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Point Spread Betting Explained

Point Spread Betting

In the world of sports betting, the 1×2 bet is king. It’s the simplest, most straightforward bet anyone can place. However, that doesn’t make it the most appealing or valuable. There are many other markets online that are more entertaining. In this spread betting guide, you’ll learn more about the definition of this unique type of bet.

Spread betting is one of the most popular types of wagers right now. It is widespread and popular in the USA, where it’s used in competitions such as the NHL, NFL, and the NBA. Spreads are almost a religion for some bettors as they’re fun and quite rewarding if done right.

If you want to learn how to bet the spread, you’re at the right place. This BetZillion guide will tell you everything you need to know and a few strategy tips and tricks that’ll help you win.

What Is a Point Spread Bet?

Also known as an equalizer at some online bookmakers, a spread bet levels the playing field in a game. As you surely already know, all sports teams are not created equal. For example, when the Lakers play the Orlando Magic, they are a heavy favorite.

A match-winner bet doesn’t make a lot of sense on the Lakers since the odds are low. By handicapping the teams in this example with a point spread, bookies can give bettors much better odds.

The better team must win by the point spread the bookie offers. The underdog can afford to lose as long as the spread is covered. Bettors can win a great point spread payout, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

How to Read a Point Spread

To read a point spread, you will first need to know how American odds work. For those unaware, the – sign indicates the favorite, while the + is for the underdog. That’s all you need to know before you bet the point spread since it relies on American odds.

Reading point spread odds is not hard at all when you know how American odds read. Using the example above, the Lakers will be favorites against the Magic with a point spread of +15 at -100. To cover the spread, the Lakers need to win by over 15 points.

The Magic’s spread of +5 means they need to win or even lose by up to 5 points for your bet to win. Their odds will surely be in the +200 (or higher) range, allowing bettors to capitalize on an eventual shocking Lakers loss and win big money in return.

While it all looks pretty confusing, the point spread betting system is very simple once you learn it. If you’re new to it, online betting websites might have a guide on how to place your first point spread bet. It’s easier than you think, and you’ll love the fact that you can win your slip even if a team loses. That’s the beauty of points spreads and handicaps.

Point Spread Odds

The odds for point spreads are usually represented in American format. We already said that moneyline odds are expressed with the minus sign for favorites and a plus for the underdogs. As soon as you learn to read these, you’ll know how to read point spreads and bet on them.

While confusing, the American odds are simple to understand. The minus sign (for example, -300) shows how much cash you need to spend (in this case $300) to win a profit of $100 for a total payout of $400.

Opposite to that, underdog odds of +300 show you how much profit you can expect on a $100 bet. In this case, you’ll win $300 for a total payout of $400.

That’s the simplest example of the American odds format, which is most commonly used on point spreads.

What Does PK or Pick’Em Mean in the Point Spread?

When you learn how to bet point spread, you need to know a few terms that will make things easier. One of the first terms you’ll come across is Pick’em, or PK. The Pick describes teams with a 0 point spread in which no team is favored.

It is essentially a moneyline bet, with your wager determined by the winner.

Point Spread in the NBA

Commonly known as the spared at NBA sportsbooks, the point spread is one of the biggest markets in NBA basketball. The positive value, for example, +10, shows the lead given to the underdog before the match begins. In this case, the favored team must win by at least 10 points to cover the spread.

The other point spread betting example is the exact opposite – -10. In this game, the underdog should win the game for your bet to win or lose by no more than 10 points.

Point Spread in the NFL

NFL spread is most likely the top way to bet on American football. If you’re new to NFL betting, it may be a bit complex, but it’s pretty simple once you get the hang of it.

The numbers and odds represent the same thing as in the NBA spreads, except this time the numbers are usually smaller since its goals count, not points.

Point Spread in the NHL

In many ways, point spreads in the NHL are no different than NFL spreads. This market still uses American odds, so you should have no trouble betting on your favorite teams or opponents’ spreads.

What Is a Puck Line or Run Line? How to Bet Against the Point Spread?

If you come across a puck line or run line in point spread betting, don’t be confused. It’s what point betting is called in the NHL and MLB. Puck Lines are point spread in ice hockey, while run lines are spread in baseball.

In both cases, the spreads will be indicated by positive and negative points. We already mentioned how those can be read, so you shouldn’t have a lot of trouble betting on the puck line or run line.

How Is a Point Spread Determined?

Everyone knows that odds are determined by the number of bets placed and a few other factors. With the point spread, it’s different. If you want to learn how to bet point spread, you need to know how the spreads are determined.

With the spread, online sports betting sites are trying to even the balance. That’s not possible at all times. In the real world, sports action is never balanced. To determine ideal points spreads, bookies look at a range of factors, including:

  • The power rankings for both teams
  • The location of the match
  • Public perception of the strength of both teams
  • Injuries, weather, and other factors that impact the game

The last step is to adjust the points spread depending on the early action before the match. If accurate, punters will spend a lot of money on it. If not, there will be less action, and the bookie will adjust the spreads.

Can You Bet on Point Spreads for Different Parts of the Game Such as a Half or a Quarter?

Yes, you can. Many sportsbooks today release spreads on quarters or halves simply because there’s a lot of action on these odds. These markets are live betting markets, with the spreads set for different checkpoints so punters can determine which team leads after a quarter or a half.

It’s a fascinating way to bet for regulars. However, it’s not spread betting for beginners who are still learning the ropes.

Example of Point Spread Betting

To learn what a point spread is, we’ll show you a few examples below.

Let’s say that the Bucks, an NBA title contender, plays the Magic, which are an underdog. With Giannis Antetokounmpo in the team, the Bucks are the obvious favorite, probably with a moneyline of -800 or close. Those odds are not exactly perfect for bettors, so that the bookie might give them a -110 moneyline at -13.

Conversely, the Magic will be -110 with a moneyline of +13. If the Bucks win by 13 points, you win your bet. The Magic can afford to lose by up to 13 points in this case or win the match for your wager to win.

Sometimes, you’ll see spreads with .5. Let’s take a match between the Cowboys and the Giants, for example. The Dallas Cowboys may be a -3.5 favorite at -110, which means they need to win by 3 points or more for your bet to win.

The Giants are an underdog at the same odds with a spread of +3.5, so to cover the spread, they must not trail by over 2 points at the end.

Final Words

Spreads can be scary at first, but once you learn the spread betting meaning, everything becomes much easier. It’s a fun way to bet on your favorite sports, especially in matches where favorites play huge underdogs. Since pre-match bets won’t bring you a lot of profit in this case, spreads can offset that and deliver profit without focusing on the winner of the match.

We hope that our spread betting guide helped you learn everything you need to know. When you’re ready, try spreads at the best betting sites and enjoy this exciting market.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does point spread mean in sports betting?

    Point spreads are a special way of betting in matches where there’s a massive difference in quality. The bookie levels the field by handicapping the stronger opponent, giving players a chance to earn money without focusing on the match-winner.

  • What is a 2.5 point spread?

    A 2.5 point spread means that for you to win, the team you bet on must win the match with 2.5 points. If it wins by 2 points, you lose.

  • What does a 6.5 point spread mean?

    Like the 2.5 point spread, a 6.5 spread means that the team you bet on has to win by over 6 points.

  • How is a point spread calculated?

    Point spreads are calculated differently than in any other market. The bookie considers numerous factors so they can determine a fair spread that punters won’t avoid.

  • How to make money using spread betting?

    To make money with spread betting, you will need to use spread betting strategies and read more than a few tips and tricks. The best bookies will have them on their blogs, so make sure to put that knowledge to good use.

  • Is spread betting taxable?

    Good news for all punters – spread betting is non-taxable as the law sees it as a speculative bet instead of an investment.

Writer & Tipster

Jimmy is our on-duty tipster and writer. His favorite sports are cricket, tennis, and basketball. If you’re looking for the best betting tips in the business, Jimmy’s your guy. His tips and events previews are among the most read at BetZillion.

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