Where Does the Spread Come From?

The spread is one of the most popular sports betting options available to American sports bettors. It is commonly used when betting on NFL, betting on NBA, betting on MLB, betting on College Basketball and betting on Football - essentially all major sports.

It is crucial then that we understand not only what a spread bet is but where it comes from and how it can be manipulated.

All of the answers are here for you right now, thanks to Dimers.com!

How is the Spread made?

Like most sports betting odds, the spread line isn’t an exact reflection of an outcomes probability. The aim when an oddsmaker or sportsbook comes up with a line is — in an ideal world — to attract bettors for both sides/teams. 

If the Dallas Cowboys should be +5, sportsbooks will likely shift the odds in their favor to, say, +3. They know diehard ‘Boys fans will bet on Dallas no matter what and in doing so, the sportsbook has an extra two points in the bank. There are other factors of course, and the spread isn’t strictly determined by the above. 

Sports statisticians and mathematicians are heavily involved in the sports odds you see on a betting site or app. The X’s and O’s of the spread comes from examination of the wider betting market, statistics and data. Some of the research conducted may involve comparison of teams or players in key categories which may influence the outcome.

It certainly isn’t this simple, but so we understand the principal, if Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes were playing the worst statistical pass defense, there’s no doubt KC would be favored. The Chiefs’ strength would exploit the weakness of the opposition. 

MORE: What Is Spread Betting?

Why are the Spread odds -110?

Like any business, sportsbooks want to make a profit. Odds of -110 is essentially inclusive of a tax paid to the sportsbook. When there are odds of -110, you must bet $110 to make $100 profit. Other times you’ll see -107, -102 odds, which also ensure you pay the sportsbook a brokerage fee of sorts. If the odds were +100 or -100 there'd be no 'vig' or 'juice' for the sportsbooks and they'd only get their cut if they ended up winning the bets against the bettor.

MORE: How To Read Vegas Odds

When does the points Spread change?

Often there are sportsbooks that will release their initial spreads to professional bettors to get a feel for how accurate the line is. From there, they may adapt or adjust the spread before releasing it to the public.

Once out in the public betting market, the spread will increase or decrease depending on where most of the 'public money' is going. If a team has a +3.5 line, they are the underdog and can lose by under that specified number — or win outright. Conversely a -3.5 line spread means the team are favored and must win by above the specified number.

MORE: Where do Sports Odds Come From?


New Orleans Saints +6.5 — This means New Orleans must win, or lose by 6 points or under, for the bet to payout.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers -6.5 — The Bucs must win by a touchdown or more in order to generate a payout for Bucs -6.5 bettors.

When should I bet on the Spread?

There are two main options when it comes to the spread. 

If you’re confident about the number you’re seeing, then you should pull the trigger. When it comes to NFL betting, late Sunday night is a great time to check Dimers for the best spreads and odds across the United States. But, beware, betting the spread this early is fraught with danger because inactives are likely to be announced later in the week and thus moving the - and + lines a point or two either way.

Another alternative is to bet just before the game, we’re talking five to ten minutes prior to kickoff.

Why so late? Well, you’re hoping the public is going to be piling money on the other team which will swing the spread bet back in your favor.

MORE: What is the Money Line?

Why do sportsbooks have similar Spread lines?

Due to the globalization of sports betting it isn’t uncommon for sportsbooks to simply copy the spreads of other books. This method is cost effective and they end up with the same odds without all the data and betting analytics study. 

We don’t know which books copy others but we do know how you can find the best spread odds for every major sport in the United States.

MORE: What is Over Under Betting?

How do I take advantage of Spread odds?

Sportsbooks look to make money off of you. So, how do we fight back and win money from the sportsbooks?

The answer is simple — take advantage of what is known as 'the edge'. What is the edge, you ask? 

Well, this is where the probability of an event occurring is more likely than the sportsbook’s odds. In other words, our predictive analytics model suggests a team has a much better chance of covering the spread than the sportsbooks think! 

Taking these bets gives you a better chance of being a successful gambler long-term. Of course, the higher the edge, the better. While you’re not guaranteed to cover the spread, taking picks with an edge gives you a greater chance of being profitable well into the future. This is super important when trying to be a successful sports bettor.

For every major sports contest including the NFL, NBA, College Football and Basketball, MLB and more, Dimers shows you the edge and exclusive promo codes to sign up with America’s best sportsbooks.

MORE: What Age Can I Bet On Sports?


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