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What is a point spread bet? How to bet against the spread

26 Feb | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
What is a point spread bet? How to bet against the spread

What is the point spread in sports betting? This guide explains what point spread means, how it works and how you can place a point spread wager.

What is point spread betting?

Point spread betting is one of the most popular forms of sports betting. It is particularly popular when betting on American sports such as football and basketball.

The point spread essentially evens out the odds between the two teams involved in a match, giving bettors the option of backing both teams with a relatively even chance of winning.

Point spread betting is also known as handicap betting.

How does point spread betting work?

Pont spread betting works through the application of a spread, or handicap, to a game.

The team that enters the game as the favourite will be denoted by a minus sign (-) followed by the allocated spread.

This essentially means that the spread will be subtracted from their final score at the end of the game, so they need to win by more points or goals than the spread for the bet to win. This is also known as covering the spread.

The underdog will be represented on the sportsbook by a plus sign (+) followed by the spread, meaning the spread will be added to their final score. In other words, they must keep the game within the spread for your bet to win. Backing the underdog in the point spread market is known as betting against the spread.  

An example of a point spread bet

To help you understand point spread betting more easily, let’s look at an example.

Let’s say the Los Angeles Lakers are playing the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA.

The Lakers enter the game as clear favourites, with the spread set at 9.5 points.

This means that the point spread market on the sportsbook would look like this:

Lakers -9.5 Pelicans +9.5

If you back the Lakers to cover the spread, then they must win by 10 points or more for your bet to be a winner.

If you back the Pelicans against the spread, then they must remain within 10 points of the Lakers for your bet to come in.

Do point spread bets include overtime?

Yes, all point spread bets include overtime. 

How does point spread betting work in NHL?

Point spread betting in hockey is known as puck line betting.

Although it has a different name, the puck line works in exactly the same way as the spread.

The one difference in hockey is that the spread always remains at 1.5, due to the relatively low scoring nature of the sport.

So, the favourite in an NHL game will always be assigned a spread of -1.5, with the underdog set at +1.5.

Visit Betway’s NHL betting page.