How To Read Point Spreads For Beginners
Reading point spreads can be confusing and frustrating for the novice or occasional sports bettors. This post will give you a simple explanation of what a point spread is and what it means for your bet.
Super Bowl 49 Example
This example uses the Super Bowl, but these rules apply to all sports – not just American Football.
New England Patriots -2
What does the plus or minus mean?
You will always see one team with a (-) and a particular number, indicating the side that is favored to win the game/match. Sometimes, you will also see a (+) beside the underdog; this will usually be the same number as the favored team. (If it isn’t, find a new betting site/bookie)
If you place a bet on the Patriots, they must win by greater than two points for you to win. In the event they win by exactly 2, you will get your bet amount refunded.
If you place a bet on the Seahawks, they can either win or lose by less than two points, and you’ll win the bet. In the event they lose by exactly two points, your bet amount will be refunded.
In this example, the Patriots are favored by 2 points. This doesn’t only mean the experts believe that New England will win by two points, it’s also influenced by the betting public risking more money on New England. The sportsbook is trying to encourage wagering on the underdog. We know this because the game opened with both teams being evenly favored, and now the money coming in has been lopsidedly wagered on the New England team.
New England Patriots -2 | 47.5 OV
Here, we have the point spread, as well as the total (sometimes called the Over/Under). The projected total for this game is 47.5 points. You can bet that the total combined score will be greater than or less than 47.5 points.
If you bet OVER, the score of both teams added together must be 48 or more for you to win. A tie is impossible, as the line includes a half-point.
If you bet the UNDER, the score of both teams added together must be 47 or less for you to win.
Now that you know how to read a point spread, check out my independent reviews to find a reputable site to bet on sports.