Defining “Against The Spread”

There are two ways to bet sporting contests:

1. Moneyline

2. Against The Spread

Betting the Moneyline involves simply picking a winner. The rate of your return, should you win your wager, is based on the public betting influence. If you take the “favorite” to win, along with 545,608,942 other people, your earnings on the dollar are going to be far less, than say, if the public bettors were split between the two teams, 50/50.

Betting Against The Spread involves picking a team based on the spread. The more a team is favored, the higher the spread. To risk further confusion, take a look at the below basketball spread:

Indiana (-17) vs. Purdue (+17)

That is your standard ATS listing. In lay terms, this would mean that sports handicappers feel that IU should win this game by 17 points (They should, you guys). Favorites are listed with – #s, and underdogs with + #’s.

At the end of the game, you would subtract/add the number listed next to each team to determine the Spread winner. If the final score is Indiana 100 – Purdue 70, we know that Indiana not only won the game, but they covered the spread, as subtracting 17 points from their total would still keep them above Purdue’s total of 70 (IU 83 – PU 70).

From the final score, you would subtract the number from the favorite, OR, add the number to the underdog. Never both, dudes.

Football example:

UCLA (+6) at USC (-6)

Final Score: USC 27 – UCLA 24.

USC wins the game, and moneyline, but loses against the spread. Subtracting the spread (-6) from the favorite, USC, would put them below the UCLA total of 24. Here, we would have Lane Kiffin with a shiny 1-0 record, but an 0-1 record ATS. Fight On, Lane, there are bettors that need you to step it up.


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