What is a point spread in NFL betting?

The NFL betting market offers plenty of options for bettors to choose from, which at the same time makes the gambling process more entertaining and complicated for beginners. With NFL betting, just like in any other sport, there are different bets you can choose from.

One of the most often picked bets is the one concerning NFL point spreads. The official definition of the point spread is a bet on the margin of victory in a game. But this doesn’t explain a lot, does it?

NFL point spread is a unique betting type that allows you to bet on the difference between the stronger team which is the favorite and the weaker team as an underdog for both to win or lose without going over the spread set by the bookmaker.

Since this is a unique bet to make, we thought that we dig a bit further and explain how point-spread NFL bets work in the real world.

What is a Point Spread Bet?

A point spread is a numerical separation between two competitors in the NFL where a number represents the oddsmaker’s and betting market’s best guess about the team that is going to win or lose the match.

Based on the team’s performances and their strengths, the point spread can be as little as a few points, and go as high as 25 points or more if there is a big difference between the teams.

When it comes to professional sports like the NFL, in most cases there isn’t a significant difference between the teams, which means that the spread isn’t often very big.

If we take two teams from the NFL like the LA Rams and Bengals, let’s say that the LA Rams were the favorite to win the match by -4 points. This means that the Rams need to win by 5 points or more in order to cover this spread.

On the other hand, the Bengals have +4 which means that they should either win the match or not lose by more than 5 points to cover the spread.

Since the spread in this case is in favor of the LA Rams as being the favorite in the match, it they win the game by exactly 4 points, not going over the spread, the result would be a “push” and bettors will get their wager refunded.

Covering the Spread – What Does it Mean?

People are often confused about how the spread is covered in NFL matches, and we are here to explain how spreads work.

If we take the previous example between the Bengals and the LA Rams, we can see that both teams have 4 spreads, which means that they should win by more than 4 points. Point spreads are usually a decimal number, just to avoid “push” or a situation where the teams finish exactly the same and do not go over the spread.

For example, if a spread between the Chiefs and the Buccaneers is set for -3.5 in favor of the Chiefs, they’ll need a minimum of a four-point difference in other to cover the spread. So, if the game finishes 27-24, the point spread is not covered since the difference is 3 points.

On the other hand, we can see that the Buccaneers lost, but they’ve managed to cover the spread since they didn’t lose by 4 or more points.

What is Vig or Juice in Point Spread Betting?

Another thing to consider when placing a point spread bet is the “vig” that is required by the bookmaker for providing you with a chance to bet on the point spread.

However, when placing a point spread bet, the handicap isn’t the only number offered by the bookmaker. Along with the “+4” or other spread, you’ll get another number alongside it. In American sportsbooks which most often use American odds, there will be a number such as “-110”.

This is the price you should expect to win or the odds of the match. In this case, you should place $11 to win $10.

The Vig or the Juice that is often required by the sportsbook is a fee that they require when placing point spread bets and it provides them a chance to make a profit. For example, a sportsbook can offer a point break bet for Team A +3 and Team B -3 and if people bet both ways they will break even.

However, the vig forces people to pay fees per bet just to prevent such activities in the betting space.

This fee is around 2.38% of every bet, which means that bettors need to win more than 50% of their bets in order to break even. Since the vig takes a percentage of each bet, it is an important part to consider in the process when placing point spread bets.

After all, it is all about making profits and the only way to do that is if you create a good bankroll strategy.