What does Spread Mean in Sports Betting?

One of the most popular types of sports betting is spread betting, which has continued to gain popularity since it was invented in the 1940s. Spread betting rapidly gained popularity due to its simplicity and ease of understanding what the whole process entails. As a novice bettor, it is completely normal to ask the question “what does spread mean in sports betting?” If that’s the question on your mind, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we will examine what spread betting means and give details of the other important aspect of this kind of bet.

What Does Spread Mean in Sports Betting?

The spread also called the line, is a type of betting that is used to even out the odds between two matched teams that are uneven. Essentially, point spreads are handicaps that are placed on a team depending on whether people expect them to win or lose by a specific margin. Bookmakers usually set a spread while expecting that there is equal action on the sides of both teams in a game.

In simpler terms, a point spread is a kind of wager on how much the favored team will win their opponent by. Usually, if a team displays a minus sign, this means that they’re the favorite team and have to win against their opponents by the stated number or more than the number for you to win your stake.

On the other hand, if the team displays a plus, this means they’re the underdog team and have to win the match or lose the match by less than the stated number for you to win your stake.

The bottom line is that the teams playing against themselves will all have different odds. Make sure you pay attention to the odds specified.


What is a Spread Betting Example?

Check out this perfect example of spread betting. The Golden State Warriors are playing against the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA. The warriors are already listed as eight-point favorites, drawing a spread bet of -8. As a result, the Lakers automatically draw a spread bet of +8. If the Warriors win the match by more than eight points, they win against the spread. On the other hand, if the Lakers lose the match by less than eight points or just win the match outright, they win against the spread.

However, if the final score ends up with the Warriors winning the game by exactly eight points, neither side will win the spread and the outcome will be a “Push”. When there’s a push, all the wagers will be returned to the gamblers on the spread.

How Does Point Spread Betting Work?

Essentially, spread betting works by enabling the sportsbooks to create a balance between two opposing teams that are naturally unbalanced.

They achieve this by removing some points from the favored sports team and giving these points to the underdog. This exchange will be labelled with either a plus sign or a minus sign. We’ve already explained how these signs work in the last few paragraphs. Basically, you can place a wager on both of the teams if you’re convinced that your stake will work out well in your favor.

Spread vs Moneyline Betting

Another popular kind of sports betting is placing stakes on the money line. Essentially, a money line bet is a wager that is placed on what team will win or lose a match regardless of what the spread says.

For instance, if Chelsea and Manchester United are to play, and the Blues were placed at a +100 odds moneyline, you will win exactly $100 on a $100 bet. The total payout is just 1:1. A bet on the Blues side will make you win the stake as long as Chelsea wins the match.

This is quite different from the spread, in which oddsmakers try to make the opposing teams even by considering their strengths and weaknesses.

Favorites and Underdogs

Spread betting always have the favorite and an underdog except on rare occasions. The favorite will be put at a disadvantage by surrendering points to their opponents. For instance, i.e. a -8 spread for the Golden State Warriors against the Lakers indicates that oddsmakers have tagged the Warriors as the favorite by eight points. The Lakers, on the other hand, will draw a spread of +8, indicating that oddsmakers see them as the underdog by eight points.

Virtual Sports

What is Push-in Point Spread Betting?

When the outcome of a spread bet ends in a draw, it is tagged a “Push”. This occurs when the spread you are betting against finishes off with the same margin of victory. For instance, you wager on Chelsea -7 and they win by specifically 7 points).

What Do ‘Long’ and ‘Short’ Mean in Spread Betting?

The term “Long” is simply when you purchase and the term “Short” simply is when you sell. Expect to see two boxes with some numbers and these boxes indicate your buy and sell options. The long box always has a lower price, while the short box has a higher one.

The main difference between the two numbers is called the bid/ask spread or the bid/offer spread. In fact, the cost has to shift a reasonable amount of distance for you to win the stake.

How To Place Bets With The Point Spread

To place spread bets online, follow these instructions:

  1. Create an account on any credible online sportsbook or log into your account if you already have one.
  2. Next, select the kind of sport you would like to bet on and navigate to that page. Once you do this, you’ll see all the lines and matches for the upcoming days.
  3. Thereafter, choose whether you would like to wager on the favorite team or the underdog.
  4. Lastly, tap on the team and enter the amount of money you want to stake and place it.

Note that, that once you place your bet, you can’t opt out of the deal. So think very carefully before placing your bet.

Managing Risk in Spread Betting

The good news is that there are numerous strategies you can adopt to manage your spread betting risk. The basic one is that you need to fully understand the market that you’re placing a bet on. It’s a bad idea to bet blindly. Also, ensure that you have profit reports to enable you to understand where your losses and wins are.

Lastly, ensure that you make use of stop losses as this puts you in a favorable position if the betting market turns on you. With this, you can lock in your winnings without losing all of them.

Accumulator betting

Controlling The Point Spread

The simplest way you can control spread betting is to pay great attention to it a few days before the game. The days that lead up to the match will give you important information about players on the teams. You will get information about injuries and be able to tell which of the two teams is the favorite.

Also, watching the line move will give you a general idea of which team you should place a bet on and the right time to place the bet. Nevertheless, if you are not sure about the likely outcome of a game, it is better you don’t on placing any bets.

What Does a +7 Spread Mean?

A +7 spread bet is very common in the NFL as a result of the scoring of a touchdown as well as a successful extra point. However, this type of spread is also common in other sports. Essentially, if the spread is positioned at +7, this indicates that to make up for it, the underdog has to either win the match outright or lose the game by less than seven points. For the favorite to make up for the spread, they have to win the game by over seven points.

What Does a +1.5 Spread Mean?

The +1.5 spread bet is not as common as other spread bet numbers, given what the oddsmakers mean when they attach it to a match.

Essentially, it implies that the underdog has to win outright or lose the match by precisely one point to make up for the spread. Contrarily, a +1.5 spread for the favorite means that they have to win by at least two points or more.

Bottom Line

The direct answer to the question “what does spread mean in sports betting?” is that it is a unique kind of betting that the oddsmakers use to even out the odds between two matched teams that are clearly uneven. To play the spread betting, you must understand what the whole concept means and we’ve made that easy for you by providing the information above. Lastly, ensure that you apply the risk management strategies before placing a spread bet. This drastically reduces the chances of losing your stake.

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