spread betting

what is a spread in sports betting?

A spread in sports betting, often referred to as a point spread, is a betting line set by oddsmakers to level the playing field between two teams that are not evenly matched. It’s one of the most popular forms of wagering on sports, particularly in football and basketball. The spread assigns a point advantage to the underdog and a point disadvantage to the favorite, making the contest more evenly matched from a betting perspective.

Here’s how it works:

  • For the Favorite: The favorite is the team expected to win the game. The spread will show a minus sign (-) followed by a number, such as -7.5. This means the favorite team must win by more than the spread amount (in this case, 8 or more points) for a bet on them to win. The spread essentially “subtracts” points from the favorite’s final score for betting purposes.
  • For the Underdog: The underdog is the team expected to lose the game. The spread will show a plus sign (+) followed by a number, such as +7.5. This means the underdog team can lose by up to the spread amount (in this case, 7 points or fewer) or win the game outright, and still be considered a winner in terms of the bet. The spread “adds” points to the underdog’s final score for betting purposes.

The point spread aims to attract bets for both teams and often reflects a margin of victory. It’s not just about picking the team that will win but accurately predicting how much they will win or lose by. Betting on the spread can make even a lopsided game interesting for bettors, as it adds a layer of strategy and excitement, focusing not on the outright winner but on the accuracy of the game’s final margin.

what does the + and – mean in sports betting spread?

In sports betting, the “+” and “-” symbols are fundamental in understanding point spreads, which are used to level the playing field between two teams of differing strengths. Here’s what they signify:

  • “-” (Minus) Symbol: This represents the favorite in the match, the team expected to win. The minus symbol is followed by a number that indicates how many points the favorite is expected to win by. For a bet on the favorite to win, they must win by more points than the specified spread. For example, if Team A has a spread of -7.5, they must win by more than 7.5 points (essentially 8 or more) for bets on them to pay out.
  • “+” (Plus) Symbol: This represents the underdog, the team expected to lose. The plus symbol is followed by a number that shows how many points the team is allowed to lose by and still cover the spread. If you bet on the underdog, they need to lose by fewer points than the spread, or win outright, for your bet to win. For instance, if Team B has a spread of +7.5, they can lose by up to 7 points or win the game outright for bets on them to pay out.

The point spread is designed to attract bets on both sides of the game, ensuring that there is a balance of bets for the sportsbook. It adds a strategic layer to sports betting, requiring bettors to consider not just who will win but by how much they will win or lose.