One of the most exciting parts of sports betting is being able to predict the ending score of an NFL game, knowing exactly how the spread came out. While it’s great to be able to make money from the games you love, it’s even more exciting to be right on the money line – especially since you usually end up picking the winner!
In this article, we’ll teach you how to read a spread in NFL and NCAA Football betting so you can get the best possible return on your investment. We’ll also give you some bonus tips on how to get the most out of your NFL and NCAA Football betting picks. Let’s get to it.
The Spread – What is it and Why Is It Important?
When people think of sports betting, the first thing that comes to mind is probably the spread. The spread is the amount of points by which a team is projected to win the game. For example, if you bet on the New England Patriots vs the Pittsburgh Steelers and the spread is set at 3.5 points, you know that the Patriots are a 5-point favorite in the game. What’s great about the spread is that it provides a clear picture of how the game is likely to end even before it begins.
While there are lots of different types of bets that you can make in sports betting, the spread is probably the most popular one. Why? It’s simple. While you can’t predict the exact score of a game, you can predict whether or not the game will end in a victory or a loss. In most cases, the spread provides the only hint as to how the game may end so you can place your wager confidently.
How to Read a Spread In Sports Betting: The Key To Success
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to read a spread in sports betting, it’s important to understand the basic strategy behind it all. Simply put, the spread is an indicator of the current line’s overall perceived confidence in that team’s ability to win the game. For example, if you’re really bullish on the home team, you may choose to back them extremely strong (i.e. – taking them at 4.5 points vs the spread). On the other hand, if you think the road team will win in a close game, you may choose to lay the points and have a winner-take-all pot (assuming your league follows the rule).
What’s crucial is that you never choose to lay the points unless you’re feeling extremely confident about your pick. Otherwise, you’re practically guaranteeing yourself a loss.
Bonus Tip: Use These 4 Stats to Make Your Pick An Edge
In addition to understanding the strategy behind betting on the spread, it’s important to use other stats to make your pick an edge. Sometimes, all it takes is a little bit of research to find an unexpected gem that helps you make the right prediction. For example, if you’re playing the New England Patriots and the stats show them to be the least favorite team to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers this year, don’t just take them at 3.5 points – make them a 4-point favorite!
In most sports, you’ll usually find that the bookies have adjusted their lines based on the predicted flow of the game. However, in the case of NFL and NCAA Football games, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, the spread can be set before the game even starts based on how well the teams match up and which one is the home team. In these instances, it’s important to not just look at past records but also at whether or not either team has met expectations this season. If so, it may be time for a sharp uptick in the betting line – or, at least, a closer look before you make your pick.
Which Team Is Favored To Beat Which Team?
Unless you live and die by the spread, chances are you’ve got at least one team you’re not overly excited about facing in the regular season. However, this is exactly what the books are looking at – and this is why you should care. The books’ view is that there’s no clear-cut favorite in almost every game. Instead, they try to make the best guess they can based on all the factors and stats they have access to. This is why, in most cases, you’ll see lots of squares on the board instead of just a straight line – or a – as the case may be –.
Now, this doesn’t mean you necessarily have to take the bookies’ line – it just means you should probably use some common sense when making your pick. For instance, if you’ve got a team you’re not looking forward to playing but have confidence in your eye test that they’ll cover the spread, it may be time to lay the points as it could be a blowout game.
The Importance of Homefield Advantage
One of the things that can help you make the right prediction is homefield advantage. As the name suggests, homefield advantage is a bonus that most professional sports leagues provide to their teams when they play at home. The idea is to put a larger pool of spectators in the game, creating a bigger atmosphere. While the effect is often understated by the casual fan, it can make a world of difference in a close game. If you’re playing the New England Patriots at home, for example, you know that the crowd will be heavily in their favor – even if their opponent is a superior team.
The importance of homefield advantage goes beyond just putting on a great show. Studies have shown that the home crowd can affect the outcome of the game in a variety of ways. First off, home crowds are often much louder than their road counterparts. This is a great advantage for the home team – particularly since they may be slightly louder on average – it gives them an edge. In terms of strategy, if you’ve ever played the game Plague Inc. where you have to infect your opponents to win, it’s often best to target the home crowd – getting a few in the first place is much easier said than done. Finally, as a general rule, the home team seems to play better at home. While this is certainly not always the case, the stats back it up – even if the game is close, it’s usually good to go for the home team.
Analyzing The Spread
Once you’ve picked your team, it’s time to figure out how you’ll attack the spread. This is often easier said than done since the books’ view of the game can change at any moment (especially in the case of NFL and NCAA Football). However, if you’ve gotten this far without cheating (or, at least, getting caught), it’s time to reap the benefits!
What we’d recommend is taking a step back and looking at every game on its own merit. This means that, when you’re looking to make the right pick, you should consider every single game individually instead of looking at the spread as a whole.
Take the Pittsburgh Steelers vs the Arizona Cardinals game for example. The Cardinals are currently 1.5 point underdogs in this game based on the spread – but, if you look at each game individually, it’s clear that this isn’t the case. The first few games of the year were close games with the Pittsburgh Steelers coming out on top. Since then, it’s been all downhill for the Cards as they’ve lost every game by an average of 7.2 points. This is not a good trend for a team that’s supposed to be struggling – and it could be a key to beating the spread in this game. Keep this in mind as you look at every game individually and try to find the one that will make the difference.
Final Note: The Spread Betting Strategy
This article is not meant to be a handbook on how to bet on the spread. The purpose is to give you a general idea of how to read a spread in sports betting – and, with that, help you find the best possible return on your investment. This is especially important in the case of NFL and NCAA Football since these games can end in a shootout and you don’t want to be caught holding a losing hand.
On the other hand, if you’ve got a game that you think will be a blowout, it may be smart to take the points – even if it’s not the most profitable move. What’s important is that you never choose to lay the points unless you’re feeling extremely confident about your pick. Otherwise, you’re practically guaranteeing yourself a loss.