What is Point Spread Betting?

In casino and sports betting, there is a wide variety of bet types and options. Players have the opportunity to choose Moneyline (often called the straight bet), Over and Under, Point Spread, Parlay, Props Bets, Futures, Teasers, Full covers, Outright, Ifs, and Reverses, or Robin Bets.


This article will focus on the point spread bet, how it works, its benefits, and what to expect. Let’s get cracking.

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What is Point Spread Betting?

Otherwise referred to in European sports and elsewhere as a handicap, a point spread bet allows punters to predict the number or point difference between a weak team, called the underdog, and the strong opponent, called the favorite. 

It refers to the bet placed on the point or number margin of success in a matchup. As one of the most popular types of bets in sports betting, point spread has generally been referred to as the great equalizer that offers everyone – the teams, fans, and oddsmakers – equal opportunity to guess and cash in on a bet.

Although it’s often used in football and basketball, the point spread bet also offers an excellent chance for bettors in other sports to wager on the least rated teams confidently.

How Does a Point Spread Bet Work?

Oddsmakers give higher points to the favorite in a matchup over the underdog, depending on the antecedent of the two teams and the perception the bookies or fans have about the team’s ability. A point spread bet has some similarities to the Moneyline bet in that it also comes in the form of a minus-plus format. 

The minus sign is often allocated to the favorite, while the plus sign means the underdog team or player. Let us take, for example, a matchup between Auburn Tigers and Oklahoma Sooners in college football, using the table below to explain;

TeamOddsPoint Spread
Auburn Tigers-110-10.5
Oklahoma Sooners-110+10.5

From the game above, the Auburn Tigers are the favorite because they have -10.5. If you place a bet on Auburn, the team has to be victorious by 11 points or more to claim your winning. This is what is called “to win by more points than the handicap.” If the Auburn record 34-24 against the Sooners, Auburn won the game by 10 points but failed to cover the spread of 10.5, which is the closing line.

On the other hand, the Sooners have +10.5, meaning they need to be defeated by 1-10 points or win by the same margin to cover the spread. The Sooners lost the game in the example above but covered the spread by simple arithmetic of 24+10.5= 34.5. Since 34.5 is greater than 34, the bookies will declare your stakes winner and payout your winnings.   

Final Thoughts

Although the point spread, the bet has become the punters’ favorite bets, suffice to say that it requires a lot of research and intense knowledge to understand how it works. You can choose the best type that suits you, but the point spread offers an avalanche of opportunities to play, have fun and win lots of money. Finally, the point spread bet is in the overall best interest of everyone: the bookie, the oddsmakers, and the punters.

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