Last updated on: October 3rd, 2022

Betting On The Spread

One of the most popular ways to bet on sports online is by betting the spread. The spread is a bookmakers’ attempt to even the playing field between two unevenly matched teams. The spread essentially deducts points from the favorite’s final score, giving both teams an even chance of winning the game, once the handicapped spread is applied. Betting with the spread means taking the points and betting on the underdog (the team considered less likely to win the game). The underdog’s point spread will be listed as a positive number (+7). This means that seven points are added to the underdog’s final score. Betting against the spread means giving points betting on the favorite (the team considered more likely to win the game). The favorite’s point spread will be listed as a negative number (-7). This means that you would subtract seven points from the favorite’s final score.

Betting Against The Spread

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Applying The Point Spread

Team A is a 7-point underdog against Team B. If you bet on Team A with the spread and the final score showed a Team B victory 27-21, you won your bet and “covered the spread.” Since you bet on Team A +7, adding 7 points to Team A’s final score changes the outcome in favor of Team A 28-27. Even though Team A lost the game outright, the added points give them the advantage. Likewise, if you bet on Team B against the spread, subtract seven points from the final score. In a game that Team B won 17-7, the handicapped score of 10-7 still sits in favor of Team B.

Sports That Have Spread Bets

Betting on the spread has become a classic bet type of various types of sports in the world, but the NFL is the most common for this particular bet type. When betting on the NFL, bettors know that points are typically scored in increments of seven or three. Wit this knowledge, a projected close game would most likely have a spread of three. This type of idea is not as easy to predict as the NBA, where free throws to stop the clock can suddenly make the result of the game a six-point differential instead of a three-point game, messing up a spread bets that were placed on a spread of -2.5. When betting on the spread for baseball it is called the run line, and hockey refers to it as the puck line, with most other sports sticking with the classic money line title. Examples for these sports are but not limited to:

  • Baseball
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Basketball
  • Hockey
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Table Tennis
  • Darts

Sportsbooks That Offer Bets On The Spread


Bovada Sportsbook

Betting the Spread at Bovada

Since betting on the spread is one of the most popular ways to bet on sports online, most online sportsbooks will offer spread bets on most major events, but particularly football. The best and most popular online sportsbook that offers bets against the spread is Bovada. For over 20 years, Bovada has been providing users with the ultimate online sports betting experience to American clients. Bovada even offers several valuable welcome bonuses, granting qualifying customers with free play cash. Be sure to check out Bovada for all of your online sports betting needs, including betting against the spread.

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BetOnline Sportsbook

Alterative Spread Betting On The NFL

When betting on the 2022 NFL season, BetOnline allows bettors to wager on many different alternative spreads from all of the NFL action during the regular season. If a bettor feels confident that the Bills will beat the Rans by more than 2.5 points, BetOnline offers props that range from 1 to 15-point favorites. This adds value to the bet because the alternate lines significantly increase the amount with longer odds the higher the original line is stretched. If the Bills were to end up winning by 14, BetOnline rewards bettors who sue the alternative lines..

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MyBookie Sportsbook

Live Betting On Covering The Spread

As spread betting has always been one of the most popular bet types available for legal books, MyBookie offers spread betting for all of the most popular sporting events. Whether betting on a Grand Slam event or the NFL playoffs, MyBookie moves their game lines and spreads during the action of the game or match. Live betting o the spread gives bettors value that wants to bet on an underdog comeback. If a team was down by 21 at the half and the spread moved to 21, a bettor could win big by betting on the favorite team to not cover at MyBookie.

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Best Spread Bets For The NFL Season At Bovada

There are always opportunities to cash in through spread betting on the NFL, with many teams every week having value to cover or push. The first week of the NFL season had only eight teams that were favorites cover the spread. However, the Bills kicked off the NFL season with a win and a cover against the LA Rams. Between the first Monday Night Football game of the NFL season and the best week two matchups, there are plenty of spreads to place wagers on for the 2022 NFL season.

Minnesota Vs Philadelphia

Both the Eagles and the Vikings covered the spread during the first week of the NFL season and will be meeting up for the second doubleheader for Monday Night in Philly. The Eagles are slight favorites with a 2.5-point spread but the Vikings covered in week 1 against the Packers as well. During the 2021 regular season, the Vikings went 3-2 ATS when playing as the underdog on the road. With a healthy Dalvin Cook, there is value for covering the spread against a Philly team that allowed the Lions to score three Rush TDs and 35 total points.

Tennessee Vs Buffalo

The Bills were 2.5 favorites against the Rams during Thursday Night Football in the first week of the NFL and the Bills covered and won by 21 total. The Bills are hosting the Titans in New York for their home opener and have value for covering the 10-point spread. During the 2021 season, Buffalo went 5-3 ATS at home as the favorite and has value to cover the spread against the Titans who struggled and lost to the New York Giants in week 1.

Why Does The Points Spread And Odds Change For Spread Bets?

There are various reasons why a point spread may change before kickoff. One of the most common reasons is lopsided betting action on the game. Legal sportsbooks always strive to garner an even amount of money on both sides of the outcome, in order to guarantee profitability. If a lopsided amount of money is bet on one side over the other, bookmakers will do one of two things: if the disparity is large, they will adjust the actual point spread, giving more or less points to the underdog (sometimes even flipping the favorite and underdog); if the disparity is small, they will change the “juice” or odds for the lesser-bet side. This is done to garner more bets to balance the books.

Breaking news, like an injury to a key player or impending inclement weather, can also change a point spread. It is important to place your wager as soon as possible if you like a specific spread, as spreads are always subject to change – most point spreads change several times before settling at the closing spread at kickoff. However, once you place a wager, the point spread will be locked in at the number you took.

Betting An Alternate Spread

Alternative spread betting is the best way for bettors to control how they want to wager. By altering the line of a game, a bettor can increase the odds and the potential payout on the game. During the first week of the college football season, the Alabama Crimson Tide were 20.5 favorites over Texas.

Bama opened as 17-point favorites but the legal sportsbooks stretched the lines. Texas ended up losing by a single point but alternative liens would have allowed a bettor to place a wager on Alabama covering anywhere from -0.5 to -30.5. There are alternative lines available at legal sportsbooks every week for the college football season.

What Is Line Movement?

Live movement is where the spread is altered before the game by either where the public is laying their money or the sportsbook altering it themselves. As an example, lets say there is an opening spread of 6.5 points between the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets in favor of Miami. If the public really likes the Dolphins to cover in this one giving them 85% of the total money that is bet on the game, sportsbooks will look to alter the spread and could push it to 7 or 7.5 in an effort not to get burned if the Dolphins were to cover 6.5. There is also reverse line movement where the sportsbook could alter the line in the opposite direction of where the public is betting trying to persuade bettors to take it if they have a strong feeling that the team will cover.

Best ATS 2022 College Football Teams

As the 2022 College Football season progresses, there will be teams that have success ATS and others that struggle. It is beneficial to know the trends of the top teams in various situations such as playing at home, or as the favorite or underdog.

ATS Records After Week 3

  • Kansas 5-0
  • Arkansas State 5-0
  • James Madison 4-0
  • Alabama 4-1
  • Wake Forest 4-1
  • Syracuse 4-1
  • Utah 4-1
  • Kansas State 4-1
  • Oregon State 4-1
  • Kentucky 4-1

The Different Types Of Spread Bets:

Point spreads are very popular across a wide range of sports, including those that do not score with “points.” Sports like baseball, which counts runs instead of points, or hockey, which counts goals, will have different names for their spreads. These spreads function the same as a point spread, but with a different name.

Puck Line

A puck line is simply a point spread in hockey. It functions in exactly the same way as a point spread.

Run Line

Similarly, a run line is a point spread in baseball. Run lines are almost exclusively 1.5 runs, but alternate spreads are usually available.

Goal Line

A goal line is a point spread in soccer. It functions the same as a typical point spread. Unlike a run line, goal lines vary depending on the teams involved.

Spread Betting FAQs

Why Don’t I Make More Money Betting The Spread?

Because of the nature of taking the spread, sportsbooks don’t host the odds too high, usually setting them between (+110) and (-115). The aim is to set the spread as evenly as possible, making it a great betting choice for betting on the favorites, but not so great when betting on underdogs as the payout is bigger on the moneyline. If you would like to increase your potential payout and still play the spread, alternate spreads are your best choice.

What Happens If The Spread Ties?

A tie against the spread is referred to as a “push.” Often, sportsbooks will set their spreads with half points, often referred to as a “hook”, in order to avoid this. However, a push can still happen on occasion. If a push occurs in a single spread bet, most sportsbooks will return your original wager but offer no winnings. If a push occurs in a parlay, there are two possible avenues for a sportsbook to take: one is to count a push as a loss, therefore causing the bettor to lose the parlay; the other is to remove the bet from the parlay entirely, lowering the payout but still keeping the parlay intact. Be sure to check your preferred sportsbook’s terms and conditions to see how they handle pushes in parlays.

What Does “PK” Mean?

Some games may not show a numerical spread, but instead show a “PK”. This is short for “pick,” meaning that the game is even without a point spread and bettors must choose the winner outright. Usually, sportsbooks will manipulate the “juice” in order to attract more bettors to the lesser bet side of a PK spread.

What Is “Juice”?

Juice is the odds for each side of a point spread. The juice functions exactly the same as a moneyline, indicating the payout rate for each side of the spread bet. For most point spreads, both sides will have the same juice, typically (-110). Sometimes a sportsbook will manipulate the odds in order to attract more bettors to the lesser bet side, but these changes are usually relatively minor and done in +-005 increments.