Spread Betting Guide

Spread Betting Guide

Spread Betting Guide: What It is & How It Works

What Is The Spread In Betting?

The spread is one of the most common betting forms for sports. Oddsmakers will assign teams a plus or minus spread based on both teams’ records, where they are playing, and who isn’t playing in the game. 

A team with a plus spread means they are underdogs and will receive that amount of points added to their final total. A team with a minus spread means they are favorites and will have that amount of points deducted from their final total.

For those wanting to bet on a spread, you would be betting on a team and if they can cover that spread. For an underdog team, you would be betting that they will not lose by more than the points given in the spread bet. For a favorite team, you would be betting that they will win by more than the points that the spread bet would take away.

Why Are There Spreads On Sports Games?

Spreads are given to teams by oddsmakers to evenly match the two teams that would otherwise be unevenly matched. It also provides an incentive for gamblers to bet on a game that the two teams would be unevenly matched in a moneyline bet. 

For example, the Kansas City Chiefs as a favorite would require a $450 wager for the gambler to win $100 against a team like the Denver Broncos. However, with the point spread giving Denver 10.5 points, if you bet on Kansas City, it would only require the gambler to bet $110 to win $100.

That makes a spread bet more appealing, as it doesn’t require a substantial bet on a favorite for a good payout. But the spread may also give an underdog a chance to cover. This means the underdog loses by a score less than the spread they receive.

What Are The Odds On Spread Betting?

Spread betting odds are usually slightly negative or even odds. Oddsmakers see teams with even odds as a team with the least likely chance of covering the spread. That doesn’t always happen, but it is the metric used for placing odds on spreads. However, alternative spread betting can give better odds at a higher risk.

What Is Alternative Spread Betting?

Alternative spread betting allows gamblers to pick a different point spread with a higher payout. For those betting on an underdog, you could adjust the spread to take a lower amount of points and still cover. For those betting on a favorite, you could change the spread to give away more points and still cover. 

Adjusting the spread with alternative spread betting gives the gambler a choice in what they think the team can do while offering a higher payout if they win. But as the payout can be higher, so is the team’s risk of not covering the alternative spread.

Is Spread Betting And Alternative Spread Betting Legal?

Most people outside of Vegas wonder if they can gamble on sports when they aren’t in Vegas. There was a federal ban on single-game betting outside Nevada and New Jersey. However, since a 2018 Supreme Court ruling, that federal ban has been overturned. What does this mean for sports betting? It allows for the states to pass legislation to legalize sports betting.

To bet on spread betting and alternative spreads, the person will have to reside in a state that has passed legislation that legalized sports betting. If you are unsure if your state has passed laws allowing for sports betting, you can always go to your state’s dedicated website for that information.

Are There Any Strategies When Betting On Spreads?

With any type of betting, there’s always some element of strategy that someone can use. Professional gamblers have a system that they use to place winning wagers. All strategies require the bettor to research both teams before making a spread bet on either team.

The most common thing is to look at the records of both teams. That is the starting point that both oddsmakers and gamblers look at before betting. Teams with more wins than opponents have a better chance of winning but never a guaranteed chance of winning. Looking closer at the records, you can find something that oddsmakers might have missed.

Do a deeper examination into the records of both teams. Look at who they have beaten and who they have lost games against. From this, one can see if the teams they have won against or lost against are strong opponents or weaker ones. It can show if a team is a “paper” team. This refers to a team that looks good on paper but isn’t as good as their record would indicate.

Next, look at the points both teams score and how many points they give up. These are critical bits of information to have when betting on the spread. 

It can give a feel for how many points either team can score and how many points they are likely to give up. If a team scores many points versus a team that gives up many points, the team that scores the most has the best chances to score what they average each game.

Continuing, take a look at how both teams perform against the spread. The ATS, short for against the spread, will show how often a team has covered the spread and how many times they haven’t. However, ATS numbers are based on the spread right before a game begins and don’t account for movements with the spread in the days leading up to the game.

Looking deeper into those ATS stats and any movements that could have happened before the game starts can help one see what changes made the odds move. It can also show if a team is better when someone bets on them early or if it’s better to bet on the spread with the team closer to the start of the game.

One thing that moves the spread is what players will miss the game due to injury or illness. When key players are out for the game, oddsmakers tend to adjust the odds for that player being out. 

This is most common when a player has a pivotal role with the team. With football, think of players like Patrick Mahomes or Tom Brady. These players hold a crucial role with their team, and without them, those teams’ chances of winning or covering a spread are reduced.

One thing that can get overlooked is when the game is a rivalry game. Rivalry games are against two teams that are in the same division together. Rivalry games can be more intense for teams than other games the team plays during the season. 

These games could determine if a team will make or miss the postseason in their sport. For that reason, this is why rivalry games can turn into close games or even upset games.

For example, the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in the same division, making them rivals. During the 2021 NFL season, the Saints would defeat the Buccaneers twice, even though they were underdogs in both games. Not all rivalry games are like this, but teams play these games a little harder.

Before betting on a spread, the home-field advantage is also something to look at before betting on a spread. The home-field can give a team an upper hand, especially in football. Crowd noise can play a part in how the opposing team plays, distracting some players. 

While the home crowd might not always get their team the win, they can end up covering the spread, depending on how much they would receive being an underdog. When betting on an underdog at home, look into their home record and how much they lose by when at home. This can help show if a team can cover as an underdog in a game at home.

Are Spreads Different In Each Sport?

Spreads are the same in all sports but will go by the sport-appropriate scoring name. With basketball and football, the spreads are known as point spreads. For baseball, the spread would be called a run-line.

With hockey, the spread is known as a puck-line. The differences are only in how each sport has a different name for its scoring system. The spread will still be based on the final score, with the bet either having the number added or subtracted from the teams’ final score based on the wager placed.

Why Are There Half Points/Runs/Pucks On Spread Bets?

When looking at spreads and seeing the .5 behind a number, you might wonder why it is there, seeing no team can score that in any sport. This helps ensure that there will be a winner on a spread bet. Teams that don’t have that .5 number run the chance of having the bet end in a push. If the bet ends in a push, the sportsbook site will return the wagered money to the gambler.

With the .5, there is also an incentive to make a bet on the game, knowing that there will be a winner with that .5 there. It also helps the sportsbook because bets that end in a push make them no money. If every bet were to end in a push, neither side would make money; this is why you can find that .5 in a spread bet.

Which Is Better To Bet On With The Spread, The Favorite Or The Underdog?

Nearly two-thirds of people that gamble will bet on the favorite in a game. However, the favorite only covers the spread at a rate of just over 50%. So with the spread, it is never as simple as who is the favorite or the underdog. That is why it is vital to study all aspects of both teams when betting, no matter who the favorite or the underdog is.

These stats make studying everything you can with both teams even more important. It will help you decide whether the favorite or the underdog has the best chance of covering a bet. 

If I Made A Spread Bet Early And The Spread Moves, Will I Still Have The Same Spread?

Some people worry that the spread they bet on will move after placing their bet. However, this isn’t a concern as your bet will be locked in at the spread you bet on. That is why early betting can be either a benefit or a bane based on how the spread moves.

People who get a spread at a lower number can cash in if the team covers that spread but doesn’t cover the new spread. But this can work both ways, as a team can get better odds later, leaving people that placed an early bet holding the higher spread.

Should I Bet Early Or Later On A Spread Bet?

Some bettors wonder if they should bet early on a game or later with sports betting. Early betting does have some advantages, but only if you can foresee a crucial player missing out on the game. 

An excellent example was during the Green Bay Packers at the Kansas City Chiefs game. The game started with the Packers as a 2.5 point underdog on the spread. However, the spread moved to seven points when the Packers had to put both the starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers on the COVID protocol list.

Gamblers who took the Packers at the 2.5 point spread would have lost, while those waiting to take the Packers at the seven-point spread would win their bet, with the final score between the two teams being 13-7 in favor of the Chiefs. But if people took the Chiefs early at -2.5 points, they would have won their spread. 

Spread movements usually don’t move by much unless something significant has happened with one of the teams. People who keep up with sports teams might be able to spot when a player might miss a game, which could move the line. If you can find out changes before oddsmakers have a chance to change the odds, you might be able to get a better spread with an early bet.  

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The spread is one of the most common betting forms for sports. Oddsmakers will assign teams a plus or minus spread based on both teams’ records, where they are playing, and who isn’t playing in the game.

Spreads are given to teams by oddsmakers to evenly match the two teams that would otherwise be unevenly matched.

Spreads are the same in all sports but will go by the sport-appropriate scoring name. With basketball and football, the spreads are known as point spreads.

Early betting does have some advantages, but only if you can foresee a crucial player missing out on the game.