# How a Spread Works in Sports Betting

The line between making money and losing money when betting on sports can be blurry. For example, if you’re watching your favorite team win by a large margin, you might feel like you’ve won even when your team lost. When betting on sports, your final score doesn’t always matter as much as how the game went when calculating your profit or loss. This is why when someone mentions the word “spread” when talking about sports betting, they usually mean something along the lines of “moneyline” or “over/under”. However, a true “spread” can be quite a bit more complex than what most people imagine it to be, and it can serve a variety of different purposes.

## The Spread As It Is Meant To Be Used

As mentioned, “spread” as it is used in sports betting usually has one of two meanings: “moneyline” or “against the odds”, or maybe even both. However, there is a more specific way in which a sportsbook can use the spread that is akin to the vocabulary used in football or basketball. When a bookmaker sets the spread of a volleyball match, they are simply creating a betting line for a specific event that will take place at a given time and date. Once that event has completed, the line will be evaluated and either the bet will be considered a winner or loser. In this way, the spread can serve as a key indicator of how well a given bookmaker is doing at the time of the bet and, as a result, how likely it is that the bet will pay off.

## The Spread As A Tool For Managing Risk

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there is the case of a “spread” that is meant to be used as a tool for managing risk. Take the case of a simple \$10 bet at 10/11 odds, where the payout for a correct prediction is \$10. Since this is a single-game bet and you are staking only \$10, you are essentially risking \$10 on each game. If your team loses the game, you would lose 10% (\$1.00) of your initial investment, which is obviously not desirable. Now, suppose that your team wins the game but the spread was quite a bit wider than you anticipated, say by 3 points. In this case, you would win \$30 (\$10 + \$20), which is 40% more than your original investment. This win percentage is referred to as your “return” and it basically gives you an idea of how much the bookmaker is charging you for the privilege of placing a bet on their platform. Essentially, using a tool like a spread helps give you an idea of what to expect before putting down any cash.

## How A Spread Works In An NFL Football Game

The example above is meant to illustrate the concept of a spread in a neutral site football game, which is a game that is not played at home by either team. These are huge events, often referred to as “NFL playoffs” due to the fact that teams will often host or travel to playoff games during the regular season. However, since these are high-stakes games that can be quite lucrative, teams will often go through rigorous preparations for these games even when they are not directly tied to their playoff status. As in the case of a typical college football or American football game, a spread in an NFL game serves a similar purpose: to provide a way to make money whether your team wins or loses the game. In the case of an NFL game, the spread is usually set quite a bit wider than it would be for a college or high school football game since there is a good bit more at stake. Take last season’s Super Bowl for example. The New England Patriots had a spread of 17.5 points with the over/under set at 51.5. The Patriots, as it happened, won the game by 12 points. You would have won \$10,000 (\$10 × 12) if you had placed a \$10 wager on the Patriots at that point. Your \$10 would have been placed at a 17.5 point spread, meaning that New England was favored by 17.5 points.

## When A Spread Works And When It Doesn’t

The examples above should give you a good idea of when a spread in sports betting works and when it doesn’t. When it works, it usually means that one of the teams is really dominant or one of the sportsbooks is controlling the games in such a way that they can exploit an imbalance in power between the teams. Alternatively, a spread can also fail to produce positive results when one of the teams is clearly favored by a wide margin. In these cases, it’s quite likely that the bet will lose since the edge provided by the favorite will likely win out in the long run. In most instances, these kinds of bets are likely to lose since the public is more likely to wager on the team they like rather than the team they believe will win, but that’s just how statistics work in the long run.

In the case of a moneyline bet, your odds will be dependent on the point spread for the given game as well as the total number of points scored. To illustrate, if you bet \$100 on the Cleveland Cavaliers at -140 and Antonio Brown scores 20 points, you would win \$140. However, if the game was tied at halftime and neither team scored any points in the second half, you would have lost your \$100 bet since the total number of points scored did not reach the amount you staked. In this case, your money would be refunded as long as you meet the bookmakers’ terms and conditions.

## The Effect Of A Winning Streak On The Spread

When a team goes on a significant winning streak, it usually means that they are playing better as a whole than they are being given credit for. In the case of the Golden State Warriors, who were locked in a tight battle with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference last season, they won 11 of their next 12 games, which propelled them to the top of the conference and eventually, the playoffs. In all these games, the spread really did not matter as much as the final score would indicate since the Warriors were always able to put up big numbers en route to winning each game. As a result, the spread really only saw meaningful action in one game, the Feb. 26 matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In that game, the Warriors opened as big favorites (17.5 point spread) but after controlling the game for much of the first half, they came up short in the end and lost by 4 points. In the aftermath of this loss, the spread got considerably wider, with the over/under dropping all the way down to 3 points, meaning that the public had shifted their attention to the next game on the schedule rather than remaining engaged in the game they were watching. Since that time, the Warriors have gone 7–3 and are currently in good standing in the conference.

## Odds And Evens: When To Bet On Sports And When To Avoid Them

As mentioned, when someone references a “spread” in the context of sports betting, they usually mean one of two things. The first is the moneyline, which is quite simply the amount you are betting on the game. In the second meaning, a “spread” can also refer to the amount of points you are laying in regard to the spread. Essentially, there is a point spread for every game and it can vary greatly from game to game. For example, if you’re backing a team in the NFL and their opponent is playing at a neutral site, the point spread will usually be close to 0 since it is essentially a game played on a field that is designed for both teams to have an equal opportunity to score. As in the case of a college football game, a huge discrepancy in point spread between two games is often the result of one team being heavily favored by a large margin, which is why it is usually associated with riskier bets. In most cases, these kinds of bets will lose since the public is more likely to back the team they support rather than the team they think will win the game, but as previously stated, that is just how statistics work in the long run.