Online sportsbook bettors always look for the best way to maximize their winnings with each bet. It is for this reason that NFL spread betting is one of the most popular forms of bets since you can make good money with them.

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What Is NFL Spread Betting?

In spread betting, there are two scenarios, obviously, this depends on how much each team stands out before the game. In the first scenario, we bettors betting on the stronger NFL or favorite team that is the most likely to win the game. Then we have the weak or the underdog team who is least likely to win the game. Given that these differences exist between the teams, one of them will always be superior to due to different factors. The Sportsbook uses the spread to create a balance between the two so that the betting field is balanced.

Thanks to the spread, the favorite NFL team will then not only have to win the game but must also win it by a certain margin of points. The underdog, on the other hand, receives a margin of points, so if he loses the match, he must do so within that margin of points so that the bettor can win his bet. Should a team stay within the margin of points at the end of the game, it is known as covering the spread. In the strange case that the teams finish the game tied and none achieved to cover the spread, the Sportsbook generally returns the money from the bets, since no team lost. However, since this is a situation that is not beneficial for Sportsbooks, they use the hook to avoid it.

 The hook consists of presenting the point spreads in half-points; in this way, ties, also known as push, don’t happen.

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What does the point spread look like, and what does each number mean?

Bettors will always see the spread presented as follows on the betting sites:

Miami Dolphins +6.5 (-110)

New England Patriots -6.5 (-110)

The number represented in half-point is the margin of points that each team has. Negative numbers represented the favorite team. If, after subtracting the point spread from the final score of that team, the team still has more points than the rival, they cover the spread. Positive numbers are assigned to the underdog and must be added to the final score of that team to determine if they cover the spread or not. The three-digit number in a range of 110 to 150 represents the amount of money the bettor must risk to win $100.

How does the Sportsbook calculate the Point Spread?

The point spread is usually available one week before each game, that is, Sunday night at the end of all sports. The only exception is week one, where point spreads are usually available a couple of weeks before. 

Oddsmakers calculate the point spread, taking into account several factors such as the public perception of both teams, that is, which team stands out as the favorite and which as the underdog, in addition to performance statistics, injury reports, strategies, game results past, among other factors.

As we mentioned in each game, there will always be a team that presents itself as the favorite to win, if the Sportsbook did not use the point spread it is most likely that all bets would go to the side of the favorite team, which is not profitable for the Sportsbook. 

The point spread is the tool that Sportsbooks use to avoid this scenario and create a balance where both sides receive a similar amount of bets.

Why does point spread change?

The players often noticed that the point spread that publishes on Sunday night vary throughout the week and even changes dramatically a few hours before the game starts. These changes are because the Sportsbooks are adjusting the spread accordingly with the number of bets placed. 

If one team is receiving many bets and the other is not, the Sportsbooks will change the point spread, making the team that was not winning bets more attractive. In addition to the number of bets on each side of the point spread, another factor that can dramatically change the point spread is injuries. Since the absence of a key player can create a window of opportunity for more advance gamblers to try to beat the line movement, which can leave the Sportsbook very exposed, for this reason, Sportsbooks will move the point spread immediately after obtaining the latest news about injuries.

Other essential factors that can affect how the team performs against the spread are, for example, which team plays in the home-field, where and when it was the last game of each team, the type of match, among others. Live bettors online must take into account all these factors when placing their bets on point spreads.