In many sports, the 1×2 bet is popular. In other words, a sportsbook will offer an underdog 1/2-point spread (or less) in an attempt to fill their books with money, most of which comes from the 10 or less group. While this is common practice, most sports fans aren’t familiar with the theory behind the 1×2 betting pattern. Below, we’ll discuss what this means and how it affects your favorite sports team. Keep reading for more information on how to make the most of 1×2 bets and what numbers to look out for.
Underdog 1/2-Point Spreads
In the majority of cases, a 1×2 bet means that the sportsbook thinks your favorite team is going to lose by 1/2 or more points. For example, the Atlanta Falcons are 5.5 point underdogs at New England on Sunday night. You’ll notice that the sportsbook doesn’t pick the Falcons as an 11 point favorite. Instead, they’ve got them at 5.5 points because they feel that the New England Patriots are going to beat the Falcons by more than just 1/2 point.
As a betting man, you’ll naturally want to avoid these types of spreads because they’re usually poor values. That’s especially true if you’re betting on a team you’re not very familiar with. You’ll be inclined to lay the point spread instead because you don’t want to risk getting burned by an upset.
On the other hand, there are upsets that the books simply can’t ignore. Just think about the 2010 World Cup final when Barcelona hosted the match-up between the Netherlands and Spain. The Dutchman, Kevin Meyers, was a 20/1 underdog for the entire tournament, yet he ended up surprising everyone (including the betting public) by leading his country to the championship. In that case, it was best to lay all of the points and be happy with the winnings.
Smaller Spreads For More Experienced Teams
If you’re looking for an easy way to make money on football, you’ll want to avoid 1×2 betting unless you’re sure that your favorite team is going to be an underdog of at least three points. Once you reach that threshold, it’s usually best to go ahead and lay the point spread because there’s a higher chance that your team is going to cover the spread than there is to bet on the underdog. Here are a couple of examples:
In 2012, the Kansas City Chiefs were 2-point underdogs at Chicago on December 19. It wasn’t until the end of the third quarter that the line moved in favor of the Chiefs, who went on to win the game 41-38. The 2-point spread was too steep to make money off because the Chiefs are an experienced team that was able to pull off an upset in Week 17 against the Denver Broncos. The under of three points was selected because the game was anticipated to be a close one.
In Week 2 this year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were 5.5 point underdogs against the Atlanta Falcons. The line opened at Tampa Bay -5 and immediately jumped to 5, which is when you know that the line moved in favor of the Bucs. They went on to win the game 41-38. The 5.5 point spread was too steep to make money off, but the under of three points was selected because the Bucs are a relatively inexperienced team and this was anticipated to be a high-scoring affair.
Point Spreads Are Usually Poor Value
Generally speaking, point spreads are poor value because they represent a small edge that your side of the bet is almost always going to win. You’ll need to lay the point spread pretty much every time because the favorite is almost always going to cover. That means that you’ll win more frequently than you lose when betting on point spreads. For example, take a look at the 2019 NFL season to date. As of Sunday night (Oct. 7), Super Bowl LIV is now 48 days away and there are still seven teams yet to be decided. Those teams are:
Dallas Cowboys (6-1) – Over/Under 7.5
New York Jets (6-1) – Under 7
Miami Dolphins (4-2) – Over/Under 7.5
Philadelphia Eagles (5-1) – Over/Under 6.5
Arizona Cardinals (6-1) – Over/Under 7.5
Los Angeles Rams (3-3) – Under 7.5
San Francisco 49ers (4-2) – Under 7.5
At this point, you may be thinking that the spread doesn’t look too bad for the visiting teams. Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily the case because you’ll rarely win when betting on the spread. For example, in the 2014 season, you’d need to lay nine out of ten point spreads to win money. That means that you’ll lose more than you win when betting on point spreads. Also, there are mitigating factors that you need to keep in mind when considering betting on point spreads. First, you’ll need to keep track of the total number of points that are scored in each game. That way, you can figure out how much money you’ll need to risk and if it’s a good value. Second, you’ll need to consider the level of players that each team has. The more skilled the better because betting on the spread is almost always a losing proposition.
Look For The Trends
If you’re searching for value, look no further than the trends. Over the last 20 years or so, we’ve seen a sharp decline in the total number of point spreads won by underdogs. This makes sense when you consider the rise of defensive/special teams touchdowns and the decrease in the number of games that end in ties. In other words, it’s not as profitable for the sportsbooks to bet on the underdogs anymore because those points often don’t add up to much. That’s not to say that there aren’t any profitable bets to be made. There are but it’s just not the same as it was in the past. When betting on underdogs, you’ll need to dig deeper into the numbers to see if there’s any value at all. Here are four stats to check for that will help you determine if it’s a good idea to bet on the underdog or go against the spread:
1. The Total Number Of Points Scored
One thing that you need to check with regards to underdogs is the total number of points scored in each game. That way, you’ll know how much money you stand to make (or lose) if you select this underdog option. During the last 20 years, we’ve witnessed a sharp decline in the total number of points scored by the underdogs. As a result, many sportsbooks have adjusted their lines accordingly. For example, take a look at the 2008 season. There were 897 total points scored by the underdogs that year, which was the lowest total points scored by the underdogs since the 2000 season (884 points). The reason for the decrease is simple. Teams have gotten more comfortable playing from behind and the fact that defenses have gotten better at stopping the run means that fewer and fewer teams are finding ways to win games despite being underdogs. Essentially, defenses are playing better than ever before, which makes it harder for the underdogs to pull off upsets. That’s not to say that there aren’t any profitable bets to be made off of underdogs because there are. But it’s definitely not as easy as it was in the past.
On the other hand, take a look at the 2001 season. That year, 1694 total points were scored by the underdogs, which was the highest total points scored by the underdogs since the 1998 season (1712 points). It was also the first time since 1997 that there were more than 1700 total points scored by the underdogs in a season. This was mainly thanks to a strong finish by the underdogs that year which resulted in six out of eight games going over as bets. One of the main reasons for the increase was due to the fact that there were a number of high-profile underdogs that year, which meant that there was more interest in making money off of them. Naturally, interest in underdogs is at an all-time high right now because there are a number of high-profile teams that are currently underdogs in their respective games. Just look at the Pittsburgh Steelers. They’re 4.5 point underdogs against the Tennessee Titans in Week 12 and the line has dropped to -4.5 because the bookies think that the game is actually going to be close.