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Point Spread Betting Guide

Point Spread Betting Guide

The beginners have this question that they do not know the meaning of the numbers and symbols in the odds boards. Of course we can’t neglect the fact that most of them are used to notice the information from point spread.

So, what is point spread? The simple explanation about it is that it comes as number which is conducted between two teams or sides in order to build the interest of betting of those sides or teams. Bettors need to get the right number of points to build enough interest while the underdogs should not be such longshots.

If you look at the NFL odds back then between Washington Redskins vs Dallas Cowboys, it looks like this:

Dallas -4.5 (-110)
Washington +4.5 (-110)

How Does It Work?

We call the favorite team as "chalk" in betting lingo. The favorite is getting the minus value. At this game, Cowboys are favored by 4.5 points. As the results, the underdog teams are getting plus value. That means Redskins attain 4.5 point underdogs. The -110 value will be explained later.

Speaking about the 4.5 points, you can make a wager on Cowboys if you are sure that the team will win the game by 5 points or more. So if Cowboys wins the game by 20-14, then the team does not only win by 6 points, but also covers the 4.5 point spread as favorite. But the scenario will be different if they win only by 3 points. They can not cover the 4.5 points. However, the Redskins will have covered the points because they are staying within the spread.

A simple math for this is by analogizing it with your childhood game of one-on-one basketball in your backyard with your little brother. Since you are older and stronger, your little brother will have 5 point lead. That explains he gets a head start as underdog. So for example: Dallas 20 - 4.5 = 15.5. We assume that Washington have 4.5 point lead in the starting game. However, the cowboys still win against the spread.

In the 20-17 example:

Dallas 20 – 4.5 = 15.5

That number is less than what is scored by Redskins. Then it explains that Cowboys lose against the spread. It is a common scenario where the favorite team receives more burden. If they win they game, it does not mean they will be able to cover the spread (ATS).

You can also imagine the scenario from the underdog point of view:

Dallas 20, Washington 14 + 4.5 = 18.5 (so they lose the game SU as well as ATS)
Dallas 20, Washington 17 + 4.5 = 21.5 (so they lose the game SU, but win ATS)

What Does -110 mean?

As promised, we will explain it to you. -110 is a number of betting doers’ responsibility to pay tax or commision. In many cases, bettors need to pay 10% to the bookies, which is the fee of wagering service. So the -110 means that a bettor should risk $110 to win $100. Some bookies will reduce the commissioner. That means you possibly earn the same $100 payout with lower risk of losing.

For instance, if you look at the -7.5 (-107), that means you just need to wager $107 to win $100. And so on. When it comes to spreads and moneylines, the bookies will find the best numbers and prices possible. This can be analogized with the “price shopping” in the sports betting.

So, What if you win?

Congrats! You will get your initial $110 back, plus $100 you won. The total is $210.

If you lose?

Obviously, you will lose $110.


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