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Point Spread Betting

Point Spread Betting explained

Getting started with sports betting isn’t an easy task. There are so many choices, so many strategies, and so many markets that any novice sports bettor needs to learn and understand. We at “BettingZebra” want to help all novice and experienced bettors to skip some mistakes that may occur, and with this guides, we try to educate people that want to engage in a sports betting.

Spread Betting – What does it mean?

That way you will be able to learn about every market and to decide what market suits best your style of betting. We already talked about the money line betting market, and Asian handicap betting market and in this article, we will talk about the one really popular betting market, Point Spread Betting Market.

Points spread – The History

In the early day of sports betting, bettors had only one market available to them. Bookies offered only money line bets, and with those bets, bettors could bet only on the outcome of the game. That situation wasn’t good for either bettors or sportsbooks as sports bettors didn’t have diversity and bookies were at risk of losing big chunks of money when underdog would win the game.

Betting guru Charles McNeil came to an excellent solution. He took some ideas from other people and invented the point spread betting market. This invention ensured that bookmakers will make a profit in the long run and sports bettors got another market to bet on.

What is Point Spread?

At the moment in modern sports betting, the point spread is the most popular betting market by far. It is not an easy market, and it takes some time to understand how it works, but once you learn all the tips and tricks you will see why many bettors around the world prefer this type of betting market.

In the games where we have strong favorite and teams are not evenly matched, bookies use the point spread. That way with the point spread bookies ensure that sports bettors will equally play both sides.

There are two types of teams in point spread betting:

FAVORITE – team that is expected to win. Favorite always has a minus (-) point spread, and that means that favorite team needs to win by a certain amount of points in order to cover the spread.

UNDERDOG – team that is not expected to win. Underdog holds a plus (+) point spread, and that means that even if that team loses by an amount smaller than the point spread or wins the game, your bet will be won.

To make things easier to understand we will write examples of some point spreads in most popular US sports:

Point Spread in American Football (NFL)

In this sport point spread is a really popular market. Reason for that is because in the NFL there are several dominant teams and in almost every game there is the need for point spread.

Example of NFL point spread:

Denver Broncos (-7.5) 1.95

New Orleans Saints (+7.5) 1.95

In this game, Denver Broncos are set as -7.5 points favorite, and that means they need to win the game against underdog by 8 points or more in order to bettors who took this spread, win the bet. On the other hand, New Orleans is set as +7.5 point underdog, and that means if they win the game or lose up to 7 points, bettors who backed +7.5 point spread will win the bet. If they lose by 8 points or more, bettors who backed +7.5 point spread will lose the bet. As you may see, it is a pretty straightforward betting market, you just need to make the right decisions.

So if Denver wins the game with result 24-21, they won by 3 points difference, and they didn’t cover the spread, but New Orleans has covered the spread as they stayed within those 7.5 points.

This is how point spread works in American football. Same rules are for other American football leagues, like NCAAF or Canadian American Football League.

Point Spread in Basketball (NBA and European)

Basketball is also a sport that is perfect for point spread market. In this sport, point spread works in the same way as in American football. Basketball is the game where we often see big point differences between teams, and that’s why point spread betting is so popular in this sport. Again we will explain basketball point spread on the example also:

CSKA Moscow -13 (1.95)

Gran Canaria +13 (1.95)

CSKA Moscow is set as -13 point favorites in this game and to cover the spread they need to win by more than 13 points difference. Gran Canaria is +13 points underdog so if they win or lose by 12 points or less they will cover the spread.

Point Spread Betting screenshot 1

Here we have also an interesting situation. If CSKA Moscow wins this game by exactly 13 points difference, we will have a PUSH bet. Both bettors that played -13 point spread or +13 point spread will have their stakes back.

This is an example of basketball point spread, and it is the same with all basketball games and competitions.


This really popular market is a perfect market for experienced bettors. Once when you understand how the point spread betting works, you will be able to find value lines, and odds and that way make a consistent profit betting on sports.

If you have any questions about point spread betting or any other sports betting topic or strategy feel free to ask us. We at “BettingZebra”, will do anything in our power to make as many as possible guides and articles about sports betting to help novice and professional sports bettor be better and win against the sportsbooks on the long run.


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