Point spreads can be difficult for individuals to figure out if they are not familiar with how sports betting works. While a point spread isn’t an option in every sport, some of them rely on this method every single time for accurate opportunities. Understanding how point spreads work goes a long way towards being successful.
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What is a 2.5 point spread?
A 2.5 point spread means that the two teams match up pretty favorably, with one as the slight favorite. For the team getting -2.5 to successfully win the bet against the spread, they will need to win by three or more points. The team with +2.5 odds would have to either win, or lose by two points or less.
Why use a point spread for betting?
Anyone new to sports betting might wonder what makes a point spread necessary in the first place. The truth of the matter is that very few contests are a true coin flip or pick’em decision. There’s always a favorite and an underdog, and some sports gamblers don’t want to have to put a good chunk of money down just to win a little bit on a favorite.
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A point spread makes everything relatively even so that there are more consistent payouts. It’s a matter of personal preference, as money line bets exist for a reason. More opportunities to try out different strategies make sports gambling fun for most.
Point Spreads vs. Run/Goal Lines
Basketball and football are the two major sports that rely on point spreads consistently. However, in baseball, point spreads go by run lines. In hockey and golf, goal lines reign supreme. They work a little bit differently since the sports are low-scoring.
Very rarely will you see a +2.5 underdog in the low-scoring sports. What sports books will do instead is keep the favorites at -1.5, and the underdogs at +1.5. If a team is a big underdog, they will get a much better payout even at +1.5.
Alternative lines do exist that will fluctuate depending on the matchup. They all operate the same way, even if they go by slightly different names.
The Hook and a Push
Two common terms used in point spread betting that might not be familiar to the average person are the hook and a push. Some people only bet on games that have the hook in the point spread, meaning the half point that guarantees a winner and a loser.
The hook is particularly troublesome in football bets, as each score is worth multiple points. That’s why seeing spreads that are 2.5, 3.5, 6.5, or 7.5 are all particularly challenging to predict. A late score can alter the payout and leave the gambler frustrated.
A push only occurs if no hook exists with the point spread. There will be some sports books that list favorites by a whole number. An example is if one team is favored by three points over the other. If that favorite does indeed win by three points, all bettors have the full amount of money sent back to them.
While it’s not the worst outcome in the world, a lot of people don’t like having to deal with a push when they place a wager. It does save gamblers in some instances, but ending in a tie isn’t satisfying for all.
Is the Point Spread Connected to the Money Line?
A point spread bet and money line bet are two entirely different things, but they do help gamblers estimate what the other will look like. When the point spread goes up, the money line wager needs more to generate the same type of return. If the two don’t match up, this might be an opportunity for gamblers to pick which way they want to place a wager.
How are Point Spreads Used Outside of the Gambling World?
Even in a non-sports gambling setting, point spreads come up quite a bit. It’s an easy way to indicate just how big of a difference there is between two teams. Much will be made of early-season college football games when lines are released. Some are getting 30 or more points against a top 25 team, and it’s not out of the possibility to see a 50 or more point win in some scenarios.
Now that sports betting is becoming more mainstream, expect point spreads to be referred to quite often in everyday media. It’s the easiest way for even those not involved in sports gambling to process the difference between the two sides. It can be a way for fan bases to feel a little bit better about a loss. If their team expected to lose by 20 or more but they kept it within single digits, that can be a moral victory for some.
Are There Any Alternatives to Point Spreads in Sports Gambling?
Not everyone loves having a bet with a point spread. It takes away from picking winners outright, and that can frustrate some who don’t want to have to worry about backdoor covers or anything like that. For the sports gamblers, the money line might be the better choice.
The money line shifts the payout for picking a winner instead of using a point spread. For example, a +2.5 team with the point spread has a much better payout on the money line than the favorite. The point spread makes the payout for either pick roughly the same, but the money line moves a lot.
There’s also the option of staying away from betting on the winner altogether. Placing an over/under bet is an opportunity every person has through sports books. The goal here is simply predicting how many points the two teams will combine for. As simple as it sounds, pace of play in each contest makes a huge difference. One team might dominate, but if the other struggles, the total might still fall under.
Teaser and prop bets are two other options available for those who want something a little bit different. Make sure to look around the sports book and see everything they offer. It’s a way for people to place different wagers on the same contest if they want to stay locked in. Teaser bets have alternative point spread lines, while prop bets are on individuals and other game-specific actions.
How Does Overtime Work with Point Spreads?
Technically speaking, a sports book doesn’t have to count overtime if they say so explicitly in the rules. However, most are going to include overtime with a point spread. This can be a bit inconvenient, as overtime allows a team to win by more than they would in such a close regulation game.
A perfect example is in the NFL. More often than not, close contests have a point spread that’s three points or lower. If the game goes to overtime, the winning team will almost always win by a field goal or a touchdown.
Basketball games can even get more out of hand. Instead of a last-second shot winning a game and keeping the score close, five minutes is a long time for one team to pull away from the other. There are some instances where the winning team wins by double-digits in an overtime contest.
A Final Look at the 2.5 Point Spread
The 2.5 point spread is a perfect example of gambling with points consideration. It hints towards a close game, at least on paper. Things don’t always end up that way, but it’s a good guess on how things will play out.
This adds a bit of a challenge instead of just straight-up picking a winner and a loser. Style points might not matter much to teams, but gamblers pay attention till the very end to see how it all ends up. It’s worth giving it a shot and seeing how betting on the point spread plays out. Some love it, while others just never get the hang of it. Whatever ends up working best for any gambler should be the method they depend on. Many gamblers out there consistently win enough to make money with point spreads using their system to identify the best opportunities.