Point Spreads Explained

The point spread is probably the most common bet when you think of wagering on a single sporting event. That is because it's designed to bring the two teams to an even playing field through the use of a handicap installed by oddsmakers.

Without a points handicap, it would not make sense to pay both sides of a wager the same amount when it's clear that not all teams are on equal footing. In fact, it is entirely possible for a team to lose the game in real-life but still win a bet if they only lose by less than a set number of points. Vice versa, a team can win a game, but lose the wager if they do not win by more points than what was predicted.

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How Does The Point Spread Work?

When wagering against the spread, you bet on the team that will cover the betting line, and not necessarily win the game. Obviously, by taking the favorite, a bettor believes that a team will not only win the game but also win the game by a certain number of points to cover the betting line. But when wagering on the underdog, that team does not necessarily have to win the game to cover the line. For examples of point spreads and how those bets are won, please keep reading below where we give real-life examples explain betting odds for the spread in detail.

When Can The Spread Be Wagered?

The point spread might be the most common betting line for which people are familiar with. This is where the terms 'favorite' and 'underdog' are derived. But, when exactly can wagers on the point spread be placed? There are actually several points in time, and several different ways that a bettor can put action on the spread in a given matchup.

Obviously it starts with action before the game. Point spreads prior to the game will be available up until the start time before going off. Depending on the sports and league + which online sports betting site is consulted, point spreads can be up for days before the start to a matchup.

One of the nice things about online betting is that point spread wagering doesn't stop at the start of the game. With the advance in technology, bettors are able to place live wagers on the points spread, plus bet different spreads at different intervals in a game.

Beginning with live betting, point spreads are routinely adjusted predicated on the flow of the game, meaning how the favorite and underdog are performing. Live point spreads can come and go very quickly, with the potential for scores to change at any moment.

Betting the spread at different intervals in a game means that adjusted spreads are created during breaks, such as quarters or halves, and halftime lines. Oddsmakers will check out the game and how it went for a quarter or half, and then reinstall overall game lines, as well as point spreads for only that particular quarter or half.

How Do Half / .5 Point Spreads Work?

Oftentimes a point spread will not be a whole number, and will be accompanied by a decimal point and a half number. This can be significant for a point spread. Essentially what it comes down to is that a whole number point spread gives the opportunity for a wager to push. A push means that if the favorite is favored by 10 points and wins by 10 points, bettors get their money back. Just like when betting on the over/under total for points, the spread is a half-point in addition to the whole number, there is no chance to push.

Understanding Payouts When Betting On The Point Spread

The whole nature and goal behind the point spread, is to provide an even playing field for the favorite and the underdog. Obviously not every team is equal, so the point spread adjusts this. As a result, the payouts that are generally seen around a point spread is right around Even.

This is different from a moneyline, where payouts can vary greatly because there is not point spread that is installed. It is simply picking the winner straight up. Therefore, a bet on the favorite would not profit as high as it would betting the spread since no points are given. Payouts on the point spread are not always the same, but they do not vary like a moneyline.

Examples Of How The Point Spread Works

How To Read College Football Spreads

  • Florida State Seminoles (-7)
  • Florida Gators (+7)

Here in this example, the Florida State Seminoles have been set as seven-point favorites over the Florida Gators. That means, for the Seminoles to cover this spread, they will need to win the game by at least eight points to win the bet for a person who wagered on them.

On the flip side, the Gators are receiving seven points. They could lose the game by six points or less, and still win the betting line for a bettor who placed a wager on them.

If the Seminoles win by exactly seven points, then that would result in a push on the bet, with no payout and the bettor getting their money back.

How To Read NFL Football Point Spreads

Since betting on point spreads in the NFL is the most popular bet that people make, it is probably pretty important that you know what you are doing. The point spreads in the NFL are always alot closer then college football because you are dealing with the best of the best. You will almost never see a team favored by more then two touchdowns in the NFL, and most of the NFL point spreads are less then one touchdown. So, here is are best try at helping you understand how to read point spreads in NFL games.

Take this NFL point spread for example.

  • Atlanta Falcons -3
  • Carolina Panthers +3

Here in this point spread example for the NFL, the Falcons are playing the Panthers. Atlanta has been set as a three-point favorite on the betting line. That means that for Atlanta to cover the spread that has been set, they will need to win by at least four points. And for Carolina to cover the point spread, they can do so with a loss by two points or less, or obviously a win straight up. If the Falcons win by exactly three points, the bet would result in a push with no payouts.

NBA Point Spreads

  • Orlando Magic -5.5 (-110)
  • Chicago Bulls +5.5 (-110)

The Orlando Magic are playing the Chicago Bulls in this NBA point spread example. The Magic have been set as 5.5 point overall favorites according to this betting line.

For Orlando to cover the spread, the Magic would need to win by at least six points. For the Bulls to get the win against the spread, a loss by five points or less is needed.

Either the Magic's bettors or Bulls' bettors will get the result they need in order to win this bet because of the half point spread that is in-play; there can be no PUSH in this wager.

Bovada Sportsbook - Best Sports Betting Site For Betting On The Point Spread

Bovada SportsbookThe best sportsbook out there has to have a few things for it to be considered as one of the best online sportsbooks and Bovada more than a few. The point spread is just one that raises players' eyebrows and has them think about putting money on the line on these point sports. In both basketball and football and baseball, the point spread is the most important thing to pay attention to when it comes to wagering.

It is hard to say that even with a team be very start that it will be a blowout so most point spread would be pretty close to each other. With that being said, this is why using Bovada point spread is the best place to go. With a team like the Seahawks playing a team that they could easily blow out like the Miami Dolphins have very close point is there is without question an easy bet and easy money for fans to make. These are the kind of bets players need to take advantage of because once the games begin, there is no turning back. Bovada gives players plenty of chances to win big and it starts off with the point spreads offered.

SportsBetting's Sportsbook - Lots Of Betting Odds When Betting On Point Spreads

SportsBetting SportsbookSportsBetting is the clutch sportsbook that a lot of players like to sign up for. There are so many great things that are offered here but the points spreads are one of the best that players will find if they are shopping for them while looking for an online sportsbook. While there are great bonuses along with great banking methods, the point spreads for all these games are important and are favorable for the players. These bets are the top way that players continue to cash.

The point spread is based on how good teams are and the matchup that is set up. Even those these teams could be a lot better than their competition, the point spread always for the most part are very close. This is great because sometimes this always gives the underdogs to cover with a close game and that could mean big money. Even betting on an underdog to cover the spread doesn’t mean that players pick that team to win the game and that’s why betting on point spreads is so profitable.

BetOnline Sportsbook - Point Spreads The Best On BetOnline

BetOnline SportsbookPoint spreads are big to a lot of players because these could perhaps be the easier bets to win. This is because to win these bets, players don’t have to pick the actual team to win. With BetOnline, there are many point spread options and that goes through to every game and every sport. Players know that they can pick a team that could lose but cover the point spread and gets a huge payout!

The thing about these point spreads also here on BetOnline is that they don’t move much with the big news coming out for each team. This is why these betting options are the best to go for on BetOnline. The consistency is huge and also knowing that your team could lose but cover the spread is huge. Most of the team there is no major blowouts but when there is and you take a team to cover the spread, cash will be rolling in from BetOnline

MyBookie Sportsbook - Top Sportsbook With Point Spreads

MyBookie SportsbookThere is no doubt that players like to place wagers on games point spreads which is why MyBookie makes sure to have the best point spreads than any other sportsbook out there. That is important and brings in more traffic for MyBookie. The thing that point spread is about is the hitting on the number the team is expected to cover. Betting point spread doesn’t really have anything to do with betting on a team to win.

Looking at both team's past offense experiences will tell players how to handle the point spread. The Cowboys are always in tight games so the point spread on their games are usually going to be very close. Players would see a game like the high scoring Cowboys game go down to the wire and a touchdown could determine if they hit the spread on not. Although their offense is good, their defense will help the other team cover the spread so betting on the opposite team hitting the point spread could be profitable for MyBookie players.

Point Spread vs. Betting On The Moneyline

Betting on the point spread is completely different from betting on teams to win a game outright. Known as "betting on the moneyline", instead of using points to handicap each side of the wager, the sportsbook will use greater payouts versus the amount risked to reflect their relative perceptions; teams not expected to win (underdogs) pay more, sometimes exponentially, than when betting on the favorite to win when wagering on moneylines.

While it makes more sense to have a point spread for sports with a lot of scoring like football and basketball, there are point spread bets for low-scoring sports at online sportsbooks. You may see NHL betting lines with one team favored to win at -2.5 and the same principles for how to cash in on that line are the exact same as other sports. Even MLS, Premier League, or other soccer matches come with a point spread. Most of the time that point spread is only a single point but there are times you may also find a team favored at -1.5. If you check out one of the online betting sites we recommend you will surely find point spread bets for these types of sports.