Football Spread Betting

Spread Betting Basics

What is a Spread Bet

Spread betting is a very interesting and entertaining way of placing a bet on a football game. It takes the regular way of placing a bet, simply betting on which team will win, and takes it a step further. This is a great way to bet on a match, when the final outcome is not as clear as the bettor would like it to be. Instead, the bettor can choose to place a spread bet, which involves the team’s final scores. If the final scores are above or below the spread, and depending on which option the bettor chose, the bettor will win the bet. It is a bet that says that even though one team has higher odds of winning, they won’t win by more than a certain amount of points.

The Way Spread Bets Work

In any kind of sports bet, there will always be a chosen favorite and an underdog. The favorite is always given better odds of winning the match, thus the payout is smaller. As for the underdog, the odds of beating the other team are much lower, but if they manage to win, the payout is much larger. In terms of a spread bet, the favorite would not only need to win the match, but win it by more than a given amount of points. However, if the bettor places the wager on the underdog, the underdog can still lose the match, but win the bet by keeping the point spread below the given amount. The favorite is usually given a symbol, and the underdog a + symbol, as well as being given odds so the bettor knows how much they could possibly win. For example:

New England Patriots -2.5 -115
New York Giants +2.5 +130

This means that the Patriots have to beat the Giants by more than 2.5 points in order for the bet to win. However, in order for the Giants to win the bet, they can do one of two things: 1) Win the match or 2) Lose by a spread of less than 2.5 points.

For this example, the bettor placed $100 on the Giants to beat the spread. The final score of the match is 27 – 25, with the Patriots winning the match. Even though the Patriots won the match, they failed to win by more than 2.5 points, which means those that beat on the Giants to beat the spread, have won the bet. The bettor would get, their $100 initial investment, along with the profit of $130.

Risks of Spread Betting

Spread betting involves more factors, like using the scores to check the spread, than just straight bets that simply use the outcome of the match. By having more variables in a bet, that bet becomes riskier. This is why bettors should have some knowledge of sports and sports betting to increase the chances that their prediction is correct.


Tips for Spread Betting

These tips will help a bettor pick and place the spread bets in a smarter way.


It is paramount that the bettor learns to research the teams that are going to be playing. They need to read and analyze the team’s statistics, in order to get to know their strengths and weaknesses and to more accurately predict how they will perform. However, reading the stats isn’t the only way to do research. Bettors can also read the news and stay up to date with anything related to the teams, as well as read the weather forecast for the day of the match. Weather plays an important role when it comes to football. A windy day that goes in one direction, can affect how the ball is thrown or kicked.

Learn more on how to read and understand football statistics with How to Read Football Team Stats* and How to Read Individual NFL Player Stats*.

Home vs. Away

Teams are known to play better when they are the home team, as the evidence of the Home vs. Away game stats show. Taking this into account, a bettor can see if one team truly does have the disadvantage. The team favored to win may be playing on the road, making the underdog a lot more dangerous as they are playing at home; they may be more motivated to play harder. This isn’t an exact science, which is why spread betting is a riskier type of bet.

Decimal Point Spreads

Bettors always like to take advantage of every little thing, and this one could mean the difference between a big payout and a loss. Look for spread bets that have a .5 in them, this will usually give the underdog a much better chance of beating the spread. For example:

Patriots -3.5
Giants +3.5

This would mean that the Patriots have to beat the Giants by more than 4 points, not 3.5 since there are no half-points in football. So, in reality the point spread is much wider than what is actually shown. However, not all .5 bets are like this. If the point spread is much higher, then the .5 will not matter much in the end.

Big Point Spreads

There are two aspect when encountering big point spreads; public opinion and personal research. The factor that makes what a point spread is, is the public opinion on how much the public thinks the team will win by. These are calculated numbers from those odds. So, going against bug point spreads could be risky. The other aspect is the bettors personal research. Even if the point spread is big, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the match will happen that way. Basing the facts off of personal research can be a good way to determine if the team truly will win the bet.

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Spread Betting Advantages

There are many advantages of using the spread bet. Some of these advantages include:

  • Higher reward for the risk
  • This helps equalize the markets
  • A bettor could use the middling betting style
  • Payouts are immediate