Understanding Point Spread

Most bettors, those who are defined by TheFreeDictionary.com as someone who places bets on sports, don’t really understand how a point spread works or why it’s used instead of the money line system. Most sports offer both though. Point spread can be difficult to understand and betting can’t really be done efficiently if you don’t understand it completely. The way of betting isn’t really the way to go if you are interested in betting on the team that will win the game, this method is used to bring in bets for both teams and provide bookies with a profit.


It’s important for the odds maker to do a proper job when setting the spread. If bets are place with the same amount of people for each team with different amounts the idea of a spread didn’t really go according to plan. Bookies need the spread to be placed in such a way that the bets are split. Betting becomes rather technical when you look at how bookies work. They expect the spread to outsmart the smart bettors and place bets that is different to the public. This is because bookies know the public bettors are a lot more likely to return their bets on another game even if they win, which means they are making money. Bookies are also very smart when creating the odds that you will be able to win. With a game where a $110 bet is required to win $100 and the amounts for each team is very close the bookies are guaranteed a profit. For example; if a total of $33,000 is bet on either team the bookies are happy became a $3,000 profit is made. This almost never happens, but has before, people who have bet on the winning team still make a good profit, but because $110 is required to win $100 the bookie will make $10 for every bet placed on the losing team.

Getting to the point spread and how it works. As you know by now the point spread has been designed to provide an even betting opportunity for players of both teams. The odds maker and bookies will come up with a number that the spread will be set at. In this example I will use a spread of 5 points, which might be a little unrealistic, but will help you understand how the spread method works. We will call the teams A and B. Team A is favored as they have a better track record and have won more games than team B. For this reason team A will have a spread of -5. Team bet is the underdog and will receive a spread of +5.

All bets will be taken and the game will begin. Once the game is over, the total scores will obviously be seen, which in this case we will use 11-5 to team A being the winners. Those who bet on team A will now apply the -5, which means the total score is now 6-5. Team A still wins the game and those players will win their bets. If the score was 9-5 to the A team and 5 was subtracted from the score it would be 4-5, which means team B would be winners. The same thing applies to those who placed a bet on the underdogs. Instead of subtracting, they will add to they team score they bet on.

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