Sports Betting 101: What is a point spread? - Metro US

Sports Betting 101: What is a point spread?

Joel Embiid Karl-anthony Towns
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Point Spreads


The point spread is another form of betting odds that’s very similar to a moneyline bet. The difference is that in addition to predicting who will win the game, the point spread includes a margin of victory. In certain cases—such as in college basketball and college football—there is a huge discrepancy in talent between the two teams playing. In those cases, betting the moneyline is too obvious, because it is clear that one team will beat the other. That’s when the point spread comes into play, as the oddsmakers will set a line where there is a margin of victory.

For example, imagine that two teams, the Knicks and 76ers, are facing each other. The Knicks may have odds of +22.5 while the Sixer’s odds are -22.5. In this case, the Sixers are favored to win. Just like in the moneyline bet, the negative sign before the number indicates who is expected to win. The number represents the expected margin of victory. if you bet on the Sixers, you need them to win by more than 22.5 points for you to cover your bet. That means they need to win the game by 23 points or more. If you bet on The Knicks, that means they can lose by 22 points or less, or win the game, and you still win your bet. It’s a way of evening the playing field, even if one team is highly favored to win over the other.

If, during the actual game, the margin of victory lands exactly on the spread, it is called a push or a tie, and no one wins the bet

Point spreads will also have moneyline odds attached. Just like in a moneyline bet, this number indicates what the payout will be in the case of a win. For example, the spread and odds for the Sixers might be (-22.5, -120). This means that the Sixers are favored to win by more than 22.5 points. If you were to make this bet and the Sixers did win by 23 points or more, and you bet $120 on the game, then you would win $100.



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