Whether you’re a college football fan or professional ice hockey, betting is one of the most exciting ways to enjoy your favorite sports. However, backing the moneyline week in and week out can get a little old after a while. That’s why so many bettors are looking for a new way to get behind their team. 

A point spread levels the playing field when it comes to betting, meaning you can bet on even the most unlikely underdogs. If you want to learn more about point spread betting, keep reading this page. We cover what a point spread is and some top tips for becoming a successful spread bettor.

How Point Spread Betting Works

You only need to consider the odds you are getting with most bet types. However, with a point spread, you also have to consider the spread offered by sportsbooks like Betway. The spread tells you how much your team has to win by or how much it can lose by, depending on whether you back the underdog or favorite.

Betting on the Favorite

  • The favorite is indicated by a (-) symbol next to its odds. This is separate from the number and symbol of its odds.
  • A point spread applies an imaginary deficit to the favorite.
  • If you bet on a favorite with the point spread, the team must score a certain amount of points and win.
  • You lose if your team wins but doesn’t cover the point spread. 

Typically, you will see a higher point spread in games where the favorite is expected to win easily.

Betting on the Underdog 

  • The underdog is indicated with a (+). Unlike other types of betting, the underdog in a point spread may have odds with a (-) symbol.
  • This team can lose within a certain number of points for your bet to be successful.
  • This team can also win the game.

Sportsbooks will offer a more significant point spread on the underdog when a team is heavily outmatched.

Point Spread Hooks

Many point spread bets will have a hook, where the point spread will include a half. This prevents ties, where an exact score means no one wins the point spread. For example, you’ll often see spreads like -7.5 at sportsbooks like BetRivers. As we explained above, the (-) symbol indicates that this team is the favorite and must win the game. The 7.5 tells you that the team needs to score eight points for your wager to win. 

However, some sportsbooks will offer exact point spreads like +7. If this is the case, and the team you bet on scores precisely three points, you will get your bet back. This is called a push. 

Best Tips for Point Spread Betting

The whole point of a point spread is to get bettors to back both sides of an event. You want bettors to wager on both players if it is a tennis game. Likewise, you want equal bets on both teams if it is a football game. This way, the sportsbook always makes a profit, no matter the game’s outcome. However, you can also use this to make smart point spread bets.  

Point spreads will drift before a game starts to keep that 50/50 spread of wagers, with factors like injuries and team news having a significant impact. However, the biggest thing that influences a point spread is public opinion. This is where you can find your advantage.

If the public is writing off a team, but the stats show it is performing better than people think, you will often find a valuable point spread. Likewise, people may jump on the bandwagon of an NBA team on a good run, but stats may illustrate the side hasn’t been that impressive. This can help you find the shocks and place more winning bets. 

Point Spread Betting Summary

in 2018, the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), and states have been able to legalize sports betting like point spreads since then. There are dozens of US states where you can place point spreads on the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA. You may even be able to lay college sports point spreads in some jurisdictions. 

When you place your own point spreads, here are the key things to remember:

  • Remember, the point spread is heavily influenced by public perception and not the strength of a team.
  • Look for potential misjudgments and favorable point spreads. 
  • The ‘Home-turf advantage’ is worth around three points with most sportsbooks – so home teams may get a point spread advantage, even if those teams don’t play well. This is another opportunity to find point spreads more likely to win.

Sign up with one of the best US sportsbooks, claim a welcome bonus, and start placing point spreads on your favorite sports today!