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Point Spread Betting Explained

John Ford | November 22, 2023 | Updated on: November 22nd, 2023

Point Spread BettingPoint spread betting is a popular form of sports betting that is commonly used in football and basketball, although it can be applied to other sports as well.

Point spread betting is a type of sports betting where the focus is not just on which team will win a game but also on how much they will win. It’s a way of leveling the playing field in a match where one team is considered stronger than the other.

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How Does Point Spread Betting Work

Point Spread Betting Explained

The point spread is designed to make the betting more balanced by giving the underdog a theoretical advantage. The goal is to make both sides of the bet appealing to bettors, and the spread odds are adjusted accordingly.

Let’s say there’s an upcoming football game between Team A and Team B, and the spread is set at Team A -7. This means Team A is the favored team, and they need to win by more than 7 points for bets on Team A to be winners.

Point Spread: Team A -7

Options:

Bet on Team A: If you bet on Team A, they need to win by more than 7 points for your bet to be successful.

Bet on Team B: If you bet on Team B, they need to win the game outright or lose by less than 7 points for your bet to be successful.

The odds associated with each side of the bet will determine the potential payout. For example, if the odds for Team A are -110, it means you would need to wager $110 to win $100.

If you decide to bet on Team A, you go to an online sportsbook or a physical sports betting location and place your wager. Let’s say you bet $110 on Team A.

If Team A wins by 8 points or more, your bet on Team A is a winner, and you will receive your initial wager back plus winnings.

If Team A wins by exactly 7 points, it’s a tie or “push,” and you get your original wager back; no winnings, no losses.

If Team A wins by less than 7 points or loses the game, your bet on Team A is a loss.

Point Spread Betting in Sports

NFL Point Spread Betting

When you’re betting on the NFL, the favored team is given a spread that represents the expected winning margin. To win your bet on the favorite, they must win by more than the specified spread. On the other hand, if you choose the underdog, your bet wins if they either win the game outright or lose by fewer points than the spread allows.

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NBA Point Spread Betting

In NBA betting, the favored team is assigned a spread indicating the projected winning margin. To win your bet on the favorite, they must win by more than the specified spread. Opting for the underdog means your bet succeeds if they win outright or lose by fewer points than the spread.

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NHL Point Spread Betting (Puck Line)

In NHL betting with the puck line, the favored team is given a puck line of (-1.5), while the underdog has a puck line of (+1.5). Betting on the favorite requires them to win by two or more goals, with payouts typically ranging from (-130) to (+200). Betting on the underdog means they can either lose by one goal or win outright for your bet to be successful.

NHL Point Spread Betting (Puck Line)
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MLB Point Spread Betting (Run Line)

In MLB betting with the run line, the favored team is assigned a run line of (-1.5), and the underdog has a run line of (+1.5). Betting on the favorite requires them to win by two or more runs, with payouts typically ranging from (-130) to (+200). Betting on the underdog means they can either lose by one run or win outright for your bet to succeed.

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Soccer Point Spread Betting

Soccer betting includes spreads in games between unevenly matched teams. In these cases, favorites are given spreads between 1-3 goals. To win your bet on the favorite, they need to win by more than the specified spread.

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Point Spread Betting Tips & Strategies to Win

Successful point spread betting involves a combination of research, analysis, and disciplined decision-making. Here’s a detailed outline of a point spread betting strategy:

Point Spread Betting Tips & Strategies to Win

Consider Trends and Patterns

Look at the historical performance of teams against the spread. Some teams consistently outperform or underperform the spread. Teams may have different performances at home and away. Some teams have a significant home-field advantage.

Weather conditions can also impact the style of play, potentially affecting the margin of victory.

Research Teams and Players

Analyze team statistics, recent performance, and any recent changes such as injuries or trades. Identify key players and assess their form, injuries, and historical performance against specific opponents.

Understand the depth of the team, as injuries to key players can significantly affect the outcome.

Shop for the Best Lines

Different sportsbooks may offer slightly different point spreads. Shop around for the best odds to maximize potential returns.

Be Selective

Avoid betting on every game. Instead, focus on games where you have a strong analysis and a good understanding of the teams involved.

Stick to your strategy and avoid emotional betting. Don’t chase losses or get overly confident after a win.

Consider Contrarian Strategies

Consider betting against public sentiment, especially if the majority of the public is heavily favoring one team. If the line moves against the public consensus, it may indicate value on the opposite side.

Consider Live Betting

In-game betting or live betting is when you bet on teams as they play. Explore live betting opportunities, where you can adjust your bets based on the unfolding game dynamics.

Other Sports Betting Options

If you’re a sports betting beginner and find betting point spreads a bit confusing, we advise you to explore other betting options. Here are some popular alternatives:

Over/Under

Over/under betting involves predicting the combined points scored by both teams in a game, also known as the total final score. For instance, when high-powered football teams like the Buffalo Bills and Chiefs play, the over/under could be as high as 55, while games like Dolphins vs. Jaguars might have a lower total, perhaps 38.5. “Over” bets need to surpass the total, and “Under” bets must stay lower.

Moneyline

Moneyline bets are a straightforward bet where you pick the team you believe will win the game. The odds are adjusted based on the perceived likelihood of each outcome. For example, if the Kansas City Chiefs are heavily favored against the Bengals, a bet on the Chiefs might require a higher initial investment.

Prop Bet

A prop bet is frequently focused on individual player performances or team-based outcomes. This type of wager may require predicting specific occurrences, such as estimating the passing yards a quarterback will achieve or determining whether a running back will score a touchdown.

Parlay

A parlay bet is a bet where you combine wagers on multiple games into a single, larger bet for a potentially bigger payout. However, all individual bets within the parlay must win for the overall bet to pay out.

Key Numbers

These are specific final margins of victory, often crucial in football betting. The most important key numbers are 3 and 7, representing a field goal and a touchdown (plus the extra point). Being mindful of key numbers is essential when placing bets, especially in teasers.

Buying Points

This option allows you to adjust the point spread in your favor, but it comes at an additional cost. While it can be tempting, especially around key numbers, it’s crucial to consider the extra juice you’ll pay for this adjustment.

Futures Bet

A wager on a team to win a division, conference, or championship. These bets can be placed throughout the year, with odds changing based on a team’s performance and sportsbook assessments.

Teaser

A multi-team bet that allows you to adjust the point spread in your favor by a set number of points. Like parlays, all individual bets must win for the teaser to be successful.

Point Spread Betting FAQs