Pretty much everyone who has ever bet on a sporting event has a basic idea of what point spread betting is. However, in order to truly master the opportunities that present themselves in point spread betting, you must go beyond the basics.
The Basic Concept of Point Spread Betting
Naturally the central concept in point spread betting is the point spread. Essentially the point spread is an attempt by the bookmaker to “even up” a contest that is not even because one team is a favorite and one team is an underdog, one team is strong and the other is weak.
What happens, then, is that the point spread represents the perceived difference between two teams. If USC is playing Baby Sisters of the Sacred Heart, for instance, you can expect that the point spread will be something along the lines of USC -48 points.
USC is “giving” 48 points to Baby Sisters of the Sacred Heart, so in order to bet on USC and win your bet, USC must win the game by more than 48 points. By spotting the weaker team this amount of points, the bookmaker has created a feasible bet where once there was none.
Point Spread Betting by the Numbers
Whenever you are evaluating point spread bets, you must be aware that certain numbers are much more important and give you much more information than other numbers.
For example, anytime you see a hugely distorted line like the one named above, you can obviously tell that this game is predicted to be an outright massacre. This is often the case in college football, where teams are severely mismatched and massacres are common.
But more revealing still is when the point spread is at or near certain key numbers relative to the sport in question. For example, in football, 7 and 3 are key numbers because those are the main ways that a team will score points: either a touchdown for 7 points, or a field goal for 3.
When you see a line posted at -3.5 points, then, and you pick the favorite to win, you must understand that you are betting that the favorite will win by more than a field goal.
Because of the likelihood of one team winning by only and exactly 3 points, and you thus losing your -3.5 bet on the favorite, you must realize that -5 and -3.5 are much the same bet.
Although football is the most common example of this key numbers concept, all point spread bets must be looked at from this perspective of where the line is relative to the key numbers inherent in that sport.
For example in basketball, betting a -20 line is much different than betting a -18 line, because a -20 line represents a legitimate slaughter, whereas -18 is a mere whipping.
Point Spread Betting and “Sucker Bets”
Another thing you have to really watch out for when you’re betting point spreads is a so-called “sucker bet.”
Sucker bets can be hard to identify ahead of time (to say the least), but the general rule is that if it seems like the bookmaker is trying to get you to bet on a certain team, this could be a sucker bet. For example, whenever you see a -2 line in basketball, that’s a sucker bet alert signal.
Before placing a point spread bet, it’s always a good idea to take a second to think about what a sucker would do in this situation, and then strive to do the opposite.
The Best Sites for Point Spread Betting
This is a very common type of bet, so all sportsbooks should do this well; those that don’t shouldn’t really be in the business. Regardless, our picks are below: