Pam asked in SportsFootball (American) · 2 months ago

Could someone please explain "Point spread" in sports in easy to know terms?

4 Answers

  • 2 months ago

    A spread is like a handicap in golf.  Some teams are just stronger than each other.  The spread is the estimate of what the difference in score will be.

    So if you bet and take the 49ers and 7 points, the other team has to beat the 49ers by more than 7 points to win, and if the 49ers lose by 7 or less points, then you would win.

  • 2 months ago

    Some teams are stronger than other teams.  So if you're going to bet, everyone will bet on the stronger team to win.  Well, almost everyone.

    But someone taking bets (the bookie) wants about half of the bets to be on one side, and half on the other.  This minimizes their risk.  So how do you get half of the bettors to bet on the WEAKER team?

    What you do is change the condition for payout from merely winning to winning BY A CERTAIN MARGIN.  So you can bet that the stronger team wins by 5 points, OR that the weaker team either wins or loses by LESS than 5 points.  This would be a point spread of -5 on the stronger team and +5 on the weaker team.

    Now, setting that number is kind of an art form, and bookies and Vegas work VERY hard to make sure it's set right.  Not necessarily that it's set right to reflect how strong the teams are, but to encourage bettors to go half on one side, and half on the other.  So the point spread often reflects PERCEPTION as much as real strength differences.

  • Wager based on how many points the favourite must win by.  If the spread is 10 points, the favourite must win by 11 points or more.  The underdog would win if they win the game outright OR lose by 9 or fewer points.

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