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Spread Betting: What is it + How Does it Work? | IG UK

Are you an avid bettor? Here’s what you need to know about spreads in sports betting.

A sports betting spread is one of the most popular wagers in the industry. Sometimes a very strong team plays with a weaker opponent and the outcome of the game is obvious. However, a spread shifts each team’s odds and makes the game interesting for fans and players.  Spreads are commonly used in national tournaments that feature basketball, American football, hockey, and baseball. 

What Is A Spread In Sports Betting?

A spread is a bookmarker’s attempt to level a playing field for two opponents.  Before a game, he predicts a game’s outcome and expected points. One team is always stronger and this handicap favors the one that’s less skilled. The points have a margin by which the better team should beat the weaker one to win. 

How Is A Spread Determined?

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An oddsmaker mainly uses a team’s skillset to determine a spread. Most oddsmakers use mathematical rankings to refer to each game and consider which side professional wagers bet on. A team’s current form and unforeseen circumstances like injuries can also change a spread. Notably, the oddsmaker has a right to change the odds at any time since they need to even out scores to make money.

Reading A Point Spread

In the table below, Dallas Cowboys, the favorite team has a minus sign on its spread. Green Bay Packers, the team with the plus sign is the underdog. A bookmarker expects the Cowboys to win by 2.5 points and the Packers to lose by 2.5 points. One team must win. Most sportsbooks prefer half-points (2.5) because whole points are more prone to ties and this scenario doesn’t favor a sportsbook.

If you placed a bet on the Cowboys, they need to beat the Packers by 2 or more points to cover the spread and win. If they lose the match to the Packers or win by fewer points than 2, you’ll lose your bet. On the other hand, the Packers can win the match or lose. If you placed a wager on them, and they lose by fewer than 3 points, you’ll lose the bet.

Green Bay Packers +Dallas Cowboys –
Spread: +2.5Spread: -2.5
Score: 17Score: 29
Vigorish: -120Vigorish: -120

Vigorish a.k.a juice is the fee a bookmarker charges you for accepting your wager. In the above table, to win $100 on a juice of -$120, you need to wager $120. This calculation applies to all vig fees.

How To Bet Against A Spread

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To control a spread, you need to look out for information like sports injuries to pick your favorite or underdog. The team should beat a bookmarker’s margin. You can bet before or during the game because point spreads change. Consider the juice to see how much you can win. Also, use the following strategies to place a good spread bet.

Wait for other bettors

If you prefer an underdog, wait for a few days before the game starts to place your bet. Check which teams other bettors choose. Many wagers place a lot of money on strong teams and this may be a cue for you to bet on them too.

Calculate your own spreads

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You can simulate spreads for the games that interest you to check if you are off the mark. If the numbers favor you, place a wager. You can place bets on online and licensed platforms like  S188 Sports

Double your Bets

If your initial bet on a team is in your favor, place others to maximize your win. You can also wage on two teams if you believe it will work. 

How Much Can You Win?

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The amount of money you placed on a bet and the price of odds determine how much money you’ll win. Most bettors prefer the favorite team. They wager on winning and calculate how much they’re willing to risk. Use a betting calculator to get the exact amount you stand to win.


Point spreads are an interesting way to bet on sports teams. A spread is an oddsmaker’s way of placing a strong and weak team on the same level during a match. It’s important to understand spreads and how they affect your wager.

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Jay Immanuel is a passionate blogger who is keen to pass across relevant information to users in the web. He can be reached at [email protected]

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