What is a Point-Spread Bet?
A lot of the time, a game can be so lopsided and predictable that nobody is going to want to bet on it. This is where the point-spread bet comes in. Think of it as the handicap you might see in a golf competition.
The spread is a predetermined number of points given to each team based on the team’s skill level. If you are the favorite to win, you will have to lay a certain amount of these points. If you are the underdog, you will be given points in order to make the bet more balanced. The spread will always be the same number for both teams. For example, take a look at this hypothetical spread:
This line means that the Green Bay Packers are favored to win by 10 points. If you bet on the Packers, the Packers would have to win by 10 points or more in order for you to win that bet. However, if you think the Cincinnati Bengals have a chance to keep it close, they must win outright or lose by no more than 10 points.
Because the purpose of a spread is to counterbalance each team's skill level to their opponent, the odds associated with them usually range from -105 to -125.
Something to Consider with the Spread
The lines are not indicative of who will win the match, but the optimal line to attract money to both sides. The books make money off the vig they collect. So they try to set a spread to entice the same amount of action on both teams. It is important to shop around for the best odds from multiple books. For more information on the vig and other topics surrounding the bookie and sports betting, visit our Gambling 101 guides.