the Point Spread, the game would be a no-contest, and your initial investment in the game would return to your account.

When to use the Point Spread?

Consider using the Point Spread when a team has a monumental advantage over the opposition, and that this advantage outweighs the disadvantage given by the bookmaker. It is also effective in the opposite situation, where the advantage given by the bookmakers for the underdog outweighs the difference in quality between the two teams.

The Point Spread is therefore an opportunity that should be taken advantage of by bettors, and should be considered an alternative to betting strictly on the moneyline of a game.

Click here to watch our videos on the Point Spread.

Do you know the different odds types? 

We have written articles explaining them: