While it’s always fun to bet on sports, the majority of us are just doing it for fun. Occasionally, you’ll come across a sports betting scenario where your friends, family, and coworkers are placing bets on the games. Maybe you’re even taking bets yourself, but you’re not really sure how to read the betting spread. Don’t worry – we’re here to help! In this article, we’ll discuss how to read the betting spread and what it means for the bettor.
The Basics Of Understanding The Spread
If you’re not familiar with the spread, let us explain what it is. Most simply, the spread is the difference between the points scored by the favorites and the spread opponents in an NFL football game. You’ll often see this difference expressed as the number of points scored by one team versus the number scored by the other. For example, say the under is -3 and the over is +3. This would mean that the team scoring the most points (in this case, the New England Patriots) will win by 3 points. The spread can also be used when handicapping NCAA football or the Super Bowl because the calculations are basically the same.
How To Read The Spread
When reading the betting spread, the first thing you should do is figure out who is the favorite and who is the underdog. In an NFL game, the favorites are always the team listed first in the opposite team’s record. For example, in the Patriots versus Dolphins game this year, the Patriots are the favorites because they are 1-0 while the Dolphins are 0-1. Most sportsbooks follow their well-known policy of taking the points scored by the favorites into consideration when calculating the spread. If you want to stay in the loop with all the latest news and odds, be sure to check out the latest NFL news and scores as well. This way, you’ll know who’s playing and the outcome before making any bets.
The Spread Explained
If you’re still not clear on how the spread works, here’s another example to help better understand. Say the under is -6 and the over is +6. In this case, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the favorites with a record of 0-1 and the Seattle Seahawks are the underdogs with a record of 1-0. As always, the favorite will try to go up by as many points as possible and win by a larger margin. In this example, the underdog team (Seahawks) will be the team scoring the most points (13) in order to win by 6 points or less. This is very similar to betting on the favorite in a dog race where you’re trying to avoid losing. When reading the betting spread, you’re looking for value bets or bets that will pay off for your side of the equation. In this particular case, you would want to wager on Seattle because they are the underdogs and it’s a very close game. If you’re a Seahawks fan, you’ve most likely already made the decision to place a bet on your team because they are the ones trailing by 6 points with under a minute left in the 4th quarter. In that case, you’d want to bet on the under to cover your original losing wager. It is always best to avoid betting on the favorites because they are going to win by a larger margin most of the time. The key to making money from sports betting is knowing when to bet on the favorites and when to bet on the underdogs. Knowing when these two teams differ by a large margin, or in this case, a spread, is the key to making money as a sports bettor.
Some Common Terms You May Come Across
When betting on sports, you’ll often come across some terms used to describe the difference in points scored by the two teams. This is also the case when reading the betting spread. Sometimes this difference is referred to as the spread, in other cases it may be called the vigorish or juice. Most simply, the point spread is the difference between the two teams’ scores, while the over/under is used when referring to a single team’s score. For example, if the over is +3 and the under is -3, this would mean that the team scored 3 more points than the opposing team. Similarly, if the over is -6 and the under is +6, this would mean that the team scored 6 more points than the opposing team.
As a general rule of thumb, if you’re looking to place a wager on a game, you should try to find the under. The underdog will try their best to pull an upset and win as close as they can. When this happens, the odds will eventually turn in your favor because of the nature of the gaming industry. Most likely, you’ll end up winning some and losing some – but as a whole, you’ll come out ahead compared to if you had placed the wager on the favorite. One thing to keep in mind though is that occasionally, the favorite will win by a landslide and there’ll be no value in betting on them. In that case, you’d simply want to try and take the points scored by the underdogs and apply them to your favor. In the case of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers versus the Seattle Seahawks game mentioned earlier in this article, the spread is -6 and the over/under is 4. This means that the Bucs scored 6 more points than the Seahawks. Most simply, the difference is 6 points.
If you’re unfamiliar with any of these terms, don’t worry – they’re pretty self-explanatory once you know what they mean. Just make sure you learn the basic rules of thumb as they pertain to sports betting and odds calculation so that you can become a better informed bettor. You should also check out our guide to sports betting for more information.