How to Read a Point Spread


How to read a point spread

When it comes to sports betting the options of bets are wide open with a wide array of options for sports fans and sports handicappers to place a bet on. One of those sports betting options for sports fans and sports handicappers to bet on a specific team or person to win the matchup is to read a point spread.

While you can bet the team straight up on the money line, another option that is very popular among sports fans is placing a wager on a team against the spread. Now for anyone that is experienced you might know exactly what this is while the unexperienced might have no clue. Luckily for you we will touch base on what a point spread is and more importantly how to read a point spread

In simple terms, a point spread is a set amount of points that is added or subtracted from a team/person based that is configured by an oddsmaker. In theory, an oddsmaker looks at the matchup, analyzes the matchup and determines based on their analysis how close of a matchup it will be. Then the oddsmaker assigns a point spread for the contest. While point spreads are common in a wide range of team sports including the MLB, NHL, MLS and professional soccer, they tend to be extremely popular sports bets for NCAA College Basketball and Football as well as the NFL. 

So, for an example say you have two teams that are both very good and stack up on paper very common, the spread assigned will be much lower typically leaning to the home team. Whereas as matchup between the best team in the league and the worst team in the league will have a much higher point spread. Now that we have explained how to read a point spread might look like in various professional leagues:

NFL Point Spread 

NFL Point Spread

NCAA Football Point Spread

NCAA Football Point Spread

NHL Point Spread

NHL Point Spread

NBA Point Spread

How to Read a Point Spread

Now that you had a chance to see what point spreads look like in a few of the major professional sports leagues, you will notice that point spread will vary from league to league. In addition, you will notice that some point spreads have half numbers such as +1.5 or -1.5 for the matchup. 

To help you out we will take a look in depth and read a point spread for the NFL matchup between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears. If you look at this matchup below, you will see the Detroit Lions have a +2.5 in front of their name. This means that that the Lions are the underdog in the matchup and oddsmakers favors the Bears at home in this contest. Now don’t worry about the 42.5 points that is the over/under line and we will take about that in another article. In this example you don’t see a -2.5 points next to the Bears but for experienced bettors this is something they already know. 

Read a Point Spread

So looking at this matchup, if you elected to place a wager on this matchup and you bet the Bears at home, in order to win your bet the Bears would have to win by three points.

For example, the Bears win 30-27 over the Lions at home you would win the bet, now if the Bears would have won 30-28 you would lose the bet because the Lions would have 30.5 points with the point spread. So basically, you add the +2.5 points to the underdog teams final score to determine the outcome if you select them. If you select the favorite with the -2.5 points you would subtract it from their final score to determine the outcome. 

Now let’s take a look at the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers point spread below. 

How to Read a Point Spread

Now looking at the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers point spread below you will notice that the Clippers have a +2 and the Lakers have a -2. When looking at this point spread, this will be the more realistic spread layout you will see when placing bets on most sites and on most sports.

This layout leaves no room for confusion as it shows both point spreads. Now if you bet this matchup and elected to take the Clippers, they could win the contest out right or lose by one point and you would win the wager. Now if you bet the Lakers, they would have to win this matchup out right and by at least three points for you to win the wager. 

Now that you know how to read a point spread and how a point spread works, you are ready to start looking at real point spreads and getting ready to place your bets.

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How to Read a Point Spread