Betting on Pointspreads
February 26, 2011
Basketball is one of the most popular forms of sports betting for one reason - pointspread odds. The concept of a pointspread is simple to understand and designed to even the chances for both the favorite and the underdog teams, making wagering on any team, in any game, an option.
This way of handicapping basketball is as old as keeping score itself. It’s the same as spotting an inferior team a number of points up front before the game starts to give them a chance at victory. This allows situations like one player having a big performance that keeps a game close enough to affect the outcome enough to stop, or help, one team from covering the spread.
Favored teams in a pointspread line are given a number that they must win by in order to pay out. If a team has a -9.5 pointspread to cover they must win the game by 10 points. The underdog team will have the same number to cover but it will come in the form of +9.5. This means that the underdog team can lose by no more than 9 points in order for a bet on them to pay out.
Pointspread bets are also assigned a payout value, usually in the form of -110. The -110 number indicates the amount that a correct bet on that team will pay. It’s essentially an even-money payout minus the 10% charge (or juice) that goes to the sportsbook for offering the action. It means that the bettor must bet $110 to win $100 in profit, or the proportional amount depending on the wager.
Its basic pointspread strategy to shop around at different sportsbooks for the best price on the game you may want to bet on. Not all books offer the same spreads, and it doesn’t make any sense to pay a higher price on the same game.