When Betting What Does Spread Mean


When it comes to sports betting, understanding the spread is crucial for making informed decisions and increasing your chances of winning. The spread is a fundamental concept in sports betting that can significantly impact the outcome of a wager. In this article, we will delve into what the spread means in betting, how it works, and how you can use it to your advantage.

What is the Spread?

The spread, also known as the point spread or betting line, is a handicap given by sportsbooks to even the playing field between two teams in a sporting event. The spread is essentially a margin of victory that the favored team must win by in order for a bet on that team to be successful. The underdog, on the other hand, can lose the game by less than the spread or even win outright for a bet on them to be successful.

How Does the Spread Work?

Let’s illustrate how the spread works with an example. In a football game between the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins, the sportsbook may set the spread at Patriots -7. This means that the Patriots are favored to win by 7 points. If you bet on the Patriots, they must win by more than 7 points for your bet to be successful. If the Patriots win by exactly 7 points, the bet is considered a push, and your stake is refunded.

Conversely, if you bet on the Dolphins at +7, they can lose by less than 7 points, or even win the game outright, for your bet to be successful. If the Dolphins lose by exactly 7 points, the bet is also considered a push.

Why is the Spread Used?

The spread is used by sportsbooks to create a more balanced betting market and to attract equal action on both sides of a wager. By setting a spread, sportsbooks can entice bettors to wager on both the favorite and the underdog, thereby reducing their risk and ensuring a profit regardless of the outcome of the game.

Understanding the Spread in Different Sports

The spread is commonly used in sports like football, basketball, and hockey, where the outcome of a game can be decided by a margin of victory. In these sports, the spread is typically expressed in points, with the favorite giving points and the underdog receiving points.

In sports like baseball and soccer, where the outcome of a game is determined by the number of runs or goals scored, the spread is often referred to as the run line or goal line. In these sports, the spread is expressed in terms of runs or goals, with the favorite giving runs or goals and the underdog receiving runs or goals.

Strategies for Betting the Spread

Betting the spread requires careful consideration and strategic thinking. Here are some tips for betting the spread effectively:

1. Research the teams: Before placing a bet, research the teams involved in the game, their recent performance, injuries, and other factors that may impact the outcome of the game.

2. Shop for the best line: Different sportsbooks may offer different spreads for the same game. Be sure to shop around and compare lines to find the best value for your bet.

3. Consider the matchup: Analyze the matchup between the teams and how they have performed against each other in the past. Some teams may have a favorable matchup that could impact the spread.

4. Manage your bankroll: Set a budget for your bets and stick to it. Avoid chasing losses or betting more than you can afford to lose.


In conclusion, the spread is a key concept in sports betting that can have a significant impact on the outcome of a wager. By understanding how the spread works and employing strategies for betting the spread effectively, you can increase your chances of winning and make more informed betting decisions. Remember to research the teams, shop for the best line, consider the matchup, and manage your bankroll to maximize your success when betting the spread. Good luck!

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