What is a point spread bet? (US)

Overview

A point spread bet is a wager on which team/player will win the match/game according to a point spread. A point spread is a number created by oddsmakers to determine the gap between the favorite and the underdog of a game, as teams and players are not all equal in skill. The favorite will have negative points while the underdog will have positive points.

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What if I take the underdog?

If you're taking the points with the underdog, the points will be added to your team's final score to determine the winning outcome of your bet.

What if I take the favorite?

If you're taking the points with the favorite, the points will be subtracted from your team's final score to determine the outcome of your bet. If the score ends in a tie after your points are added/subtracted the bet pushes and your wager is returned.

For example:

Using the below example for the NBA, the Cavaliers are the favorite at -218 moneyline while the Magic are the underdog at +180 moneyline odds. In order to even out the gap between the favorite and the underdog, a point spread of 5.5 points is applied so that the Cavaliers have odds of -108 and the Magic have odds of -112. Since the Cavaliers are the favorite, they will have -5.5 or 5.5 points removed from their final score. Since the Magic are the underdog, they will have +5.5 or 5.5 points added to their final score. For example, if the final score of this game ends up Cavaliers 104, Magic 100, bettors that bet on the Cavaliers -5.5, lose the bet because 5.5 points are subtracted from the Cavaliers final score which would make it Cavaliers 98.5, Magic 100. The reverse would be true for bettors that bet on the Magic +5.5. Bettors that bet the Magic +5.5 would win their wager as 5.5 points are added to the Magic’s final score which would make it Cavaliers 104, Magic 105.5.

App Example: 

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Desktop Example:

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