You place a bet on a football (or any other sport for that matter) game and you make money if the spread goes in your favour. If the spread goes in the other direction, you lose your money. Simple enough, really.
But what exactly is the spread? How much does it cost you to bet on a particular side? How does it work? To find out, we need to take a look at the mathematics behind NFL betting.
The Mathematics Of NFL Betting
To begin with the basics, the spread in NFL betting is the difference in points between the two teams involved in the game. For example, if the New York Jets are playing the Buffalo Bills and the points are tied at the end of regulation, there will be no winner determined by a rule called ‘over/under’ (or simply ‘over’ for short). Instead, the game will go into overtime, where the first team to score wins.
In such a scenario, you would have a bet on the New York Jets, since they are the ones with the superior record. As a general rule, when the spread is negative, you would place a wager on the team with the superior points record. But this isn’t always the case, as you will see in a moment.
When Is The Spread Positive?
Now, you may be wondering when is the spread positive? Since we’re only interested in winning bets, let’s assume for the moment that you are correct and the game ends in a tie. In this situation, the spread is positive, and you would have made a profit on your bet. In fact, the opposite is true for when the spread is positive. In general, you would not want to bet on a team with fewer points, as this reduces your chances of winning compared to when the spread is negative.
What About When The Spread Is 0?
When the spread is 0, this simply means that both teams have the same record. In such a case, there is no clear-cut winner, as was the case with the previous example. But this scenario is rare, as most games have some sort of pointspread in them. For the sake of argument, let’s say the New York Jets are playing the Buffalo Bills and the pointspread is 0 at the end of regulation. In this case, you would not know what to do, as there is no definite winner. You would have to ask yourself, ‘Do I stick with my original pick or switch my bet to the other team?’ The answer should be obvious, but you’ll have to make the wager yourself to find out.