Understanding Spread Betting For Beginners

Published: Jul 15, 2022 Updated: Oct 31, 2022

Point Spread Bet MethodIn the realm of sports betting, the point spread bet is a method invented by bookmakers to make the process fair, profitable, and exciting. Bookmakers assign “points” to the teams in a match by assessing their strength relative to each other. This is one of the most profitable and exciting ways in which you can bet on individual sports events.

This is a guide that will teach you how to bet point spread and understand the system. People who are new to sports wagering are confused and intimidated by all the numbers and figures. Once you understand what they mean, you’ll be able to place the best wagers in no time. Make the most of your favorite sports websites.

How The Point Spread Bet Works

Point Spread BetBy assessing two teams’ or two players’ relative strength, the bookmaker comes up with figures known as a “point spread”. In a matchup, the stronger team has points taken away from them and the weaker team has points awarded to them. Understanding this scheme is easier with the help of a real-life example.

Let’s take an example, as an NFL match between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears, one of the greatest rivalries in the history of football. The two teams have always managed to do very well against each other. But, in this example case, the bookmakers think that the Green Bay Packers is the stronger team.

The bookmakers will post a table of American odds and the point spread for the associated game. Here is a rough picture of what the point spread odds look like.

TeamPoint SpreadOdds
Green Bay Packers-4.5-110
Chicago Bears+4.5-110

First, you should understand the meaning of the odds figures. Both teams have ‘-110’ as the odds, which means that you need to place $110 to make a $100 profit. Now, let’s come to the point spread. It basically levels the playing field for punters.

If you place $110 on the Green Bay Packers, you’ll make a $100 profit only if they defeat the Bears by a margin that is greater than 4.5 points. If the Packers win 22-17, you’ll win cash. But, if they win 22-20, you won’t win. If you wager $110 on the Bears, you will win $100 in two scenarios –

  1. If the Packers win by a margin that’s smaller than 4.5
  2. If the Bears win the match in totality

The same principle applies to NHL ice hockey, baseball, etc.

A Guide To Line Movement By Top Sports Betting Sites

Sometimes, online sports betting sites shift the sportsbook odds, or the “line” in special circumstances. To understand this, let’s take the same example of Packers vs Bears. If a lot of people bet on the Packers, then the sportsbook might increase the point spread from 4.5 to 5.5. Conversely, if more people choose the underdog, the sportsbook might decrease the spread from 4.5 to 3.5.

Handicap Bets VS Point Spreads

The terminology in the world of sports wagering differs from place to place. In the US, the term for this kind of bet is “point spread” whereas the British term is an “Asian handicap”. Well,  the handicap bet is more popular amongst soccer fans.

The Odds Of Winning 

The odds of winning will depend on the sport and the relative strength of the two teams in question. During in-play sports betting, anything can happen.

The odds for each particular matchup can be found on the retail sportsbook. The most common odds used for point spreads is -110.

Calculating Payout & Cost

Calculating PayoutTaking the previous example of Packers vs Bears, the point spread is -4.5 and +4.5, with each team getting odds of -110. Here is a simple point spread calculator method that will help you calculate the costs and possible payouts as well.

If you bet $50 on the Green Bay Packers, you’ll win $95.45 if the Packers defeat the Bears by a margin greater than 4.5 points. Similarly, if you bet on the Bears, you will win $95.45 from a $50 bet if the Bears win the game or lose by a margin that’s less than 4.5 points.

Final Thoughts

Players planning to make money while enjoying your favourite teams in action, you should sign up on one of the best real money sites in your area. Good point spread betting sites will provide sports fans a way to make the most out of NFL 2022. You can enjoy live betting at these sites.

Want to know more about other types of bets to use in the US? Find everything you need in our guides:


Is it legal to bet on sports online?

Yes, it is legal to bet on sports online. It depends on where you live. Some states like Alabama, Alaska, and Hawaii do not have any legal sports betting sites available.

Where can I bet on sports?

Mobile sports betting apps and websites are the best ways for you to place wagers on sports events. Locate a bookmaker or sportsbook that offers legal betting options in your local area.

Where can I check sports betting odds for point spread bets?

If you want the best point spread bets this week, you should check out the website of your local sportsbook. DraftKings and FanDuel are some of the biggest and most popular choices in the US.

What is the most winning type of bet for sports betting?

A point spread is great for experienced players because it’ll give you the chance to win cash even if the team you bet on loses. This safety catch is very important.

Can I bet on sports events that happen outside the USA?

You can only participate in betting on sports online as long as they take place domestically. US sportsbooks don’t let you place on sport events from outside.

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