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Betting “against the spread” or ATS betting is one of the most common and popular ways for bettors to play. Although this particular style of betting has been around for a very long time, some people are still confused as to how it works. More importantly, most people don’t know when or how to use spread betting to their advantage.
From online betting sites like MyBookie and FanDuel to sportsbook betting at casinos, against the spread, betting is a useful way to secure winnings. However, before you can successfully use this form of betting to your advantage, let’s go over what betting against the spread entails.
Betting with the spread is also known as taking the favored team
Regardless of how you place your bets, one of the first things you’ll notice is the points spread. For example, if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were facing the Carolina Panthers and the spread was Buccaneers -6.5. If you decided to place a bet on the Buccaneers -6.5, you’d be betting with the spread because Tampa Bay is the favored team.
Any time you decide to take a team that’s favored, you’ll be giving up a certain amount of points. For instance, using the same example of Tampa Bay being -6.5, they’d need to beat the Panthers by seven points in order for you to win your bet.
What about betting against the spread? How does that work?
Essentially this is just the opposite of betting with the spread. When you bet against it, it means that you’ll be taking the underdog team or the team that the sportsbook believes is going to lose the game. Whenever a team is an underdog, they’re given a certain amount of points to start the game with.
The amount of points given is determined by the sportsbook when the line opens. Sometimes it could be as little as 0.5 points, the team being only slight underdogs. In some college games, the points given could be over 20-points, it’s up to you to determine whether or not the team would lose by less than that.
Using the same example from earlier, say instead of taking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -6.5, you decide to take the Carolina Panthers +6.5. That means at the end of the game, 6.5-points will be added to the Panthers score, and if that total is more than the Buccaneers, you’d win your bet.
How to use the points spread to your advantage when betting
The points spread is a useful tool to use when betting on close games. Sometimes, sportsbooks assign a small margin to a favored team just because they’re playing on the road or they’re down a valuable player. In those moments, you can do a little bit of research and capitalize on the bet.
A great part about betting with and against the spread is that a tie at the sportsbook is considered a “push,” and you’ll get the money back you originally bet with. It doesn’t happen very often, but it’s a great feature of spread betting.
Some would say that spread betting is for more seasoned bettors, however, even new bettors can have success in this format. Spread betting requires a little more research than betting the moneyline, but more research likely leads to more winning.
Is this format of betting worth it?
Any format of betting comes with a risk, however, with just a small amount of research, you can capitalize on the sportsbook. Early on in the season, you might be able to put a long string of wins together, considering the sportsbook is still getting a feel for the margins of victory.
When making your bets, take the points spread into account and decide if it’s the best form of action. Maybe the next time you’re thinking about betting the moneyline, you can actually bet with or against the spread, finding another way to win at the sportsbook.