Betting against the point spread is one method of wagering on NBA basketball, and it’s a form of betting that is used more often than other betting types.
Because it’s so popular, you may be curious about how this type of betting works and what advantages it has. To help you learn what you need to know, we’ve created a practical quick guide. Once you’ve discovered the way that this type of betting works, as well as its benefits, you’ll be ready to decide if wagering against the point spread is really right for you.
When a couple of NBA basketball teams go up against one another, an odds maker in Las Vegas will assign a number, via a mathematical formula which ensures that a game is handicapped properly. In other words, if one team is perceived as the stronger contender, it will lose points from its final score, in order to determine who will be the victor of the point spread. The team that is perceived as the underdog will receive points, rather than having them deducted. These points will then be added onto the final score. The point spread is used in order to balance talent on both sides, and it’s for betting purposes only.
Now, let’s create an example, so you can understand the concept more easily.
Detroit Pistons +17
Chicago Bulls -17
The example we’ve made up demonstrates a couple of things. If you wager on the Pistons (the weaker team), the sports book service will offer you 17 extra points, which you’ll add to the final score of your preferred team. If Detroit's final score, plus the extra 17 points, is higher than the actual final score of the opponent, then you will “beat” the point spread. In other words, your bet will be a success.
Conversely, if you decide to wager on the Chicago Bulls at -17, you must subtract 17 points from the final score of your preferred team. At this point, if you have more than the actual score of the Pistons, you are a winner. If you have fewer points, you’re out of luck. As you can see, the point spread equalizes sports betting.
When exploring a point spread, the stronger team will always have a (minus) sign ahead of the number, and the weaker team will always be assigned a (plus) sign before the number. It’s really pretty simple to understand, isn’t it? Good teams have minus signs, weaker teams have plus signs.
However, some teams are naturally closer in terms of talent and performance. When these NBA teams go head to head, the point spread isn’t as large. Some games are called “pickems”, and this indicates that there isn’t any point spread at all, because it just isn’t necessary. The teams are already equal enough.
Now that you know more about the NBA basketball point spread, you’ll be ready to decide if this form of betting is good for you.