How To Bet the Spread in Sports Betting

The spread is a point system that is used to even the playing field between two teams, allowing bettors to wager on either team with a relatively equal chance of winning. In essence, the spread is a handicap that is given to the underdog to make the game more competitive.

To bet the spread, a bettor must choose which team they believe will cover the spread. The spread is usually represented as a number with a plus or minus sign. For example, if the spread is -3.5 in favor of the favorite team, they must win by at least 4 points for a bet on them to be successful. On the other hand, if the spread is +3.5 for the underdog team, they can lose the game by up to 3 points and still cover the spread. Bettors can place their wagers on either team with the odds usually being set at -110 for both sides, meaning that a bettor must risk $110 to win $100.

Here is a breakdown of the example:

  • Team A is +3.5
  • Team B is -3.5
  • You wager $110 on Team A at +3.5 at -110 odds
  • Final Score is Team A: 21 and Team B: 24
  • Team A covered because they are within 3.5 points of Team B (24 - 21 = 3)
  • You win $100 plus your wager of $110 for a total of $210 dollars

There could be times when the spread is a whole number like +3 or -3. When the difference of the score is equal to the spread, this is called a push. Most of the time you will get the money you wagered back when this happens but, it is always best to check with your sportsbook to make sure this is the case.

When you see the "odds", the number should look familiar from the moneyline lesson. The moneyline is another term for odds. The table below is a refresher on how this number works. This time we will just change the wager because the spread is usually around -110.

Odds Wager Win Collect
-110 $100 $90 $190.91
-110 $110 $100 $210

One of the most important aspects of betting the spread is understanding the key numbers in each sport. In football, for example, the most common winning margins are 3 and 7 points, so spreads that fall on those numbers are more significant than those that do not. Bettors should also be aware of any injuries or suspensions on either team, as these can significantly impact the outcome of the game. Ultimately, betting the spread requires careful consideration and research, as well as a willingness to take calculated risks.

Move on to the next lesson: How To Bet The Over/Under