Point Spread Betting Guide
Pros and Cons of Point Spread Betting
- Balanced Odds – Unlike moneyline betting, point spread evens up the odds for each team. The favorite and the underdog are both viable options, even if there’s a significant mismatch in skill or ability.
- Variety of Sports – Point spread markets are available on the biggest US sports, including basketball, hockey, football, and baseball. Some bookmakers offer point spread betting on other sports like soccer too.
- Betting Strategy – Successful point spread betting often involves analyzing team performance and form, statistics, injuries, weather conditions, and other factors. If you like to crunch the numbers or develop your own betting strategy, point spread can be a good option.
- Lower Vig – Bookmakers typically charge lower vig on point spread betting compared to markets like props.
- Entertainment Value – Betting on the point spread can be more entertaining than simple moneyline bets, particularly in mismatched games, as the most likely outcome of the wager is less clear cut.
- Limited Returns – Odds for point spread betting are typically set at -110 for both the favorite and underdog. Some bettors may not view the potential returns as good value for money when considering the stake and risk.
- Requires More Research – If you want the best chance of winning a bet on the spread, you’ll need to put in plenty of research beforehand.
- Potential for Losses – As with any type of gambling, there’s always the risk you’ll lose money. Even if your chosen team covered the spread in their previous games, there’s a chance they could fail to do so next time. There are no guarantees in sports betting — always be sure to gamble responsibly and bet within your means!
How to Make a Point Spread Bet
If you’re ready to try a point spread bet for yourself, it’s easy to get started. Here are the steps — we’ve used FanDuel as an example.
What is ‘betting the spread’?
Betting the spread is where you’re betting on a team in a sporting event, but unlike a standard moneyline, the final score also matters. When backing the favorite, they need to ‘cover the spread’ and win by a certain number of points. If you’re betting on the underdog, they need to win the game outright or lose by less than the point spread for your bet to be successful.
What does ‘pick’ or ‘pick ‘em’ mean in point spread betting?
In point spread betting, a pick ‘em is a game where there’s no favorite — the odds of each team winning are equal and there’s no point spread (the spread is zero). All you have to do is pick the team you think will win, hence the name.
What is the ‘vig’?
Vig or juice is the bookmaker’s fee for taking your bet. The amount is usually around 3–4%. Considering the vig can be important as the payout for a bet won’t necessarily reflect the true probability of a given outcome. You can work out the vig by calculating the implied probabilities of each outcome, adding them together, and subtracting 100%.
Can I cash out a point spread bet?
Yes, you can usually cash out a point spread bet. This will be indicated on the betslip when you place your wager, and can be done from your bet summary within your sportsbook account.
Can I bet the spread on any sport?
Typically, spread betting is available on American sports and leagues such as the NBA, the NFL, the MLB, and the NHL. You might find spread betting markets on other sports, but it’s both less common and less popular.