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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.