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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Betting Guide / Point Spread Guide 2024: Best Spread Betting Strategy Explained with Examples

Point Spread Guide 2024: Best Spread Betting Strategy Explained with Examples

Publish Date: 02/08/2022
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

Spread Strategies for Betting

Sports betting point spread is among the most popular betting markets in the US, second only to Moneyline. Sometimes point spread markets are the best market available for a game, especially when the Moneyline odds are very low.

What does point spread mean? How can you achieve success with sports betting spread? What is Bankroll betting, and how to manage it? These are some of the questions we have attempted to cover in this updated strategy guide for all the hopeful bettors in 2024.

Sports betting spreads explained

Sports is a very competitive and unpredictable industry. However, there would be some teams that are obviously stronger and some that are weaker. Moreover, being the favorite to win, betting on the stronger teams usually gives you minimal payouts.

This is where the sports betting spread comes in. Spreads, or lines, help even out the odds between two unevenly matched teams. So rather than betting on a simple win-lose situation, sports betting spread gives you a chance to enhance the odds by factoring in a few conditions. You can also check out our sports betting for beginners guide to learn more about sports betting.

What does point spread mean?

A point spread is a range of possible outcomes, i.e., the margin of the victory or loss in the game. You wager on a team to not only win but also predict the team to win by more than the number of points estimated by the provider. The estimate provided by the provider is called a spread, and you can read the odds here by looking at the number displayed near the odds. Your gambling operator will set a handicap between the two teams, and the point spread will have a negative value on the favorite team. In contrast, they will assign the positive value to the underdogs.

For example, in a LA Galaxy versus Inter Miami soccer match, you might see -2.5 against Miami. It simply means that you are betting on Miami to win by 3 or more goals.

How spreads work in sports betting?

Let’s take a look at an example to understand how it works:

Assume that the bookmaker specified a spread of 5.5 points in an NFL game.

The perceived stronger team is the favorite while the weaker one is the underdog. The favorite is denoted by the minus sign (-) while the underdog by the plus sign (+).

If you bet on the underdog, you will win the bet only if the underdog’s score plus the point spread is greater than the favorite’s score.

  • If the eventual score is Underdog: 10 and Favorite: 13, 10+5.5 > 13, which means you win the bet.
  • If the eventual score is Underdog: 10 and Favorite: 16, 10+5.5 < 16, which means you lose the bet.

In contrast, if you place a bet on the favorite, you will win if the favorite’s score minus the spread is greater than the underdog’s score.

  • If the eventual score is Underdog: 10 and Favorite: 13, 13-5.5 < 10, which means you lose the bet.
  • If the eventual score is Underdog: 10 and Favorite: 16, 16-5.5 > 10, which means you win the bet.

You may have come across a number next to the spread in American sportsbooks, which is most often -110. What does it mean?

This is the odds the sportsbook is offering for this points spread bet. This means for every $1 that you wish to win, you have to risk $1.10. So, if you want to make a profit of $50, you would be betting $55.

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Types of sports betting spread

Now let’s have a look at a range of points spread available in the online sports betting market in the USA.

NFL Spread

NFL is probably the biggest and most popular sports league in the country, with a wide range of betting markets available for you. When it comes to wagering on NFL games, the teams are assigned a spread of predicted winning margin. As explained in the above section, you win the bet if your selection is able to meet this spread. However, the exact value of the spread will vary with the quality of teams in action.

NBA Spread

NBA Spread is also quite similar to the NFL Spread, where the favorite team is assigned a spread for the projected winning margin. Again, the favored team needs to win by more than the spread for you to have a positive wager. If you bet on the underdog, they need to lose by fewer points or win outright. Depending on the difference in the quality of teams in action, NBA point spread can vary between as low as 1.5 to 8.5.

NHL Puck Line

In the NHL Puck Line, the favorite team is assigned a puck line of -1.5, and the underdog is set a line of +1.5. Here, you have a chance of getting the payout in the range of -130 to +200.

If you are betting on your favorite team, they need to win by two or more goals for you to win the wager. In contrast, if you are betting on the underdog, they just need to lose by one goal or win the match outright for you to win the wager. However, it can turn into a costly decision, especially when the puck line is priced high. Therefore, you need to predict the outcome carefully and only bet when you have enough statistical backing.

MLB Run Line

MLB is also similar to the NHL Puck line, where the favorite team is assigned a run line of -1.5 while it is +1.5 for the underdog. You have a payout in the range of -130 to +200.

If you pick the favorite team, then your team has to win by two or more runs for you to win the bet. Similarly, for you to win a wager on the underdog, they need to lose by just one run or win the match outright. But, again, you need to be very careful when betting on the underdog.

Soccer

In soccer, there will be spreads when the two teams are unevenly matched. For example, the favorite team is usually given a spread between 1-3 goals, which means they have to win by more than that specified spread for you to win the wager.

Buying points on a sports betting point spread

Point spreads are very popular among sports bettors. Everyone loves a good point spread market to punt on. However, the lines may not always be favorable, and that’s where buying points come in.

The idea is that the bettors can buy points to move the point spread in their favor. While buying odds, you can purchase half a point, a full point, or a point and half. The exact number of points you can buy depends on the sportsbook you are buying from. However, keep in mind that the bookies usually charge a 10% fee for each half-point you purchase.

For example, let’s say you want to wager on the LA Rams at -4 (-110) against the Baltimore Ravens, who are +4 (-110). So, instead of just betting on the -4 spread for the Rams, you could also buy a half-point to make the spread -3.5 (-120) or take a full point to make it -3 (-130). Similarly, you could bet the underdog Ravens at +4.5 (-120) or +5.0 (-130) by buying a half-point or a full point.  A betting exchange is another platform where you can find variety in the spread market. To learn more about it, read this betting exchange explained guide.

Other types of bets

Now that you have a gist of point spread betting, let’s take a look at some of the other popular sports betting markets:

Moneyline bets

Moneyline bets are the standard and straightforward option you have when betting on any sport. You have to pick the winner based on the implied probability, that is, one team beating the other. Understanding this market is relatively easy here as Moneyline pays smaller returns for favorites and higher rewards for the underdogs. When you are betting, you are simply backing the outcome of one team to win or lose. Some betting sites also offer 3-Way Moneylines where you can bet on the match to end in a tie after regular time. Draw no bet is another market on the winners of the match. Don’t forget to check out our expert guide to learn more about what does draw no bet mean.

Over/Under bets

In sports betting explained, over/under bets are formulated through niche statistics like total points, runs, or goals scored by any team. The sportsbook will assign a number to the statistics in a game like the total points scored, total 3-pointers, total touchdowns, etc. You, as a bettor, will have to predict whether the actual score will go over or under this total.

For instance, take the case of an NFL match. If the oddsmaker has set the total cumulative points at 50, an over bet would need a combined total of 51 points or more. Similarly, an under bet would require the two teams to score under 49 for you to win. If the final score remains at 50 only, the stake will be returned to you. But keep in mind that Sportsbooks will consider only the statistics from regular time for settling the bet. So, even if the match is decided in overtime, points scored in the OT will not be included in determining the total score.

Parlay bets

A parlay bet is simply the combination of multiple bets tied together for a larger payout. However, the catch here is that all the selections need to have a positive outcome for you to win. So naturally, the more bets you add to a parlay, the greater the risk. However, the simple gambling rule always remains the same – the higher the risk, the higher the reward.  

Conclusion

Point spreads are generally good to go if you know the whole drill. They allow you to bet on favored teams even if the Moneyline odds aren’t favorable. You can also bet on the underdog team without worrying about the possibility of them winning the game. However, do keep in mind the risk involved while betting on point spreads in baseball or hockey matches.

As detailed in this sports betting spread explained article, it is advisable to know the risks associated with the market. Also, pay attention to line movement along with monitoring point spreads on multiple operators. Attention to detail can put you in the best position to succeed as a point spread bettor. Simply put, if you know the game well enough, then point spread markets can be a powerful tool to enhance your wagering bankroll.

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Sports betting point spread FAQ

🏈 What is Points Spread Betting?

Alongside Moneyline and over/under betting, points spread is one of the most popular betting markets in the US. To learn more about points betting and the best points betting strategies, read our expert betting guides at TheGruelingTruth.com.

💰 How do betting sites make money?

Sportsbooks and betting sites aren’t charity organizations, and they are businesses that make a lot of profit. To learn more about it, read our expert guide on how do betting-sites make money.

😎 What is the best strategy for sports betting?

Placing bets on your favorite teams and sports certainly enhances the thrill and excitement. So, if you’re among those who love betting on sports, then the following guide of the best betting strategies will undoubtedly help level up your betting game.

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