Understanding Spread Betting: How to Bet the Spread

A man watches the sports results on his phone and laptop.

If you’re new to the world of online sports betting or you’re an experienced bettor who’s interested in learning more about how to bet on sports, you might be keen to find out about the different types of bets you can place, and how to get the most out of the money you wager.

One type that could be an important tool in your sports betting toolkit is spread betting. Keep reading to discover what this type of betting is, how it works and the sports that you can place these wagers on.  

What is spread betting?

Spread betting, also known as points spread betting, is a type of bet where the bettor wagers on the points difference between two teams rather than a win or loss, . The predicted points difference is calculated by the sportsbook, and bettors must wager on whether the difference will be greater or less than the number offered. 

In this type of bet, the most important thing to understand is that there’s a favorite and an underdog. Or, more simply put, one team is expected to win, and the other is expected to lose. This is indicated in spread betting by a minus and plus sign for each team respectively, much like it is in regular American odds for sports betting. 

For example, a spread bet might look like this: 

  • Team A -5 (Favorite/expected to win.)
  • Team B +5 (Underdog/expected to lose.)

In this example, Team A has a value of -5, which means they’re expected to win by more than five points. Team B, on the other hand, has a value of +5, which means they must not lose by more than five points. 

If Team A scores 6 points more than Team B, they have “covered the spread” and anyone who bet on Team A will win their wager. If Team A only scores 4 points more than Team B, Team B has “covered the spread” and anyone who bet on Team B will win their wager. There is also another scenario where Team A somehow manages to lose the game, and if they do, Team B have also “covered the spread” and anyone who bet on them will win their wager.

But what happens if Team A wins by 5 points (or in other words, Team B loses by 5 points)? In this scenario, the result is a “push,” or more simply, a draw. This result is effectively a tie in this type of bet, so the sportsbook will refund all the bettors involved.

The advantage of spread betting

It rewards people who have a great understanding of a game

Betting on the spread is a great way to leverage your knowledge of a game to your advantage when wagering on sports. Rather than wagering on a simple win/lose scenario, you can leverage your understanding of a team to increase your chances of winning. 

For example, if you know one football team regularly beats another, even if they’re not performing well, you can use this to your advantage when placing a wager on them at a sportsbook.

The disadvantage of spread betting

It’s a bit more complicated than an ordinary wager

While some wagers require you to simply decide which team will win or lose and bet accordingly, spread betting requires you to have a bit more insight into the teams involved and how they play against each other. 

For example, one basketball team may be dominating their league, but they may have an Achilles heel against an underdog team who regularly take them down to the wire, or even beat them. In situations like these, this type of wager requires you to analyze past performances between these two teams before you make your wager (unless you’re feeling particularly confident on a given day.)

On what sports can you place a spread bet?

 A collage of athletes playing different sports, including basketball, football and hockey.

Here are some of the sport bets that support this type of wager:

These are just some of the sports you can wager on. Be sure to check what your favorite sportsbook or online casino has to offer. And don’t worry, the basics that we’ve shown above will apply to all these sports in a similar way. Some of the points differences will vary, but the overall principles of the spread bet will stay the same.

How to bet on the spread

Betting on the spread is actually a very simple process. All you need to do is follow these steps:

  1. Head over to your favorite dedicated online sports betting site, or online betting site that has a sportsbook, or use the best sports betting app that you can find.
  2. Log in with your username and password, check you’ve got some credit in your account and head over to the sports gambling section.
  3. Select the sport that you want to make a spread bet on.
  4. Decide whether you want to wager on the favorite or the underdog.
  5. Choose the amount you want to wager and confirm your bet!

These general steps may differ slightly depending on which sportsbook or online casino you bet at, but should help you complete a wager at most sites or through most mobile apps.

Place your sports bets at the best online sportsbook

With all this knowledge under your belt, it’s time to place a wager at your favorite sportsbook: Borgata Online. At Borgata Online, we offer spread betting on a variety of sports, including baseball, basketball and football. But that’s not all, because you can also enjoy a variety of other bets, including moneyline, total, futures and more, on these and many other exciting sports.

All you need to do is register at Borgata Online to join in the sports-wagering action!