Professional Or College Football Picks Against The Spread Explained

5 mins read

Betting on sports has been around since ancient times. It started in China at about 1,000 B.C, where people are betting on animal races or fights. Whether it is bullfighting, cockfighting, horse races, or even beetle fighting, you name it; someone will bet on it.

In Ancient Rome, people bet on Gladiatorial events. The idea of sports betting is as old as sports itself. But not until the 1940s, betting is relatively limited in what kind of betting they could make. The usual system of odds allows bets to give advantages to teams with low chances of winning, for example, betting odds will provide a three to one odds that the Pittsburgh Steelers will beat the Cleveland Browns.

That was before a mathematics teacher from Chicago, Charles McNeil, invented the concept of point spreading. As an avid fan of gambling, Charles McNeil created “wholesaling odds” and started his gambling booking operations in the 1940s.

He offered his new style of betting or predictions on American Football, but eventually, the model grew and included basketball. Charles McNeil changed the landscape of sports betting, and his legacy still lives on even today. His methods are known today as point spreading.

What is point spreading and how does it work?

If you are new to sports betting, you might find it a little intimidating to bet on any sports besides whether the team you are rooting for is going to win or lose. This kind of betting is called money line betting or fixed-odds betting. It is the foundation of any wager. You win if your team wins, you lose if they lose, that simple.

But that is just the beginning when you are talking about how far you can take your betting game. Point spreading, is sometimes referred to as giving handicap, is referring to the number of points the odd makers will take from the favorite, or the number of points given to the underdog to even up the both team’s chances of winning the wager.

In most matches, there is usually a team that is a favorite to win based on their previous performance and other statistical factors. If the bet is between who will win between the two sides, the stronger team will always win against the weaker team 99% of the time. It will not be that exciting in terms of sports betting. Point spreading is designed to make sports betting a lot more interesting because it allows bettors to wager on the losing team to win money.

Let us break it down using this example.

Seattle Seahawks vs. New England Patriots

Seahawks +8

Patriots -7.5

In this example, there is a favorite and an underdog. The Patriots are the heavy favorite to win, and the minus value shows this in front of the 7.5. A plus sign represents the underdogs. The 7.5 and the eight value represents how many points both teams could win or lose.

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If the bettors think that the Patriots will win by more than 7.5 points, then they will bet on the heavy favorite, which is the New England Patriots. It means that the Patriots should win by at least 8 points for your bet to win. Perhaps you are more confident that the Seattle Seahawks can win the match or lose by 8 points or less.

In that case, you will want to bet on the underdog. If the final score is Patriots 20, Seahawks 15, the bet on the +8 point spread is a winning bet. Point spreading has a lot of factors. The Push/Point Spread Tie Rules, ATS or Against the Spread, or Point Spread Payout. But that is another topic for another day.