What Does +1 Mean in Sports Betting?
Aaron Bruce

With different types of sports bets out there, it’s important to know how to differentiate everything easily. Seeing a +1 in sports betting might seem odd at first, but those looking to take their betting to another level can benefit from this format.

What Does +1 Mean in Sports Betting?

A +1 in sports betting is a type of handicap or point spread for a team or individual in a matchup. This is a bet on a win for a particular side, with some adjustments to make it a little more even. The handicap adds on to the final total. A team that is getting +1 is a small underdog against an opponent.

Examples of +1 in Sports Betting

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A +1 for a team pops up in many different sports with a score. It’s not strange to see +1 as a point spread or handicap in any of the major team sports. How is a bet scored with a +1? Here are examples in football and baseball.

Dallas Cowboys -1
New York Giants +1

This point spread indicates that the Giants are slight underdogs at home. If played on a neutral site or in Dallas, the Giants could be getting as much as +4.5. However, a New York Giants +1 pick pays out to the gambler if the Giants win, or if the teams tie. If the Dallas Cowboys win by 1, neither team wins, and money bet on the contest goes back to everyone. If the Cowboys win by two or more points, someone betting on the Giants loses.

New York Yankees -1
Boston Red Sox +1

The same basic rules apply in baseball, except there are no ties. That means picking the Boston Red Sox +1 only pays out if they win. If they lose by one run, sportsbooks return the money.

Why are Some Point Spreads and Handicaps Fractions?

Two types of handicaps and point spread in sports betting exist: integers and fractions. A +1 point spread is an integer. A +1.5 point spread is a fraction. Why are both options out there?

It’s safe to say that more gamblers like fractions instead of integers. This eliminates the chances of there not being a clear-cut winner. No team can win by 1.5 points, so it’s a way to pick one side.

Sportsbooks will sometimes provide a +1 or +2 point spread to cover themselves a bit. They might not want to necessarily give up that extra half of a point. Most of the time, if gamblers look long enough, they’ll find a slightly different point spread instead of going with integers.

What do Positive and Negative Handicaps Mean?

A positive handicap is handed out to an underdog, while a negative handicap goes to the favorite. Sportsbooks will have different handicaps for games, but most of them will be pretty close. If someone feels strongly about one pick and finds slightly better odds, it’s always worth going in that direction.

When a point spread is +1, it generally means the two teams are extremely close. Some gamblers, in this case, might bet on the money line instead of the point spread.

How Often is a +1 Seen in Sports?

When a team has +1 as a handicap, that means the sportsbooks believe it will be close. This is an especially close game in sports like football and basketball, because the total amount of points is high for each contest. Even in lower-scoring sports like baseball, hockey, and soccer, this point spread indicates it’s nearly a pick’em.

Hockey and soccer see a +1 as a handicap most often. It makes sense, since these are low-scoring games overall. Sportsbooks will tend to go all the way up to +1.5 as well, just so that there is a clear winner.

Are Payouts Always the Same with Handicap and Point Spread Bets?

Most sportsbooks will use a handicap to make the odds even. However, going back to hockey, soccer, and baseball, that’s not always the case.

Some sportsbooks will list every game with the underdog as +1 or +1.5, and the favorite as -1 or -1.5. Instead of changing things up too much with the handicap, they will instead mess with the players. For example, if a team is really more like a 2.5 handicap or more, they will still get a decent payout. In the three sports mentioned above, this line is also referred to as the puck line, the goal line, and the run line, respectively.

Why Point Spreads and Handicap Betting in Sports Gambling Makes Sense

At the end of the day, a handicap in sports betting adds a nice wrinkle to the mix. Instead of picking a straight winner, it’s a pick against the spread. Some people love this type of sports betting because they can get better odds for the favorite, especially if they feel like they will dominate. The same can be said for those who want to take a chance on an underdog to at least keep things close.

No one is required to only bet with a spread. Some find it more profitable to go this way, while others never get the true knack of thinking that way. It does take a different mindset, but the opportunity to win is there.



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