Point spread bets come second to moneyline wagers as the most popular sports bet. Point spread bets will be essential to any winning betting strategy, whether you are a sharp expert who crushes books or a new bettor. Some professional bettors use point spreads exclusively to create their winning designs.
This guide will walk you through the steps to understanding point spreads and making point spread bets. We hope you’ll start to make a profit from them. We will begin by providing some basic information to novice bettors. This includes what a spread bet is, the steps involved in making one, the payouts they usually offer, and the advantages of using this type of wager.
We’ll then discuss some advanced and basic strategies for betting point spreads aimed at the more experienced sports bettors. This article will be helpful to you regardless of your level of skill.
We recommend reading the entire guide if you are new to sports betting or have yet to do it. Each section builds on the information from the previous areas. If you are a seasoned bettor looking for specific information, you can skip to the team you want or go to the bottom to see the point-spread betting strategies.
Let’s dive into the world of point-spread betting.
What is a Point Spread Bet?
We must ensure that all readers fully understand a point-spread bet and how it works. You can bet on a point spread by choosing the team that will outperform its expected performance. Since they cannot write “5 or 6,” they think the Dolphins will win by 5.5. The Jaguars will lose 5.5 points if they believe the Dolphins will win by 5.5. A team can’t win a game with fewer points than the team that lost the game. It can be challenging to understand when there is much new information.
The plus sign is in front of one team’s point spread, while the minus sign is on the other. The Jaguars are the underdog, and the Dolphins are the favorite. As we have already mentioned, the number following that is how many points a sportsbook believes each team to be a famous (or underdog).
The Dolphins would be the winners by 5.5 points if the game went exactly as predicted by the sportsbook. There are no half-points in NFL football. So, it will either be 5 or 6. We’ll briefly discuss why half points are used in the end spreads.
To win a point-spread bet, bet on an underperformer. Does this mean that the team must win? Nope! You win your bet if the team does better than the line predicted. You can bet against a losing team and still win the point spread. A team can win their game and still lose your point spread bet.
The Dolphins will win by 5.5. Since they cannot win by half a point, you will win if the Dolphins win by 6 points or more. What if the team wins by less than 5 points? If they lose the game, you will also lose your bet. You will lose your chance if they lose because they have underperformed.
What about the Jaguars? They are expected to lose by 5.5. What if the team loses by 5 points instead of 5.5? You would win your bet if they outperformed what the point spread predicted. You will win if they lose by five points or less. If they win, you will win your bet because their performance is way above what the point spread predicted.
Let’s discuss why sportsbooks use half-points in their point spreads. The sportsbook does this to ensure that one side of the bet wins. The possibility of a draw increases if the space is changed to 6 or 5 instead of 5 1/2. If the Dolphins beat the line by two field goals and the point spread is 6 points, the bet becomes a tie, and everyone gets their money back.
The casino doesn’t like this because they will lose money on the bet. When necessary, you will see whole numbers lines. However, the sportsbook prefers half-point lines.
A point spread bet is as simple as that! It’s as simple as that. You bet on the team you think will perform better than their predictions. Next, we will discuss how point spread betting is paid out and how to determine your potential winnings.
Point Spread Movement
Let’s discuss how and why the sportsbook earns money. Remember from our discussion of moneyline wagers that the sportsbook alters the payouts to get the desired amount of cash on each side. The sportsbook wants to make money regardless of who wins.
Who wins if the sportsbook receives $500 on the Dolphins and another $500 on the Jaguars doesn’t matter. They will pay out the Jaguar bets if the Dolphins win. The Jaguars will play the Dolphins their best chances if they are victorious. Then they will deduct a small amount from the winnings to cover their costs.
The sportsbook wants to achieve this. Not all bets will come in equally on both sides. Sportsbooks must do what they can to encourage or discourage betting as necessary to get the action they want. They do this with moneyline bets by changing payouts. They will change the payouts if they increase the bets on one team. Moneyline chances do not care how many points the team wins. They only care that they win.
As you’ll see in the following section, point spread bets rarely change payouts. They alter the fact spread to encourage or discourage bets on either side. Let’s say, for example, that the Dolphins are getting all the attention, and the bookie needs to get more money on the Jaguars to balance things out.
The Jaguars’ line will also be adjusted from +5.5 to +6.5 when they change the Dolphins’ line to -6. You can still bet on the Jags even if they lose by 6 points. Hopefully, this will encourage more action on the other side. If the shift in the line does not produce the desired result, it will move further until it does. It will change direction if the result is too high. This will continue until the bets are closed to ensure that the sportsbook gets equal money for each side.
This could create unique opportunities to get better lines if you can accurately predict point spread movements. In the strategy section, we will go into more detail about this.
Calculate and understand the payouts on point spreads.
After we have covered the basics, let’s move on to the fun part – how much you will get paid if you pick the correct winner. Spread bets are great because they pay out precisely the same no matter which team you choose to bet on. This is because the sportsbook only moves the line to increase action on either side of the wager. The point spread is already being changed, so there’s no need to change the payout.
Use point spread bets to your advantage.
We want to ensure you understand why point spreads are an essential part of a winning strategy for sports betting.
Betting on teams you think will lose.
Spread bets are essential for intelligently betting on a team you believe will lose. You’re out of luck if you think a team has been dramatically underestimated but will still lose. Spread bets allow you to bet on teams you are confident will lose.
This is a great way to entertain yourself. You have a team you like that is losing most of its games. Now you can place bets on your favorite team without burning through money. This is also great for profit. You can predict and spot trends in couples who aren’t always successful. You may be a master at spotting problems in a group and analyzing their progress.
Spread bets give you the flexibility to make money on predictions. You may have seen someone in a bar cheering on a team who was too far behind to win by a few points. This person was either a die-hard fan or someone betting the spread.
Easy to understand the value
It cannot be easy to tell with your naked eye if a moneyline bet is worth it when picking the winners. Is +200 a good value? You can tell if a team is worth betting on based on its odds if you are a sports bettor with experience or have complex formulas. What about the people who like to trust their guts and feel more?
This is possible with point-spread bets. You may not know if +200 represents a good or bad line, but you can tell if +4.5 is a good line. We all use and understand points. It is much easier to quickly see the value and use our gut instinct when making picks.
Point Spread Betting Strategies
Now that we’ve covered all the basics, it’s time for strategy. It’s all about being able to spot value and pick winners. But it would help if you remembered a few tips and tricks when making your choices.
Predict and exploit line movement.
When you bet, you know the value of an extra half-point or even a whole point. It could mean the difference between winning or losing. Ask a sports book employee or a sports bettor if half a moment can make a difference. They will tell hundreds of stories about bets they lost because of a half-point.
It would help if you looked for every opportunity to grab an extra half-point or more. You can do this by predicting the direction of the lines and then deciding whether to bet right away, wait until the line moves more in your favor, or not bet at any time. That line is yours once you place a bet on a point spread.
Track the lines throughout the week before a specific game. See if you start to notice trends or reasons for the lines moving. Lines will often move in response to news or public opinion. Injury, suspensions, and weather can also significantly impact the movement of lines. You can find a suitable betting opportunity if you see a line moving for a reason you don’t believe is legitimate.
Calculate your spread predictions before looking at lines.
Before you even look at the lines:
- Make your point spread bets.
- Calculate the spread for the games you are interested in betting on.
- Compare the distances to those of the sportsbook. You should only bet if you find lines in your favor or even more.
Many bettors make the mistake of letting what sportsbooks offer as odds affect their opinion. You may miss out on value or talk yourself into a bet you saw. This can be avoided by hiding the lines in the book before placing your own. If a line does not look good at first, you will know the movement you need to see in your favor before making a smart bet.
The Public and the Sharps
Some trends in line movement occur pretty frequently in high-profile games. The public tends to bet heavily on the favorites in the last week before the game. Remember that “late week” is the time right before the game. This refers to a few days before the game if it is played earlier in the week.
If you want to bet on the underdog, it’s best to wait until the end of the week. The odds will change as the betting volume on the favorite increases. This is to encourage more bets on the underdog, which you are interested in. You should get the same chance with the same spread even if the odds do not change. If, for some odd reason, it goes in the opposite direction, you can wait and bet on the next game. You have plenty of opportunities to gamble, so you only need to force yourself if your only goal is entertainment.
If you see significant changes in the line early on in the week, it is likely that these bettors are sharp and are wagering substantial amounts of money. From a strategic standpoint, this will let you know which side the smart money has chosen. You can sometimes still jump aboard with them to get some value. But, other times, the value is gone by the point they change the line. Based on your opinion of where the value begins and ends on a wager, you will need to decide this on a case-by-case basis.
Double down on good moves.
You may recall that we stated you would be locked into a specific point spread after you placed your wager. You can still remember a second wager if you feel confident the line will move further in your favor.