Sports Betting 101 – The Point Spread

WHAT IS A POINT SPREAD, AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

The Point Spread is utilized by odds makers to generate interest in betting for both teams in a contest. They do this by setting a figure that provides an advantage or disadvantage based on the margin of victory or defeat for a given team.  

The “favorite” team (labeled with a “-” sign) would be at the disadvantage as they would need to win the game by a set number of points, while the “underdog” team (labeled with a “+” sign) would be given an advantage to not lose the game by a set number of points. The point spread creates even-level bets, regardless of how much better one team is over another, encouraging bettors to wager on both teams. 

Here is an example of an NFL game where point spreads are utilized and how it would look: 

Sports bettors make their picks by deciding if the margin of victory will be larger or smaller than the estimated point spread. As you can see from the video, point spread amounts tend to involve half point increments often. This helps prevent the occurrence of a tie for a bet (commonly called a push). You may see whole number spreads and totals, but sportsbooks try to avoid it for this reason.  

It is also important to note that the point spread amount does not necessarily mean the sportsbook predicts a win or loss by that exact margin. Rather, this is the number sportsbooks use to try and receive even action on both sides of the bet. 

Whether you’re new to sports betting or simply need a refresh, Tropicana Sports wants to help you gain the knowledge and insight to build enough confidence to comfortably enjoy sports betting. Our experts are here to help you on this journey, so don’t hesitate to ask your questions in the comment section below.  

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