Point Spread Betting
A Point spread is a bet on the margin of victory in a game. It is the most common bet type in basketball and football. The opening line for a point spread is determined by oddsmakers’ best guess at the margin of victory between two teams. Depending on the matchup and other factors (major injuries, weather conditions, coaching changes, etc) the line can move up or down. If the stronger team wins by a larger margin than the line indicates, you win your bet. If the underdog loses by a smaller margin, you lose your bet. If the game ends in a tie, you get your bet refunded.
In addition to the actual margin, sportsbooks add or subtract points/runs/goals from a final score. This helps level the playing field between lopsided opponents and attract action on both sides of the bet. Unlike a moneyline bet, when you make a spread bet you will see two numbers displayed next to the team’s name and number. The first number is the odds of that team covering the spread, the second is the amount you are laying for every $10 you hope to win. These odds are usually displayed in American, Decimal or Fractional formats and don’t vary as wildly as the moneyline odds.
In high-scoring sports like basketball and football, the point spread is more effective than in lower-scoring sports like baseball and hockey. In these sports, the point spread is often called a run line or puck line instead of a traditional points spread.