Point Spread Bets are the most common sports bets.
Betting against the point spread is the most common type of bet out there. Whether it be for an entire game or a segment of a game, it is an extremely popular bet that happens to be the most discussed. Let’s de-mystify the concept of the Point Spread bet and related types of wagers.
The point spread is the expected margin of victory set by a sportsbook for a given sporting event.
You are wagering whether the expected margin of victory is too high or too low compared to how you see the sporting event playing out.
Favorites, Underdogs, and the Spreads Themselves
Favorite: The team that the sportsbook expects to win the game/match. Status is indicated in the odds with a ‘-‘ in front of the margin of victory expected (the spread).
Underdog: The team that the sportsbook expects to lose the game/match. Status is indicated in the odds with a ‘+’ in front of the margin of victory expected (the spread).
Let’s use as an example, this Ohio State-Florida College Basketball Game. This is a line courtesy of MyBookie, use promo code ‘PICK50’ for up to $1,000 extra on your deposit.
The Spread Column is the first column and Ohio State is the underdog at +2 1/2. This means that if Ohio State wins the game or loses by less than 2 1/2 points, the bet made on them is a winner.
Florida is the favorite in this game and if they win by more than 2 1/2 points, the bet made on them is a winner.
But what is that number below the spread?
That is the odds for that particular wager. The odds are the payout you would receive should your point spread wager win. So, if you bet $110 in this case, you will get $100 back.
You can calculate The Juice (the sportsbook share) by simply getting the implied probability of both sides and then applying it to the idea that point spread bets are supposed to be 50/50 probability wagers.
Implied Probability = -(Odds)/(-(Odds)+100))
So for our example:
52.38% = -(-110)/(-(-110)+100))
52.38% – 50% = 2.38% hold
Do this a second time and add them together. You will find that the sportsbook takes a 4.76% hold on the spread for this particular game.
Are Point Spread Odds always -110? Can they vary?
Yes, they can vary. You may find odds on one side at -105 and odds on the other side at -115. You will also find that odds on spreads vary across sportsbooks and some sportsbooks offer reduced juice as a promotion (this means improved odds), like our friends at BetAnySports.
Rather than move the spread down in the above example to Montana -5.5, MyBookie decided to entice bettors with -105 odds to get bettors to balance out the betting on this line.
You can shop around and find the spread and spread odds to help you find your edge.
Point Spread Variants: The Run Line, Puck Line, and Handicaps
Run Line: This is the version of the Point Spread that applies for Baseball games. Commonly, the Run Line is set at 1.5 runs for every game. This means that the favorite will be -1.5 run favorites, meaning that a wager on the favorite would result in a payout if the favorite wins by 2 or more runs in a game. The underdog is a +1.5 run underdog, meaning that a wager on the underdog would result in a payout if the underdog either loses by one run or wins the game.
Puck Line: This is the version of the Point Spread that applies for Hockey games. Commonly, the Puck Line is set at 1.5 goals for every game. This means that the favorite will be -1.5 goals favorites, meaning that a wager on the favorite would result in a payout if the favorite wins by 2 or more goals in a game. The underdog is a +1.5 goal underdog, meaning that a wager on the underdog would result in a payout if the underdog either loses by one goal or wins the game.
Handicaps: These are found more often in Soccer and the lines are not as fixed. One can bet on a game with a +0.5 Handicap, which means that all the team you have wagered on has to do is not lose. The handicaps available are plentiful as there is no singular established spread on the game. The various handicaps allow you to have more flexibility as far as your betting options.