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Point Spread Betting Explained: Understanding Football Point Spreads

Point spread betting, or merely spread betting, is a type of betting where the punter is successful depending on the accuracy of the bet rather than the usual ‘win or lose’ situation. This type of betting may seem overwhelming for a newcomer with all the various symbols and numbers on the odds list. It may be even surprising to see experienced punters unable to completely understand the various intricacies of this form of spread betting.

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In this article, you will understand how does a point spread work in sports betting and you will also receive other essential explanations that you must know as a punter.

Point Spread Betting Explained

Point spread betting is all about predicting the range of the result rather than the result itself. The outcome of the bet is determined by the range, while the returns are determined by the price set by the bookmaker. This is quite popular in the United States, while the bookmakers in the United Kingdom provide victories that are multiples of the original bet.

In the US, the price becomes a key element in the spread bet with a clear house edge available. The best odds are chosen based on the size of the house edge. In the United Kingdom, the house edge is the central point of the spread that will provide the profits.

What is the Point Spread?

Bookmakers use points to separate the favourite teams from the underdogs. The American football spread happens to be a hugely popular betting option. A great example would be a matchup between Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots. The football point spreads for this game would be like:

  • Dallas Cowboys -3.5 (-108)
  • New England Patriots +3.5 (-108)

Rather than merely back Dallas Cowboys or New England Patriots for a victory or defeat, a punter can use the median in order to try and predict the outcome of the game along with its range. In each game, one team comes in as the underdog and the other happens to be a favourite.

The negative (-) is used to denote the favourite team in the points spread NFL. Conversely, the positive (+) sign is used to denote the underdog. The number of the brackets is the wager along with the fees for the broker to cover the spread.

How Does a Point Spread Work In Sports Betting?

The point spreads gives an indication about the team favoured by the bookmaker. A punter effective bet on the range of the outcome. In the above example, choosing Dallas Cowboys in the football point spread shows that the punter is expecting a win for Dallas Cowboys by that advantage.

At the other end of the scale, New England Patriots might have been able to remain within the spread even after defeat, if the margin of defeat is not as high.

How to Read a Point Spread?

The betting spreads come with a number – ‘3.5,’ in this case – that is used to denote the margin of success. The negative sign is used to denote the favourite team and the number will be the margin of victory. For example, Dallas Cowboys secure an 18-13 victory over New England Patriots.

In this case, the margin of victory for Dallas is five points, which is more than the spread football points offered by the bookmaker. If Dallas Cowboys only manage a narrow 18-15 win, the margin of victory is just three points. This falls short and the punter is adjudged to have lost betting against the spread (ATS). In case of a tie, the punter gets the entire stake (or betting points) refunded.

Why Do Some Spreads End In .5?

One of the common questions that springs to the mind of an punter, while analysing how do point spreads work, is the need for a 0.5 at the end of each point. This has a crucial role to play from the view of a bookmaker, as it is used to avoid a tie. If there is a spread of three points, and the bookmaker could be looking at a complete refund of the wager if the result of the match is 18-15. This creates a push scenario. Going with the 0.5 might raise questions about how spreads work, but it crucial elements in the push aka ties scenario.

What Does -110 Mean?

The odds are reflected by this number, and it is the value required to win £100. The punter is certainly at risk by placing £110 in order to win the £100. The differential £10 is known as the house edge, as the bookmaker stands to make £10 irrespective of the outcome. Understanding point spreads and betting the spread is about knowing the best risk to reward ratio.

What Happens If I Win?

You have to understand a win spread first. This is where the wager in the betting spread comes into play. The number denoted in the brackets is the wager a punter must place in order to win £100. This is usually higher than £100 – in this case it is £108. The differential amount happens to be the house edge. If the punter wins a particular bet, they are paid out the £100 along with the wager of £108 to bring a total of £208 in the baseball point spread.

What Happens If I Lose?

If a punter comes up with an incorrect prediction, they stand to lose the £108 that has been wagered.

Point Spread Betting Strategy

There are some key elements that help make a punter successful when it comes to the sports spread. This would involve understanding the key numbers and lines while shopping for the odds. Since the margin of victory is the key element here, analysing the recent trends of the two teams (such as team wins) is essential before picking the odds.

Even though a team may come into the game as favourites, they may not stand to get a huge win if the opposition has the ability to stand firm and not give in.

It is also important to shop around for the best odds while playing the spread bets. Since bookmakers differ in the odds – the quantity required to win £100 – with some offering -107 against a -108 of a favourite bookmaker, it is advisable to avoid loyalty when it comes to betting.

David Giles