The Point Spread, sometimes referred to as the line, is the bookmakers way of ensuring that two teams are more equal at the start of the game. By doing this they can increase interest in betting on the game – for example in a game where there is a heavy favourite many gamblers may choose not to bet as the rewards are miniscule, where as with a spread you always ensure both teams are more evenly matched.
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A point spread bet is a bet in which each team is rated according to how many points they should win or lose a game by. A point spread of +7, for example, would mean that in order to win a bet, the team you bet on would need to win by 7 points or lose by less than 7 (which would appear as a win in the final tally)
In a match the team expected to win the game gets the points spread taken away, and will have a minus sign before the spread figure. The team expected to be weaker would get the points added to their score. It is important to remember when placing a spread bet that the addition or removal of points only happens for one team – IE on a points spread of 7 you would either take 7 points away from the favourite OR add 7 points to the weaker team – not both.
When it comes to spread bets you may also hear the term “ATS”. This acronym stands for “Against The Spread” and refers to any spread bet made.
For example in a match between the Detroit Lions and the Washington Redskins the spread is placed at Lions -7 Redskins +7. This means the bookmaker believes the Lions are strong enough to beat the Redskins by 7 or more points. If you place a bet on the Redskins, then they would get 7 points added to the final match score. Let’s look at some different results and how they would result in a bet on the Redskins.
Lions 23-7 Redskins
Adding 7 points to the Redskins makes this 23-14 and they still lose – bet is lost.
Lions 14-11 Redskins
Adding 7 points to the Redskins makes this 14-18 and they win – bet is won.
Lions 21-14 Redskins
Adding 7 points to the Redskins makes this 21-21 and they tie – the bet is pushed. In this case you will usually have your stake returned.
Points spread bets are often combined between a number of matches in a points spread parlay. This is a number of bets over a series of matches where your winnings can be dramatically increased, though the risk is increased too.
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Additional Point Spread Bets Questions:
Say I bet Eagles -4.5 and they win by 5. What is my result of this game?
Lets say it was Eagles vs the Redskins. What you would do with the final score is simply take away the 4.5 points from the Eagles. So if the game ended 30-25 which meant the Eagles won by 5, we’d take away 4.5 and the final score would be Eagles 25.5-25, so the Eagles would win which means your bet would win. Also if in the same situation you bet the Redskins +4.5, the final score would be 30-29.5 so the Redskins bet would lose.
Say I bet the Bears -6.5 and they win by 6. What is my result of this game?
I assume this would be in reference to the Bears vs Lions game that took place on Monday, October 22nd 2012.
The final score of that game was Detroit Lions 7-13 Chicago Bears.
You bet the Bears to cover -6.5. So you have to take 6.5 away from final Chicago Bears score.
13 – 6.5 = 6.5.
So the final score would be Detroit Lions 7 Chicago Bears 6.5, meaning that the Bears have lost the game, and thus not covered the spread.
The answer to the question What Is A Point Spread Bet? is also applicable for the following questions: