If you’re looking for an exciting alternative to fixed odds or parimutuel betting, you’re certain to come across the term spread betting. The spread is a betting number used by bookmakers to level the playing field. In short, the favored team is required to win by more than the spread for the bet to pay off.

These bets have become increasingly popular, especially within certain sports categories, and all major UK betting sites now offer this option to punters. That’s why we’ve decided to tell you how these types of bets work, what makes them different from other bet types, and what their advantages are.

How Does Spread Betting Work?

A spread bet is a prediction of what will happen in a specified market for a particular sports event. If you’re placing a bet on the favorite, you should know that the bookie will have that team listed under a negative number. Meanwhile, the underdog is listed under a positive number. For example, if a favorite has a -6.5 handicap, the opposing team will be listed with a +6.5 number. Here is sports spread betting explained through this example:

  • If the favored team wins by less than 6.5, you’ll lose the bet. On the other hand, the underdog needs to win the game by any amount or lose by less than six points.

As you can see, this gives the less favored team an advantage, which significantly affects the odds. This is why punters usually find sports spread betting more rewarding than regular moneyline bets.

Understanding the Odds

Now that we’ve covered some basics about how spread bets work, it should be easier to understand how the odds work. Bookies create odds based on in-depth statistical analysis and will choose a favorite and an underdog based on the match.

A minus sign (-) always proceeds the point spread of the team that is more likely to win the game. The higher the number, the higher the chances that team will win. Meanwhile, the underdog is preceded by the plus sign (+). The higher the number, the less likely it is for that particular team to win the game.

Online Spread Betting

Placing a spread bet on a sports betting site isn’t complicated. All you have to do is follow these simple steps:

1) Log into your preferred sportsbook 

2) Choose a sport

3) Check out the list of games that offer spreads

4) Click on the favorite and the underdog

5) Enter the amount you want to wager

6) Place the bet

Whenever you choose to place a bet, you need to pick a reliable sportsbook. This isn’t always as simple as it sounds because of the exhaustive list of betting sites. So before diving into the exciting world of online spread betting, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Make sure the sportsbook you are interested in is licensed. Another factor that tells you whether an online betting venue is trustworthy enough is the promotion of responsible gambling. All reputable online sportsbooks promote safe gambling and offer self-exclusion options to punters.

What Is a “Push” in Sports Betting?

A push in point spread betting refers to outcomes when the final result of the game lands exactly on the number of the spread. Let’s assume we’re betting on a fixture between Liverpool and Manchester City, and Liverpool has a -3 handicap, meaning City goes by +3. If Liverpool wins the game by three goals, the bet is a push, and the bettor’s money is refunded.

Bottom Line

Spread bets are extremely popular, especially in the NFL and the NBA. They level the playing field by giving similar point spread odds to both the favorite and the underdog. This gives bettors more opportunities and increases their chances of making a bigger profit than they usually get with other bet types. However, there are also some negative aspects of spread bets. It’s really difficult to predict if the team will be able to win by the assigned margin, particularly in sports such as hockey or basketball.


What does a +7 spread mean?

A +7 spread means the underdog gets seven points, while the favored team lays seven points. In this scenario, the favorite will have a -7 spread, and the underdog will have a +7 point spread on the odds.

What does PK or Pick’em mean in sports betting?

If you see a PK listed next to the bet, that means neither of the teams are favored, and there is no spread. In these instances, the oddsmakers consider the teams to be equals.

Is moneyline or spread better?

A moneyline bet is a much safer option and one of the most straightforward bets. With a moneyline, all you need to do is pick a winning team. On the other hand, a spread bet is a wager on an outcome that requires you to predict who will win and by how many points. Since there is a higher level of risk involved with spread bets, punters are usually offered better odds.

What is a negative spread in betting?

A negative spread is the minus sign (-) that indicates which team is the favorite. That means they need to win the game by at least that same number of points. The underdog of the game must lose by less than their positive spread or win the game by any amount.