Interpreting a sports bet spread

By | October 24, 2014

Sports Bet Spread –What is spread betting

Sport betting is a popular form of gambling worldwide. Every day millions of money change hands in the ever growing betting industry. To make betting interesting even on the most predictable of matches, bookies keep introducing new ways to read the betting lines. A sports bet spread is one such method of making the betting odds more interesting.
Let us try to understand what exactly a sports bet spread is.
A sports bet spread is nothing but an advantage given to an underdog team before any match start. It is also called as a point spread. This system is a favorite among bookmakers in case of one sided matches when it is known that a particular team will surely win. In such case in normal scenarios people place bets on the favorite team. To make bets happen on the underdogs, a handicap is given to the favorite team. The underdog is given a head start in the form of imaginary goals before the start of the match.

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Let us understand more with a simple example.
There is an upcoming match between Team X and Team Y and Team X are the favorites to win. The bookmakers give a handicap of -4.5 goals to Team X. Now the odds are as shown
Team X -4.5 -120 (2.20)
Team Y +4.5 -120 (2.20)
This means that when the match begins, Team Y has already imaginary 4.5 points/goals in its kitty. If you place a bet that team X will win, X has to win by a margin of more than 4.5 points/goals. If X wins by less than 4.5 goals you lose the bet even if Team X wins because Team A has not covered the bet spread. In this way bookmakers lure folks to bet on Team Y even if it is an underdog.
If you bet on team Y, the sports bet spread mechanism ensures that even if Team Y loses, but by a margin of less than 4.5 goals, the bet on Y is a winning one.
You must be wondering why 4.5 and not 4 or 5. Well, the decimal is to avoid a draw result. If the handicap is 4, in case the final goal is 6-2, the bet will be a draw as due to the handicap final score of Y too is 6. The half goal takes care of eliminating this possibility of a draw thereby saving the bookmakers from returning back the money to punters.
What was the 120 part of the odds?
It means for the bet spread of 4.5, the bookmakers have set an amount of 120$. To win 100$, you should stake 120$ in your bet. If you win the bet you get a total of 120+100$. If you lose the bet, the 120$ staked is lost.
The sports bet spread differs across the bookmakers. Accordingly, interpret the bet spread, compare the odds and bet on sites offering a reasonable odd. If the handicap is quite big, the favorite team might struggle to meet the desired margin of victory. Hence comparing and arriving at the best odds is the best strategy to place a winning bet.