What is a + Spread in Betting?

A + Spread betting is the type of ‘spread’ betting that allows for the possibility of both winning and losing with a single wager. This form of betting gives you the opportunity to diversify your investments while maintaining some control over the outcome. The + symbol is often used in sports books as a representation of the ‘plus spread’, but it can also appear in other forms of betting, such as casino gambling or poker betting.


One of the main attractions of a + Spread betting platform is that they offer so many features and tools to make your life as a bettor easier. Some of the tools include advanced statuses that help you get an edge over the house, as well as various historical databases that can be searched by player, team, or event. You can use watchlists to track the games and players you want to follow, and get notifications when a team or player you’re watching scores or makes a catch.


A significant downside to a + Spread betting platform is that the houses can be very high-rolling, and that can make for some pretty expensive entertainment. The margins are also sometimes incredibly small, which means that the profit margins for individual games can be low. In addition, the high volatility of sport results means that most sportsbooks don’t provide much in the way of value, since they need to constantly adjust their lines to maintain profitability.

On the other hand, the lack of fixed odds – particularly in roulette games – can mean that the house edge is greater than it would be in other forms of betting. And while the cost of entering a game is usually quite low, losing money in a casino is not. All of these things have to be factored into consideration if you decide to participate in this type of betting.

How Does It Work?

If you’re not familiar, a sportsbook provides betting on sporting events, with lines set by the house for the various games. When you make a wager on a game, the sportsbook will add a spread to your wager, meaning that the total you’re playing for will be greater than the final score of the game. For example, if the spread on an NBA game is +3, that means you’re playing for +9 points. The bettor wins if the game ends up being a score greater than or equal to the spread, and loses if the game ends up being less than the spread. This type of betting is also called ‘accumulator betting’ because you’re technically accumulating the total of the spread.

While it is possible to win or lose money based on the total alone, the probability of doing so is small. You’re typically wagering on single games, with the expectation that the average game will result in profit – if you do in fact win. Since each game has a different result probability, you can find the mathematical expectation of profit or loss based on the number of games you play. For example, if you bet $100 on a $10 game and it ends up winning, you’ll earn $110. This is because you technically won $10, but your original $100 stake was multiplied by the game’s winning probability (which in this case is 1.10, meaning you won 10% of your original stake).

Similarly, if you bet $100 on a $10 game and it ends up losing, you’ll lose $90 because you lost $10 on a game with a probability of 0.90, which is 90% – your original $100 stake was halved by the game’s losing probability.

Nowadays, smart sportsbooks utilize the + Spread betting format to gain an edge over the opposition. They will often use a form of statistical analysis known as ‘integrated probability analysis’ to determine the exact winning percentages for teams and players, and to come up with an edge that can’t be accounted for by simply adding up the scores at the end of each game. The advantage of this method is that the numbers are often available in real time, so you can take advantage of whatever edge that presents itself in the moment.

Why is it Popular?

One of the main reasons why + Spread betting is such a popular option among sportsbooks is that it’s a relatively easy way to make money. Since you’re not relying solely on the results of any given game, you’re less likely to be affected by the actions of a particular team or player in any given game. This makes it easier for the sportsbook to set their lines, since they don’t need to factor in the possible impact that certain results could have, and can simply react to changes in scoring as they occur during the game.

It is also relatively easy for bettors to gain an understanding of + Spread betting. Unlike many forms of betting, where you’re often required to do significant research into the odds and statistics of individual games or teams, in the case of a plus spread, you just need to know how to calculate the mathematical expectation of profit or loss.

The History Of + Spread

The first recorded instance of ‘plus’ being used in reference to a spread betting was in 1897, in a report from the New York Times on a night of Princeton v Penn state football. The line for the game was +3, and as mentioned above, the basic principle behind the plus spread is that you’re playing for an amount greater than the sum of the individual scores. However, the term ‘plus’ wasn’t used in a sports context until around 1920, when the New York Yankees defeated the New York Giants by a score of 12-21 in a baseball game. The game was played under a taut canvas in front of a sold-out crowd at New York’s Polo Grounds, and the line had been set to favor the home crowd. The winning team was given an hour to celebrate, after which the players were requested to leave the field so it could be repaired. As the last batter stepped up to the plate, the umpire called for a time-out and then proclaimed, “Play ball!”. The headline the following day declared, “Yanks Win As Score Leads To Tie,” and the story went on to say, “The New York Times confirmed the 12-12 tie with the Yankees’ victory in the fourteenth inning on a drive by Robinson that ended the game. The tying run was an inbound ball that landed in front of the left-field stands.”

After this historic event, the use of the ‘plus’ symbol in a sports context began to gain popularity, and today, it’s commonly seen on betting slips and in sports books. Some sources suggest that the first baseball game to feature the plus symbol was the 1927 World Championship, between the Yankees and the Giants. There are also several instances of the plus sign being used in reference to poker in the 1930s and 1940s, mostly in films and on television. One of the first instances in a TV show was in the 1954 episode of “Maverick,” starring Gene Kelly, in which a +2 spread is clearly labeled on a poker table as the mark of a professional.

The use of the plus symbol in poker is especially interesting, given that in many cases, it appears to have originated from the garment industry. In the mid-1800s, sporting coats with velvet collars were highly fashionable, and the use of the plus sign in reference to a shirt collar was first recorded in 1867. Some sources suggest this was simply a coincidence, and that the ‘plus’ symbol was originally used just to indicate the addition of a collar to a coat.

While the use of the ‘plus’ symbol is now commonplace in all types of betting, the first instance of it appearing in reference to a spread bet was in 1921, in a book titled “Handbook of Baseball Betting,” which was written by Monty Wooley. According to this publication, the first recorded use of the term ‘spread’ in a sporting context was in the 1919 Michigan-Penn State football game. The game was played under cold conditions, and one of the rules at the time dictated that neither team could score in the first half. This was a problem for the Penn State Nittany Lions, who were trailing by six points at the end of the first half and came up with a solution on their own. They called for a two-minute stop-clock with a 30-second period added on at the end. This gave them a chance to win the game in the second half. The Lions went on to win the game 49-0.