The Basics of Point Spreads
The two most popular ways of expressing odds in American football are point spreads and money lines. In this article, we will discuss point spreads, how to read them, and use an NFL football game as an example to illustrate a spread bet.
Point spread bets are one of the most common sports bets. Spreads are intended to level the betting playing field between two teams. If the handicappers do their job right and choose the right spread number, there should be an even chance of winning or losing the bet taking into account the spread and a roughly equal number of bettors on both sides of the game. It is a way to even the odds and make things a little more fun.
In a spread bet, the team perceived to have less of a chance of winning will have points added to their score and the team expected to win will have the same number of points subtracted from their score. Those points are known as the point spread, and are sometimes called the line or the price.
Let's say you bet on the team everyone expects to win. Since everyone expects this team to win, it will have points subtracted from it's final score - the spread - to even things up. The team must win by the point spread given at the time you placed your sports bet. If the team you bet on still has a greater number of points than the opponent after the point spread has been subtracted from its final score, your bet is said to have covered the spread and you win.
Point spreads can go up or down at any time depending on various factors like player injuries, weather, and the like. The spread may also be adjusted if the bets coming into the sportsbooks are disproportionately favoring one side or the other. You are generally locked in to whatever the point spread was at the time you placed your sports bet.