Point Spread Betting

There are two main methods of betting that players should learn as they’re getting into the game: moneylines and point spreads. Focusing on the latter, here is a primer into the world of margins and point spread wagering. If you would like to learn more, please email us at [email protected] and we will connect you with one of our Sports Investment Consultants

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What is Spread Betting?
The point spread is meant to make things a little more equal, in the sense that you assign a certain number of points to a team/side that isn’t as strong as the one they’re playing. In moneyline betting, all you have to do is pick a winner. However, in some sports where there is a clear mismatch – let’s say a big, established college football program versus a small school – the outright outcome is very obvious. That’s where the point spread comes in. If the perceived better team has to win by 20 points, that makes the decision much more challenging and the matchup on the field much more fair.

Straight Bets

Straight bets are in fact the most common and most simple type of sports bet ever used.

You make a straight bet when you wish to place a wager on single side of a game and to win it, you must correctly choose the team that will cover the spread or the total (Over/Under). Straight bets are also called “sides”.

In general, when you make a straight bet you must pay the “vigorish” or “vig” and the amount charged may vary from one bet to another. This is the amount of commission the sportsbooks charges to place your bet. .

Another option to keep in mind is live betting, which refers to wagers you can place while the game is in progress.

Point Spreads In Football/Basketball
These are the sports in which point spreads are more relevant. The best way to show you what a point spread is with an example, so let’s take one from the NFL. The Denver Broncos are playing the Cleveland Browns. The spread favors the Broncos by seven points because they’re a better team this year. That would read as the Broncos -7 while the Browns would be +7. This means the Broncos have to beat the Browns by more than seven points (i.e., by eight or more points), while the Browns need to win outright or lose by less than seven points in order to win. If the outcome lands exactly on seven points, that’s known as a push and the game is a tie (you get your money back). It works the exact same way in basketball.

Point Spreads In Hockey/Baseball
Point spreads aren’t as popular in these sports, but it’s still possible to do it. Puck Lines are for betting spreads in hockey and Run Lines are for betting spreads in baseball. There is a standard line for both: 1.5. You’ll see one team is either -1.5 as the favorite, or +1.5 as the underdog. What this means is, in hockey, for the favorite, they have to win by more than 1.5 goals (by two), and the underdog has to lose by less than 1.5 goals or win outright. It is the same for run lines in baseball. The favorite has to win by more than 1.5 runs (by two), and the underdog has to lose by less than 1.5 runs or win outright. The Run Line and Puck Lines is usually 1.5.

Point Spreads In Soccer
Points spreads in soccer are similar to the Run Line in baseball and the Puck Line in hockey. In soccer, it is referred to as the Goal Line. A typical Goal Line might be 0.5 goals, however, when you have a heavily favored team playing a less favored team, the Goal Line may be 1, 2, 2.5, 3, etc. For example, Argentina is playing Costa Rica in the World Cup and the Goal Lines are Argentina (-2.5) and Costa Rica (+2.5). If you bet on Argentina (-2.5) they must win by 3 or more goals to win the bet. Similarly, if you bet on Costa Rica (+2.5), they have to lose by 2 or less goals or win the game outright to win the bet.

Point Spread In Tennis
Finally, the point spreads in tennis is all about how many games a player will win. For example, if Serena Williams is the favorite over Maria Sharapova, Williams might be at -3.5 for this match, which means she has to win more games overall. If she wins something like, 6-4, 6-4, that means she wins 12 games to eight for Sharapova; the difference is four, so that means she wins. You don’t see a lot of point-spread betting in tennis, but it is an option that is used – especially if the moneyline odds get very large.