Most people don’t understand what betting the spread is or how it works. Basically, betting the spread is placing a bet on the winning team’s spread (points scored minus points allowed) in a game that you know will be completed. The idea is to try and make more accurate predictions about score differences in games, while also earning money from those winnings. It’s kind of like putting one win bet on each football team in a parlay, except you’re getting paid to do it!
To really understand how betting the spread works, you have to think about the different types of bets that you can make and how they work. Here are the most common types of betting the spread and how they work:
This is pretty much what it sounds like. You’re placing a wager on the winner of an athletic event with money on the line. Typically, moneyline bets are available on high-profile sporting events like football, basketball, and baseball. You’ll most often find them in the form of single-game bets or parlays, where you’re placing wagers on the spread of several games. In a moneyline bet, you’re backing the favorite (that’s the team you think will win) and making a profit if your guess is correct. For example, if you think the Cleveland Browns will beat the Arizona Cardinals this coming Sunday, you might put a $100 moneyline bet on the Browns. In this case, you’ll earn $100 if the Browns win and you lose $100 if the Cardinals win. In most places, you’ll need to bet at least $10,000 to qualify for jackpot prizes.
Total Wins Above-or-Below X
This is pretty self-explanatory. You’re placing a bet on the team that you think will win by a certain amount of victories. For example, if you think a pitcher will throw a certain number of strikeouts and the team keeps the games close, you might want to bet on them topping or falling short of the number of strikeouts. In most places, you must bet at least $5,000 to qualify for a prize.
This is a tricky one, because you have to pick a team to support. If you choose the wrong team, you could lose all your money, as you won’t be eligible for winnings. The key is to pick a team that you believe will win the Super Bowl. You make a profit if your pick comes in first or if the team you chose wins. If your pick loses, you lose your money. It’s pretty much the opposite of picking the favorite, in which you make a profit if your pick wins. You might want to consider wagering with funds from your online savings account, as financial institutions don’t always give out football winnings in small increments.
This is a pretty easy one to understand. Essentially, you’re placing a bet on whether an event will occur or not. For example, if you think there’s a chance an asteroid might hit Earth and destroy all life as we know it, you might want to put a wager on NOT hitting Earth. This way, you’ll win if the asteroid doesn’t hit, and you’ll keep your money. Alternatively, you could put a wager on Earth being hit by the asteroid and lose if it doesn’t happen. In most places, you must bet at least $5,000 to qualify for a prize.
Here’s another tricky one. You have to choose a winner in advance, so there’s no backing out once the game starts. The key to this one is to pick a team that you think will go undefeated all season (and maybe even into the playoffs). You can place a wager on any NCAA football team (from Division I to Division III), as long as they are playing games at the time you joined the site. You win if your team wins, and you lose if your team loses or ties. You will gain money if your pick in the NCAA football tournament wins the final.
Once you’ve mastered the basics of betting the spread, the sky is the limit. You can find daily fantasy football games where you can place bets on the spread, and you can also do so on a game-by-game basis. You’ll also find plenty of places that allow you to make combo wagers, where you can put a moneyline bet on a football team and a total wins or loses bet on another. For example, if you believe the Atlanta Falcons will win the Super Bowl this year, you might want to bet $100,000 on them and also bet $100,000 against them (that is, if you think they will lose the game).
This is probably the most popular type of spread bet for people who like to wager on basketball. You’re placing a bet on the spread (points scored minus points allowed) of a game that can end in points, as in the case of a typical basketball game. Basically, you’re backing the team you think will win and making a profit if you’re right. For example, if you think the Golden State Warriors will beat the Los Angeles Clippers in Friday night’s game, you might want to bet $5,000 on them. In this case, you’ll win $5,000 if the Warriors win and you lose $5,000 if the Clippers win. In most places, you must bet at least $10,000 to qualify for a prize.
This is similar to betting on a basketball game, except in this case, you’re placing your bet on the outcome of a horse race. You’re backing the winner of an athletic event and making a profit if you’re right. For example, if you think the horse Rumor will win the Kentucky Derby in next month’s race, you might want to bet $5,000 on them. In this case, you’ll win $5,000 if Rumor wins and you lose $5,000 if he loses. In most places, you must bet at least $15,000 to qualify for a prize.
In most types of betting the spread, your money is on the line. However, you are protected from losing your money in the following ways:
- In parlay bets, you’ll usually end up with a mixture of winners, with an overall gain no matter how the bets turn out.
- In pro-football games, you’ll win if your pick in the NCAA football tournament wins the final. In the case of a tie, you’ll still win your money.
- In college football games, you’ll win if your team wins, and you’ll keep your money — regardless of whether your team wins by a large or small margin.
- In horse racing, you’ll win if your chosen horse wins and you’ll keep your money — regardless of whether your horse wins by a large or small margin.
Now that you’re equipped with the basics of betting the spread, you can try your hand at sports wagering or simply follow the money and help others place winning bets.