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Against the Spread

What is 'Against the Spread'

'Against the spread' is an American-coined betting term used primarily in sports betting. It occurs by giving the favourites to win a points deduction before the start of the game. To bet against the spread means backing the favourites despite the points deduction in the hope that they will win by enough points to overturn the deduction.

'Against the Spread' Explained

Against the spread betting is a common term used in American Football as well as the NBA. In its simplest form, the favourite team is given a negative value before the start of the game. The value is determined by the bookmakers in the same way that odds are calculated: the bigger the difference in form between the two teams going into the game, the larger the negative value of the favourites will be. At the same time, the underdog is given a positive value. Let's say the Dallas Cowboys are the favourites going up against the Cincinnati Bengals and the bookmakers have favoured the Cowboys by 6 points, that means that the Bengals are 6 point underdogs.Taking the point spread of 6 points into consideration, you would bet against the spread on the Cowboys if you believe that they can overcome the Bengals by 6 points or more. So if the Cowboys were to run out 22-15 winners, they have successfully won the game by at least 6 points, meaning that you can cash in on your bet. If the score was closer, however, at 22-19 in the Cowboys' favour, despite the fact the Cowboys have won the game, you wouldn't be able to collect on your bet as the score was within the margin of 6 points. In fact, if you deduct the 6 points from the Cowboys, they would run out 16-19 losers.By betting against the spread, you are increasing your odds; the payout on against the spread betting is larger than a simple win bet as it gives the underdog a headstart.