Point Spread betting is basically betting by how much a certain team will win or lose. The whole concept of point spreads is based on the principle of underdogs and favorites. The favorites (a team that is expected to win) “lays” points to the underdog (a team that is expected to lose) to make up the difference in equality. Do not confuse it with over/under betting, where you are betting whether the total score of the teams will be over or under a predicted amount (see our Basketball Over/Under Betting article). The whole point is to provide an incentive for the bettors to wager on the underdogs and balance the sides on betting a little.

* Please see illustration below to help understand point spread bets, text explanation follows.

(-110) Line
Unless specified otherwise, it is always assumed that the money line for spreads is (-110). That is, if you bet \$110 on either of the teams, you will get \$100 back. Once in awhile you will see different money lines for different spreads. This will most likely happen in some kind of alternative bets, like proposition wagers.

– Boston Celtics are playing against Miami Heat in the NBA playoffs.

• Boston Celtics (+5)
• Miami Heat (-5)

If you are betting on Boston, then they have to win by 5 points for you to win. For example, if the final score is 96-90 for Boston, then Celtics won by 6 points, which is larger than 5; thus, if you bet \$110 on Boston, you will win \$100 profit, assuming that it is a standard (-110) line.

If you are betting on the Miami Heat, then they can lose by no more than 5 points – or win. For example, if the final score is 103-100 for Boston, then Miami Heat only lost by 3 points. 3 is less than the 5 point spread, so you will win \$100 profit if you bet \$110.

## A “Push”

In the above example, if the final score is 105-100 for the Celtics, then the spread is exactly 5 points. Thus, Boston did not win by more than 5 points, but instead, they “tied” it. In such cases, sportsbooks have to return the wagers to the bettors.

To prevent this, a lot of the times sportsbooks will utilize a 0.5 element. That is, they will show the same odds as:

• Boston Celtics (+5.5)
• Miami Heat (-5.5)

In this case, Boston has to win by more than 5 points and Miami could lose by 5 or less points, for it to happen. If the spread is 105-100 for Boston, those who bet on Miami will win the spread.