Point Spread Betting

The point spread can be referred to as the equalizer for sportsbook operators. When creating a strategy, it is wise to fully understand spread betting and the sport you want to bet on. The most popular tips for spread betting are as follows:

  • Basics of spread betting 
  • Reading the odds
  • Point spread and line moves
  • Run and puck line options 

Basics of Spread Betting 

All teams are not created equally, so sportsbooks will make a point spread for a game so that each team competing has an "almost" even chance of winning the game. You can look at this as a way for the point spread to even the field for both teams.

The point spread is essentially giving a reason for bettors even to risk money on both teams in the first place. The better team playing in the game is considered the favorite to win. 

For you to make money, they have to win by the point spread offered by the sportsbook. The favorite in a game is listed as the minus the point spread.

The team that is considered the worst of the two teams playing in the game is called the underdog. The bettor wins if this team wins the game outright or loses by an amount smaller than the point spread that is offered. The underdog in a game is listed as being the plus sign the point spread.

For Example:

Packers+1.5 (-110)/+1.5 (-105)+1.5 (-108)
Colts-1.5 (-110)-1.5 (-115)-1.5 (-108)

Looking at the lines above, the Indianapolis Colts opened as the favorite over the Green Bay Packers by 1.5 points. The Colts need to win by two or more points to cover the spread.

On the other side, the Packers need to win the game outright or lose by less than two points to cover the spread. If the spread moves to Colts -1 and they end up winning by exactly one point, the betting result is now considered a "push," and bettors for both sides get their wager refunded.

Reading The Odds

Point spreads are typically placed with -110 odds, but these prices often fluctuated at online sportsbooks. This is what you would call the sportsbook operators' "house edge." 

The odds basically guarantee the sportsbook operator will see a little money over time. So if you see the odds set at -110, it means the bettor must wager $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10).

The odds that are on a point spread are most commonly known as the vigorish or "vig" for the sportsbook. You might even hear the small profit margin for the sportsbook called the "juice" by some sports bettors.

Point Spread and Line Moves

Sportsbook operators' goal is to aim to have equal money on both sides of the point spread. When the money is exactly split, the sportsbook operator will see the exact vigorish as their profit margin. If all things are equal over time, this maximizes how much money the sportsbook operator can make overall.

Since the operator makes an effort to have equal money on both sides of the wager, the sportsbook will move the point spread to attract money on the side that customers are not betting on. The odds for a point spread will change before the actual point spread. 

There are certain point spread numbers, such as three and seven in football, so the sportsbook operators would like to avoid moving away from those since the final score margin falls on those two numbers most often.

For example, if a lot more money is wagered on the Colts -3, the vig may shift from -112 to -115 and -120 before the line moves to -3.5.

Run and Puck Line Options 

Football and basketball games are popular bets when using a point spread. The somewhat "less popular" major sports such as baseball and hockey, are mostly bet on using a moneyline. 

With an attempt to make baseball and hockey more appealing to the point spread bettors, sportsbook operators will offer what is called run and puck lines. 

These different lines will give point spread bettors an opportunity to wager on other sports using a more familiar method of betting. Since points, such as runs and goals, are not as easy to achieve in baseball and hockey, the odds with those lines may have a much wider spread than a football or basketball game.

How To Spread Betting FAQ

How do I bet on soccer, tennis, and other spreads?
If you bet on baseball or even hockey that uses one point scores at a time, the same applies to soccer, tennis, or anything else. You would simply look at the sport of interest to you on your sportsbook and look at the odds listed for the spread.
How do I reduce my risk with financial spread betting?
If you are spread betting in various sports, financials such as the stock market, forex trading, and even bitcoin, you are going to want to reduce your risk. Here are some simple rules to follow:
  • Know your market
  • Never trade too often
  • Have set realistic goals
  • Expected have losses and know when to cut them
  • Keep yourself disciplined
  • Avoid being too greedy
  • Ignore rumors or speculation
  • Keep yourself informed and updated
  • Do not put all your bets on one thing
  • Make sure you have money set aside for play versus needing it for bills
This is a category all to itself, but there are similar rules that still apply. As long as you have a strategy and you stick to it, good things should happen more than bad.
Anything else to help with spread betting?
One more tip you could try that is very beneficial is to make your own spreads before ever looking at the odds. If you know a sport well, write down your prediction beforehand and what you think the spread would be. If you come close or nail it, you will have a better idea starting for what to look for.

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