What is a Point Spread Bet?

One of the reasons basketball and football are the two most-wagered sports in America is the point spread odds, which refer to run, puck or goal lines in baseball, hockey and soccer action. If your favorite NFL team is a -7 point underdog, you don’t need them to win the game to win the wager. They can still lose, but not by more than 7 points. A 21-14 score will result in all bets being returned as it would be a tie including the spread, so many spreads are often posted with a half-point added on to avoid a push. Bet underdogs if you expect a close game – or back the chalk if you expect a blowout is pending!

How Point Spread Bets Work

Underdogs are chosen more often on point spreads than money lines because pups get a predetermined points head start on the spread and don’t have to win the game outright. 

The majority, if not all, of our carefully selected betting partners offer point spread betting, so check out the table below and choose a sportsbook to start your betting career on.

    Point spread betting is the way to wager when you sense a blowout

    Point spreads are assigned in games to even the betting playing field and theoretically give each of teams a 50-50 chance of winning against the line. For that reason, the spread will always be a mirror image between the favorite and underdog. Thus a game with a 10-point favorite will also have a 10-point pup. Bookmakers do this not predicting that one team is 10 points better or worse than the other but but rather to secure as much action on both sides in an effort to prevent a potential big loss due to a heavy lean.

    Point spreads often move during the week, mostly if an injury to a key player occurs or other major team news such as unrest in the dressing room, or contract talks breaking down, surfaces in the media. Books also shift spreads to reflect public action heavy to one side or another. When expecting one team to blow out another -- that is win by a large margin -- it’s essential to bet the point spread and not the moneyline in both football and basketball. Let’s say the New England Patriots are 14-point favorites over the Buffalo Bills. Why take the Patriots at -350 on the moneyline and have to pay $350 to win $100 when you can bet $100 on the Patriots simply to win by more than 14 points at -100 and win $100 back?

    The same is often true for betting on the underdogs. If a soccer team such as Manchester United is playing a lower league team in a cup competition, bookmakers may make Manchester United a -2 or -3 on the goals spread. If you hear that Manchester United are set to field a second-string team, or their lesser opponents have been playing well, you may want to bet on the underdogs (who will have a 2 or 3 goal start) and hope they manage to keep the score down.

    When you see a miss-match hit it with a point spread wager!