You’ve probably heard of the spread. Maybe you’ve even seen it online. The spread is how sportsbooks in the United States divide the point spread into American football and basketball, or how they set the odds on college football and basketball games. The spread is usually shown in sportsbooks as an asterisk, or a plus sign next to the teams’ names on the board. For example, if the Indianapolis Colts are playing the New York Giants in football, the sportsbook will set the spread at IND – NYG = 5 points.
If you’re new to sports betting, you might not know what spread means, and that’s okay. You’re not alone. Many people wonder what spread means, as well. The answer is simple. It’s point spread added to one half of the number of points that head to head would give you in a straight up win.
Using Las Vegas odds as an example, take the Indianapolis Colts versus New York Giants AFC matchup from earlier. If you were to simply add up the odds on Indy to beat NYG, you’d get 4.19. Now, add the 5 points that the sportsbook is offering on the spread to get a total of 9.19. Similarly, if you were to take the under on the total number of points scored in the game, you’d win $100.
To further explain, let’s take a look at an example in NBA action.
How Do Spreads Work In The NBA?
In the NBA, the spread is usually shown next to the points scored by the two teams. The points scored by the Mavericks and the Rockets are -2, so their spread is -2. Their total number of points adds up to 6, so the half-point spread is -2.5. This means the Mavericks are paying -2.5 points to win, and the Rockets are receiving the same -2.5 points against them.
For this particular matchup, if you were to lay $101 on the Hawks to win, you’d win $200. On the other hand, if you were to back the Mavericks, you’d win $100.
Keep in mind that in the NBA, half-point and full-point spreads apply only to games that have a specified number of minutes left to play. For games that are time expired, the spread is merely the total number of points scored by the two teams.
To conclude this section, let’s look at one last example to make certain that you understand the basics of this type of betting.
More On The Spread
Last but not least, we have the 2008 NFC Championship Game. The Packers are playing the Bears, and it’s a pretty big game. It’s snowing, too, so the game will be played on Sunday in Green Bay. All the lines opened with the Packers at -10 and the Bears at +7. If you were to back the Packers, you’d win $100; if you were to lay the Bears, you’d win $200. If the game were to end in a tie, both teams would win based on the total number of points scored (28). Of course, none of this would happen, because the Bears would defeat the Packers 37-20 in one of the greatest upset of all time.
As you can see, the spread is a very useful tool in sports betting. It can be applied to almost all sports, and it’s easy to use. When applying the spread in betting, simply add the points scored by the two teams and subtract half the total from the odds of the team you’re backing. For example, take the Atlanta Falcons versus New York Giants NFC Championship Game from earlier. The Falcons are at +3, and the Giants are at -3 – so the spread is -6. If you were to back the Falcons, you’d win $100, while laying the Giants would win you $200. You’d only win $150 on the over, though, because the total number of points scored is 28, and 28 – 6 is 22.
Hopefully, this article has helped you understand what spread means and how it’s used in sports betting. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave us a comment below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.