A constant in most sports is that there is always a team that is faster, stronger, or more prepared than the other, even if it is by a tiny margin. It is for this reason that Sportsbooks use the spread to counteract the superiority of a team and create a more fair and balanced scenario for the bettor. Thanks to this, USA online sportsbook bettors can bet against the spread. Betting against the Spread or ATS is when you place a wager for a team that has to win or lose the game by a specific score. That is, the team has to cover the spread.

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Spread Betting On Sports

Let’s analyze how betting against the spread works with the following example to better understand the concept :


Kansas City Chiefs Spread +6.5 (-120)
San Francisco 49ers Spread -6.5 (-150)

Players must remember that the positive numbers represent the underdog, and the negative numbers represent the favorite. It is also important to keep in mind that the spread is not usually whole numbers, and Sportsbooks use decimals to avoid ties or Push.

In this example, the 49ers are the favorite team laying at -6.5, to determine whether they cover the spread or not, gamblers must perform a simple mathematical operation. The -6.5 of the Spread must be subtracted from the final score of the 49ers if the result still gives them more points than the Chiefs means that the 49ers cover the spread.

In the case of the underdog, we can determine if they cover the spread or not, with a similar operation, only that in this case, we add the points of the spread to the final score of the team. In this case, it would be added +6.5 to the Chief’s final score; if the result gives them a higher score than the 49ers, it means that the Chief covers the spread.


How To Bet The Spread

Let’s consider a couple of scenarios to understand it better. A bettor placed a bet that the 49ers will cover the spread. The final score of the match was:

Kansas City Chiefs 12 – San Francisco 49ers 20
By subtracting the -6.5 from the spread to the 49ers final score, the final result is:

Kansas City Chiefs 12- San Francisco 49ers 13.5
With this score, the 49ers cover the spread.
Using the same result, let’s see an example of a player who placed a wager that the Chiefs will cover the spread:

The final score of the match was:
Kansas City Chiefs 12 – San Francisco 49ers 20

By adding +6.5 of the spread to the Chiefs final score, the final result is:
Kansas City Chiefs 18.5 – San Francisco 49ers 20

With this score, the Chiefs failed to cover the spread.

How to calculate the winnings of betting Against the Spread

The sportsbooks usually present the spread accompanied by a number that closely resembles the Moneyline with the peculiarity that these three digits are always negative. These numbers indicate the amount of money that must the player has to wager to win $100.


Kansas City Chiefs Spread +6.5 (-120)
San Francisco 49ers Spread -6.5 (-150)

In the case of our example, a player must bet $150 on the 49ers to get $100 of profit.

The players must bear in mind that, as in the Moneylines, the Sportsbooks include their cut in these three digits. There are cases of even bets, where the amount the player can win is the same for both teams. But in reality, this does not usually happen.

Factors That Affect The Spread

The betting world is always subject to external factors that can make things change overnight. In the case of spread, these are affected by player injuries, low performance in past games, or changes in the team, for example, the arrival of new players and coaches.

Injuries are the factor that can affect the spread the most make them go down a lot. Many sports offer betting options on spreads, with some variants in the name; for example, in soccer, it is the goal line, in baseball, is run line, in hockey is puck line, in tennis set line.

Betting against the spread gives the player a higher margin of success since winning the bet does not depend entirely on which team wins the game. For this reason, bettors who want to improve their income when betting should study the spreads more thoroughly and invest their money in some of them.