If you follow sports betting, then you are undoubtedly aware of the phrase “against the spread”. The phrase signifies that the winning team will win the game by a certain score or less than a certain score. For example, if a team is favored to win a game by three touchdowns, you can bet (either legally or illegally) that they will cover the spread and win by three.
The reason why you will hear this phrase used so frequently is that bookies (the people who make wagers on sporting events) are always looking to cut their losses. If a bookmaker knows that a certain team is heavily favored to win, they will often take that into account when making their wager. When that team wins by a score that was not expected by the bookmaker, they will be forced to eat some serious (and often unexpected) wagering-related loss.
There are some instances where the line moves so dramatically that even the best odds-makers can’t keep up. When this happens, the phrase “against the spread” no longer has any real significance. For example, consider the 2002 Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs were heavy favorites to beat the New York Jets that afternoon in Kansas City. The line for the game was Kansas City -7.5 and the oddsmakers were fully aware of this. The Jets beat the Chiefs 20-3 and the phrase “against the spread” lost all meaning when applied to that game.
The Meaning of “Against the Spread” During a Sports Season
Although “against the spread” has somewhat of a negative connotation due to the way it is sometimes used by sports bettors, it actually has a fairly positive meaning. The phrase can be used to describe two very different situations. The first and most common use of the phrase is in regards to the standings of one or more teams in an athletic conference or tournament.
Let’s say, for example, that you are a big Alabama fan and the Crimson Tide are in the middle of an exciting college football season. You might be interested in making some wagers on the team during the season, so you check the Odds Shark website to see what results they have calculated for the upcoming games. You discover that Alabama is a -2.5 favorite to win the Iron Bowl against the rival Auburn Tigers on November 27th. This game will almost certainly end up being televised, so you decide to make a wager on the game knowing that you will be able to verify whether or not your pick will be considered a success. Of course, you also have to consider the fact that you will be losing money if the Tigers win the game. So you decide to risk it on Alabama.
After the game is over, you will discover that your pick was not only verified, but the Crimson Tide won by a score of 34-33. This is exactly what you wanted to happen and you will feel pretty good about having made the right wager. It is also worth noting here that if the Tigers had not forced a turnover on an interception return for a touchdown by their defense, the score could have ended up being much closer than it actually was.
The Meaning of “Against the Spread” In Relation to Handicapping
The second and less common use of “against the spread” is in regards to handicapping a game. Unlike the previous example, in this case the teams are not in any sort of conference or tournament. Instead, two teams of approximately equal strength are pitted against each other and the winner is determined by how well they do against the spread. This is sometimes referred to as handicapping because you are taking one or more aspects of a game (such as favorite and/or over/under) and using them to determine the outcome of a contest, but in this case you are not playing for money. Instead, you are playing with your own personal opinions about how well the teams will perform.
For example, let’s say that you are a big Miami University (Ohio) RedHawks fan. The Miami RedHawks were 26-point underdogs in their game against the Wisconsin Badgers that afternoon in 2011. You have followed the RedHawks all year, so you know that this is the type of team that you like to handicap. After the game, you discover that even though Miami had been outplayed by the much higher-ranked Badgers, they prevailed in the end and won by a score of 10-7. In this case, you clearly did not bet on the over, but you also did not bet on the under. Instead, you went with the upset and you feel that you were right about Wisconsin being overrated. As a result, you were able to reconcile the loss of a couple of dollars with your good fortune in seeing an underdog emerge victorious.
Where Do I Bet?
If you are wondering where you should bet when using “against the spread”, the answer is quite simple. You should bet on the teams and events that you know are going to end in a certain manner. If the game is obvious (such as the New York Giants vs the Dallas Cowboys), then you know that the underdog is going to win, so you can place a wager on them. If you are not sure which team will win, then you can use the opposite strategy and take the favorite in order to win some money. Remember, however, that you are not guaranteed to win when using this strategy. You are just giving the appearance of being more skillful than the bookies (and your fellow bettors) believe that you are.
What Are The Most Popular Games to Bet On?
This is strictly a matter of opinion, but the most popular games to bet on using “against the spread” are typically close, low-scoring games between teams that you believe have a good chance of winning. If you are unfamiliar with a certain team or game, then you should look for ones that are close in terms of the number of points that they will score. You should also try to avoid betting on events that have a large number of participants because the bigger the pool, the more difficult it is to accurately pick the winner. It is always easier to get a good feel for a game by looking at video of it, so if you have access to the internet, you should do your best to find footage of as many games as possible. This will help you get a better sense of how the games play out and give you a better understanding of which teams are most likely to win. If you do not have access to the internet, then you can still find plenty of pro football games through online streaming services such as Hulu or Amazon Prime video, as long as you are willing to pay for the service.
As a rule of thumb, if you want to make money at sports betting, then you should avoid spreading your wagers too far apart. This limits the possible winning combinations and makes it easier for the house to calculate their winnings. If you are using the internet to place your bets, then you should avoid doing this either because it slows down the process for the sites that you are using. On the subject of win probabilities, sometimes it is better to under-bet than to over-bet. In other words, you shouldn’t necessarily always go with the favorite, but you should know that sometimes it is better to take a chance on the underdog. With that being said, sometimes it is better to stay away from games and odds that you do not understand because the house advantage is sometimes dangerously high.