What Does Betting on the Spread Mean?

Most casual sports fans know what a punt is, but for those of you who are new here, a punt is when a team throws the ball (usually from their own 20-yard line) on its own side of the field in an attempt to gain more playing time or to move the ball down the field and score a touchdown.

For the most part, these days, punting is a thing of the past. Due to rule changes in the 1970s, coaches are no longer allowed to challenge a ruling on a touchdown or a field goal. As a result, today’s game only features the occasional onside kick, trick play or two-point conversion.

Although these are exciting plays to watch, they don’t often result in an actual point being awarded. Because the game only features these important plays, teams no longer need to rely on the “punting” game, which resulted in less effective and more boring football games.

Instead, in today’s NFL games, teams are more likely to use a strategy called “Total Offense.” Under “Total Offense”, the offense is only allowed to advance the ball ten yards in any given play. The idea is to minimize the possibility of a turnover by keeping the offense on the field as much as possible and giving the defense some rest.

How Does The Spread Work?

So how does the spread work? Essentially, the spread is a strategy used by pro and college football teams to make up for a lack of strength in one area of the field by exploiting another. One of the main reasons why the spread was created was to combat defenses that park the extra linebacker in the middle of the field. Before the spread, teams would typically send six or seven men into the line of scrimmage, which is directly in front of the defensive backs. With only five men available to stop the run (the extra defenders were usually responsible for covering the passing game), the running game was severely limited.

With the spread, the offense can run a more balanced attack, utilizing both the pass and the run while also keeping the defense on its toes. In theory, the spread makes the defense have to chase the quarterback, instead of sticking to their assignments. For example, if the defensive line is playing well, the quarterback may decide to pass. If the defensive line is playing poorly, the quarterback may decide to run.

Why Bet On The Spread?

So why should you put money on the spread rather than the other way around? For one, it’s almost always a winnable game. Teams that are betting on the spread are likely either up or down by at least a touchdown and, in many cases, a lot more. If you’re not confident that your team will cover the spread, you can bet on the point-spread and lock in the win. For instance, if you’re playing the Vikings at +2.5, you’re effectively betting that the Vikings will cover the spread by two points or more. If the Vikings score more than two points, you win the bet. If the Vikings score less than two points, you lose the bet.

On the other side of the equation, if the spread odds are in your favor, the game is almost always a close one. Because there are more plays than usual, there’s plenty of opportunity for both teams to rack up the points. Plus, if the defenses are playing well, the offense will likely need to rely on trickery and/or the occasional long pass to move the ball down the field. Hence, even though the spread is a more traditional football bet, there’s still plenty for you to be excited about.

When To Bet On The Spread

Now that you have an idea of what the spread is, you may be wondering when it’s a good time to bet on it. While in most cases it’s a solid option, it’s not the right choice if you’re looking for a long-term profitable venture. That being said, if you’re looking for a one-day or short-term wager, you can’t go wrong in any way.

To figure out when to use the spread, you must first look at the line movements. When the line moves in your favor, it’s usually a good idea to use the spread. For example, if you’re playing the Vikings and the line moves from -2.5 to -3.5, it may be a decent choice to take the points. If the line moves the other way, it may be best to avoid the spread and look for an underdog, which in this case, would be the 49ers (+3.5).

The other factor to consider is how well the team you’re betting on is playing. If they’re playing well, it may be a safe bet to use them. For example, if you believe that the Bills will cover the spread against the Dolphins, it may be a solid choice because even if the game doesn’t turn out the way you expect it to, you’ll at least come out ahead based on the bet you made. If the opposite is true and the team you’re betting on is playing poorly or if the line isn’t moving in your favor, it may be better to avoid them and look for an underdog.

With all things considered, the spread is certainly a viable option and may even be the best choice in some situations. Just know that in most cases, it’s a fairly risky wager and in some instances, it can even be an outright losing proposition.