What Does the Spread Mean in Betting?

Back in the old days, people who liked to play the stock market would just place a small wager on the side, sometimes using paper money or coins, sometimes even using a mortar and pestle! A spread is the amount of money placed in front of, or behind, the chosen team. For example, a $2.50 wager on the New York Giants, along with a $1 wager on the Washington Redskins, results in a $4 total spread. (Remember: spreads DO add up!)

The term spread originates from the horse racing world, where people would use a track to gauge the speed of a horse. If you have a fast horse and you place a good wager, you can actually get money back from your wager, since the bookie will give you “spreads” on his horses. In other words, you’re using the speed of the horse to your advantage!

The point is, a spread in sports betting is essentially the same thing as a spread in horse racing. It’s how much money you’re willing to risk (or win) on a particular sports event.

Why Use A Spread In Sports Betting?

Why risk money on a game when you can wait a few days and watch it on TV for free? It’s not like you’re not going to see the game, you’re just going to be seeing a replay. And remember: you can always get money back that you lose!

The advantage of using a spread in sports betting is that you can use this method to hedge your bets. For example, if you feel very confident that the New York Yankees are going to win the World Series, you might think it’s a smart move to lay $5 or more on the team. But what if you don’t feel so sure about the other three teams in the AL? In that case, you could use a spread betting method and lay only a single dollar on each one of those teams!

The reason that spreads are so attractive to bettors is that they offer a level of security that isn’t present in many other betting methods. With a single betting line, if a team loses, you’re screwed. You either have to eat the loss, or you could end up losing even more money. But with a spread, if one of your picks loses, you at least have the opportunity to make some money back. And even if the other two teams you chose win, you still come out ahead!

It’s also important to note that spreads can be used in conjunction with many different betting methods. For example, you could choose to lay a single point spread on a football game, and if your favorite team wins, you get a payout of plus one point. Or, if your team loses, you lose the spread, and you have the opportunity to win some money back from the bookie (at most).

How to Calculate the Spread In Sports Betting

So, how exactly do you calculate the spread in sports betting? The first step is to figure out how much you want to risk on each of the five teams you’re choosing to wager on. As mentioned before, the general rule is 10% per team. For example, if you want to risk $100 on the New York Giants, you have to lay $10 on each of their games. To find out how much you’ll win or lose (at most), just add up all five of your teams’ totals and multiply by the amount of money you’ve risked. In our example, you’ll lose $110, but if all of your picks win, you’ll end up with a $150 return ($50 x 2 + $100).

You can also use spread betting to calculate a handicap bet. For example, the handicapper might choose to give the New York Giants a 5 handicap, which means that in order to win the bet, you have to risk 5% of your total wager, or $50. In this case, your team has to win by 7 or more points for you to come out ahead. Naturally, if they win by less than 7 points, you lose the bet. But if the Giants win by 7 or more points, you’ll end up with a $75 payout, plus whatever money you originally put down ($100 + $50 = $150).

Types of Spreads in Sports Betting

Now that you know how to calculate the spread in sports betting, you might be wondering what types of spreads there are and how they differ from each other. There are actually a few different variations of the spread, with each one having its perks and disadvantages. One of the most popular variations is the parlay bet. As the name implies, this type of spread offers you the opportunity to bet on several games at once. For example, you could choose to lay $5 on the Indianapolis Colts and the New York Jets, and if your guys win, you’ll get $10 back plus your original stake. If they both lose, you lose your original stake. And if one of the teams wins while the other loses, you’ll get your original stake back plus the winner’s portion of the pot. (In our example, you’d get $10 back plus the $5 you originally staked on the Jets and Colts.)

Another variation on the spread is the quarter line. Similar to the parlay bet, the quarter line spread allows you to lay multiple small bets on the same game. However, instead of having to choose between two teams, you have to choose between four opponents, as shown in Figure 1. (Figure 1: Quarter Line Spread)

The four teams in question in our example are the San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, and New York Giants. You can also do the quarter line spread on individual games, not just on teams. For example, you could lay $2 on the San Francisco 49ers and $1 on the Arizona Cardinals, or vice versa, for an individual game parlay. You have to decide which team you think is the most likely to cover the spread, as well as the least likely to disappoint you. Naturally, you have to be careful with this type of bet, as a team that is laying small bets against them is considered a ‘laydown’ for the day. If a team does end up being a ‘laydown’, they can’t be included in your payout, since you don’t want to risk gaining an unfair advantage. (This is the reason why you have to be careful with the quarter line spread — you never know who you’re laying down against!)

When Is It Useful To Use A Spread In Sports Betting?

When is it useful to use a spread in sports betting? That depends on you, the gambler. If you’re looking to make quick bets that you can get in and out of, without having to think too much, the answer is that you should avoid using a spread, at least not for the majority of your wagers. Instead, consider using a single betting line or the quarter line. The reason behind this is that the spread takes time to set up — you have to calculate the total points differential for all five teams, which takes time. In some cases, it takes hours to set up a spread, leaving you little time to actually place your bet. If you have a busy schedule and you want to make sure that you have enough time to place your bets before the end of the day, the best bet is to avoid using a spread and go with what you know.

When Should You Avoid Using A Spread In Sports Betting?

When should you avoid using a spread in sports betting? You should avoid it whenever possible, or at least avoid using it for the majority of your wagers. The key reason behind this is that the spread takes time to set up, and in today’s world, time is something that you’re not usually in abundance of. If possible, get in a few early bets before the end of the day, using a single betting line or the quarter line. This will leave you with enough time to back out of the bets that didn’t work out, while still being able to collect on the ones that did. (It’s also important to note that if you get burned by a few bad bets that used a spread, you’re going to get kicked out of the casino — what fun is that?)

Now, in some cases, a spread can be beneficial. For example, if you feel that one of the five teams you’ve chosen is going to be an absolute blowout, you might consider using a spread, as this will make it easier for you to profit. For example, let’s say that you’re feeling particularly lucky and you think that the undefeated Carolina Panthers are going to beat the Denver Broncos by a lot. In this case, you could do better than using a traditional single betting line, since you’ll have an opportunity to profit from the sheer volume of points that the Panthers are going to score. (As an added bonus, you get to enjoy the feeling of a truly lucky person!)