What Is the Spread in Sports Betting?

Are you looking to add some variation and excitement to your sports gambling? Take a look at point spread betting- one of the most popular forms of betting in the US, available on the majority of major online sportsbooks.

Using a point spread gives sports gamblers a new dimension of the game to wager on. It pits competitors against each other based on relative strength, rather than just the final outcome of the event.

Essentially, it levels the gambler’s playing field between two unevenly matched teams. Understanding spread in sports betting can seem confusing, but we here at the MadLab MMA will break it down for you below.

Understanding Sports Betting Spreads

If you want to wager on a point spread but are used to betting on final scores, you’ll want to learn a few new things to avoid potentially losing a good bit of cash.

Here are the main details you’ll want to pick up on:

The Favorite vs. The Underdog

A point spread is a bet placed on the scoring difference between two teams, representing the odds of victory for the “favorite” against the “underdog”.

Betting on point spread, as opposed to final outcome, allows you to wager on the less favored (AKA “the underdog”) team’s likelihood of winning. You’d win that wager if the underdog loses by an amount lesser than the project point spread, or if they win at all.

To win a bet placed on the favorite, they will have to win by an amount greater than their projected point spread.

In simple terms, you’ll want to place your bet based on who you think is most likely to cover their side of the difference.

Plus and Minus

The core mechanism of spread betting is a points system secondary to points scored in the game.

It is determined by oddsmakers taking points from the favored (the amount they must win by) and giving points to the underdog (the amount they must lose by less than, or win at all). The favored is represented by a minus, while the underdog is represented by a plus.

For example, if the “favorite” is favored to win by -6.5 and win by 8, they have covered the spread, and those who bet on them would win. Conversely, bettors who wager on an “underdog” set at +10 will win if that team wins at all, or if the favored opponent beats them by less than 10 points.

Margin and Leverage

A small deposit is needed in spread betting to gain access to larger potential profits. This deposit is called “leverage”, and the remaining balance is covered by the betting company, giving them a greater chance of profiting off of either side of a game’s outcome.

This is one of the reasons that gamblers looking to wager on point spreads should always make bets based on informed decisions. Although potential profit is amplified, so are potential losses.

How do I Wager on a Spread in Sports Betting?

Now that you understand the basics of point spread gambling, you can learn some of the finer details that will help you use your sports knowledge to place profitable wagers.

How Point Spread is Determined

The main deciding factor that oddsmakers use to determine a points spread is general skill difference. However, there are a range of variables that are looked at, such as injuries, weather, and home-field advantages.

The relevance of these details can vary depending on the sport, so you should always consider these differences when making your calls.

For example, you would want to pay attention to the weather when betting on baseball, but not at all in hockey. Whereas, if you are betting on hockey, you’d likely want to be looking closer at something like injuries.

When is the Best Time to Bet With Point Spreads?

Sportsbooks have the right to change the spread whenever they want, so actively keeping up with those changes will be key to placing a profitable wager.

The spread may be adjusted based on where professional betters are placing their money, the amount of wagers accumulating on one side, and updates to the previously mentioned variables such as weather or injuries.

To maximize your potential, you’ll want to not only pay attention to these updates, but also wait until the last possible moment to place your bet, when pools will be at their largest. If your estimates are accurate, you can come out with big winnings.

If you find that you made the right calls and things are moving your way during the game, the time has come to double down!

Frequently Asked Questions

A: It is common in football, basketball, baseball, and hockey, and many other sports are beginning to use the practice. It can be used in any sport in which one team wins and one team loses.

A: A "pick 'em" indicates that there is no clear favorite between the two teams. In this situation, bettors can place their wagers randomly, as no point spread is available.

A: The spread is subject to change up to the start of a game. Since factors such as weather or rosters can change at any time, sportsbooks will make adjustments to the spread accordingly until the game begins.

Give Yourself an Edge!

Understanding a spread in sports betting can seem challenging, but with a bit of savvy and know-how, you can wager like a pro. As you’ve learned, the key to point spread betting is knowledge and awareness – MadLab MMA is your one-stop resource for all the tools you need to keep your bets informed and sharp!

MadLab offers a number of subscription packages loaded with tools to give you a leg up on the competition, from betting guides and daily fantasy projections, to a private Discord to share gambling advice & strategy, and much more.

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