Football Betting for Beginners: Point Spreads

Betting on college and professional sports can be fun and exciting (as long as you play within your limit and have self control.) For casual gamblers or people who are new to the activity, here’s a brief intro into one aspect of sports betting.

Betting on college and professional sports can be fun and exciting (as long as you play within your limit and have self control.) For casual gamblers or people who are new to the activity, here’s a brief intro into one aspect of sports betting.

VegasFootballSpreads

TAKING THE POINTS/LAYING THE POINTS
In the NFL, the point spread can be viewed as the great equalizer. Let’s pretend the Pittsburgh Steelers are playing the Cleveland Browns (which they often do!). If the Steelers are favored by 7.5, you can either “lay the points” (meaning you’re betting on the Steelers, who have to win by 8 for you to win the bet) or “take the points” (meaning you’re betting on the Browns, who only have to lose by 7 or fewer points for you to win the bet). The oddmakers create point spreads because they want equal betting on each side of the number.

If the game has a 3-point spread favoring the home team, in reality the game is a “pick’em” game with home field advantage taken into consideration. A “pick’em” game is when the oddsmakers view the teams as even.

In the NFL, the home underdogs are often good bets with nice paydays. For instance, last season the Bengals were twice home dogs and ended up winning both games.

As far as betting on college football, don’t get too fixated with the large spreads that are often seen early in the season. (The strong teams often stack the first part of their schedule with easy games before they start their gruelling conference schedules.) For example, early in the season, you might see a line like: Ohio State -55 against Akron. By taking this bet you’re signing up for a nail biter that one missed field goal or interception at the goal line could mean a losing ticket.

Geoff Johnson

MTS co-founder Geoff Johnson is a lifelong Mets fan, something he can't do anything about. He has a great track record when it comes to wagering on baseball – largely because he's more than willing to bet against the Mets. His career profits are impressive, but not quite as good as his handsome friend Frank Lorenzo. He wishes he hadn't let Frank write his profile.