What Is a Point-Spread Betting?
Wilson Auma Content Writer

7 minutes to read

What Is a Point-Spread Betting?

For betting fans, the point spread is one of the most widely used sports betting strategies. The number that the bookmakers determine as the actual winning margin is called the point spread. To win your wager, your chosen team must either cover or exceed that margin.

Let’s examine this betting strategy in more detail for those of you who are unfamiliar with it.

Betting Terminology

Betting Terminology BetPawa

Knowledge of terms used in betting and their meaning is paramount for placing successful bets. Let us explain some terms required for placing point spread bets.

What Is Point Spread

A point spread bet is a wager on the team or player that, in accordance with a certain margin, will win the match or game. Since no two teams or players are equally skilled, oddsmakers use a point spread to calculate the difference between the favorite and the underdog in a given match. There will be positive points for the underdog and negative points for the favorite.

The points will be added to your team’s final score if you are taking the underdog, and this will determine the winner of your wager. The final score of your team will be deducted from the points you’re choosing the favorite to determine the result of your wager. Your bet pushes, and your wager is returned if, after your points are added or subtracted, the score is a tie.

How It Works

If bets are placed correctly and in a smart manner, spread betting can result in significant profits. However, most punters achieve success only after years of experience and the development of a wagering strategy. Even in this case, a lot of punters fail, and only a tiny portion succeed.

Let us explain how these bets work by means of an example. For example, a game between Las Vegas Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs. 

  • Las Vegas Raiders: +4.5
  • Kansas City Chiefs: -4,5

The ‘+’ or ‘-‘ sign should be the first thing you notice. The plus sign means that the other team can win the game and cover the spread, even if they lose by that margin. The minus sign means that the other team has to win by a margin greater than that.

Using this as an illustration, the Chiefs are at -4.5. This implies that Kansas City would have to win the game by a margin of at least five points to win on the point spread. Las Vegas, on the other hand, is marked as a 4.5-point underdog. This implies that the Raiders will cover the spread whether they win by a single digit or lose by four, three, two, or one point. 

“Pick Em” and “Pick”

“Pick Em” and “Pick” BetPawa

In a pick’em wager, there isn’t a definite favorite or underdog. The sportsbook that established the line believes that neither side has a distinct advantage. It will appear as PK, pick, or pick’em in the betting line where the spread would typically be. 

Pick’em is a common spread strategy used in professional and collegiate football and basketball. Most college football, NBA, NFL, and college basketball games will have a spread, and some might even be pick’ems.

Odds in Point Spread

For a plethora of sporting events, the top sports betting sites hire experts to set the lines and odds. There’s a reason why there are not many professional oddsmakers. It is a challenging subject that calls for a deep comprehension of many qualitative and quantitative factors.

Sports with lower scoring averages, such as baseball and soccer, have odds on point spread bets that are significantly higher than a price of -110 to bet against the spread. However, both sides of the line will typically deal at -110 odds when it comes to these types of wagers for basketball and football.

How to Bet

How to Bet BetPawa

If you have an account on betPawa, placing this type of wager is a breeze. Here is the algorithm.

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Open the Bookie

Launch the sportsbook and log into your account.

Choose Your Game

Open the sport you want to bet on. Check the list of games that offer point spread.

Make Your Choice

Choose a favorite or an underdog. Add your stake.

Confirm Your Bet

Place your wager and wait for the results.

Why Point Spread Changes

Sportsbooks adjust the odds accordingly, either by expanding or limiting the point spread or by making other changes that encourage bettors to have confidence in their chosen team. They do it to maintain balance and encourage betting on both sides.

There are multiple reasons why the oddsmakers may modify their lines, spreads, and odds. Impactful injuries are possibly the most obvious source of spread changes. It’s likely that the odds will alter if a star player is declared inactive after the line is initially established. However, the amount of money being bet on a specific side also influences how the odds are adjusted. However, the amount of money is not the only factor. It is the source of the funds that matters. Oddsmakers might not react if a large amount of public funds is on one side. 

Nevertheless, oddsmakers will pay attention and may change the odds or line on a specific matchup if a professional or well-known bettor places a sizable wager.


Conclusion BetPawa

There are a few situations where betting on a point spread makes sense. 

The first is when there is a greater likelihood of winning your wager when both teams are roughly equal. 

In another situation, you might be attempting to obtain a higher return. These wagers have the potential to pay off nicely, but they also carry the risk of losing a sizable sum of money. The last situation is when you fully understand this type of betting and know what you’re doing. 

If you place a bet without knowing what you are doing, you could lose a significant amount of money. We advise you to gamble wisely.


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  • Why is point spread betting so popular?

    The benefit of placing this bet is that the odds on favorites with a points handicap are usually better than if you were to back them in the moneyline markets.

  • How to read the point spread?

    The anticipated final score differential between two teams is known as the point spread. It can be shown as both a positive and negative number; for example, if the spread is three points, it will appear as both -4 and +4. The underdog receives a plus number (+4), while the favorite team receives a minus number (-4).

  • What does a +7 spread mean?

    In football, a +7 spread might present a fantastic betting opportunity. Imagine it as scoring an additional complete touchdown; that is, a 7-point underdog gets up a 7-0 lead even before the game begins.

  • What does a +1.5 spread mean?

    A 1.5-point spread in football or basketball frequently indicates that two teams are fairly evenly matched and that either has a good chance to win the game.

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