What is a Point Spread?

What is a point spread?

The margin assigned by oddsmakers that is factored into the final score of a wager, either added to the score of the underdog team, or subtracted from the favored team's score. 


Minnesota is a 4.5-point favorite over Miami. This means if you place a straight bet on Minnesota, they will need to win by five points or more for your wager to be a winner. If you chose Miami, they would need to lose by four points or fewer — or for Miami to outright win — for your wager to win.

Tips for betting on point spreads

Take advantage of bonus offers

One way to make money from sports betting is to open an account at an online betting site and take advantage of their sign up bonus. You can also take advantage of promotions that are always happening. For example, WynnBET offers a Win Hour, which is typically reduced juice (-105 odds) on point spreads on given games for an hour every Thursday. Make sure you are taking advantage of such offers!

Understand line movement

Lines are always moving in sports betting, and especially the spread. Oddsmakers will move said line based on number of bets or total handle or sometimes just injury news. If you have a good read on where the line might be moving ahead of time, it could allow you to get the best of the number.

Understand key numbers

Along the lines of getting the best of the number, understanding key numbers is essential to betting on point spreads. In NFL football, most games are decided by three or seven points. Therefore, when shopping the odds, the difference between -7.0 and -6.5 is far greater than the difference between -5.5 and -5.0.

Certain games are priced differently than risking $1.10 to win $1.00 (which is called -110 odds). For example, you might see the Seahawks priced at -105 and +7 in a game against the Rams. Now, you only have to risk $1.05 to win $1.00. This is better odds, but they could lose by exactly seven to result in a push. As such, taking -110 and +7.5 might be the better play.

Understanding all of this can improve your chances of being a profitable longterm bettor.

Calculate your own spread before looking at lines

You don't have to be an expert in math to take a guess at what a line might be in an upcoming football game. If you make a guess before seeing the line, and the number ends up being off, then that might mean it is worth betting on that game. Read into matchups, of course, but doing your homework before seeing the line could be very beneficial in the long run.

Benefits to betting on point spreads

Can bet on teams that might lose

If it weren’t for point spreads, you wouldn’t ever bet on a team that you think is going to lose. But getting points, and potentially a lot of them, can be enticing enough to make a wager. This could be for entertainment purposes or just because you think a team is going to play better than the betting line might suggest.

Easier to understand value

When you are betting on the moneyline, it can be a bit difficult to determine if a team at +200 is a value or not. But point spreads make it easier to gauge the value of an underdog. Points are a metric that we all regularly use and understand. This makes it much easier to determine if a pick has value or not in a given game.

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