Along with the money line, the spread is the most popular betting option in the United States. In this article, we’re going to explain spread betting works, as well as share some tips on how to get the most out of it.
How is Point Spread Betting Done?
With Moneyline betting, the odds on clear favorites can sometimes be too short. This is the reason why sportsbooks introduced the spread. The whole point of spread betting is to ensure that odds on both the favorite and the underdog are decent from a bettor’s perspective.
How point spread works is that the favorite is given a disadvantage so that the underdog would have a reasonable chance to win. This is done by taking away a couple of points/goals from the favorite so that in order for them to win (in the eyes of the bookies), they need to cover the spread.
Spread betting is best explained with a real-life story. Let’s take the Super Bowl LVI as an example. The Los Angeles Rams were seen as huge favorites against the Cincinnati Bengals. This is the reason why the Moneyline odds on them were as short as -240 at some New York sportsbooks. Bettors who thought there wasn’t much value in that bet had the chance to bet on better odds via spread betting.
Oddsmakers set the spread to -3.5 points on the Rams at -110. This meant that in order for that bet to win, the LA team needed to win by at least four points (spoiler alert: they did not). Bettors who bet against the spread (Bengals +3.5) were given the same odds as bookmakers though there’s a 50% chance for either bet to win.
What Does Point Spread Mean in Basketball?
Of all the major sports, basketball is the one in which games see the most points scored. A typical NBA game sees over 200 points in total. Sometimes, both teams score a similar number of points; sometimes, however, teams blow out their opponents, winning by a margin measured in dozens of points.
This scenario usually happens when a major favorite is pitted against a struggling underdog. In such cases, bettors see no value in money line bets. Instead, most of them opt for spread betting. This way, they get better odds, as well as a one-in-two chance of winning.
How Does Tennis Spread Work?
Spread betting in tennis differs from other sports because you have two markets to choose from. One is spread betting on games; the other is focused on sets.
In order to win a tennis match, a player needs to win two sets (three at Grand Slam tournaments). If you don’t think the underdog can win, but you believe they could grab at least one set, set spread betting is the way to go.
To win a set, a player needs to win six games (or seven in some cases). To make things interesting, some sportsbooks are giving a disadvantage for the favorite by taking away a few games from them. For instance, Rafael Nadal -5.5 means that he needs to have at least six more games in total than his opponent at the end of the match.
What Does the Spread Mean in Football?
Spread betting seems to be loved by football fans. The most likely reason behind this is that things can change quickly in an NFL game. Your team might be leading by a decent margin, but an opposition touchdown followed by a turnover could reverse everything.
That said, betting on the spread means that you have to be on your toes until the very last moment of the game. The added excitement could be the main reason behind NFL fans’ love for spread betting. However, we also mustn’t forget the odds. With spread betting, each team gets the same odds (or at least similar), usually standing at -110.
The Minimum Stake in Spread Betting
What is the least amount you can bet on a spread? The answer depends on which sportsbook you’re using. In New York, legal betting sites tend to keep the minimum stake for spread betting at 10 cents. At the moment of writing, FanDuel Sportsbook has the lowest limit – $0.09.