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The NFL Point Spread
A point spread is a number created by oddsmakers offered to bettors to either take the favorite or the underdog. It was originally conceived as a way to let the public bet on the home team, even when the opponent was a highly superior team very likely to win. By offering points to these home team betters, they could level the playing field a bit, and fans could bet on the home team with a perceived chance of winning the bet.
Here's an example of a point spread:
Dallas Cowboys (-7) or Detroit Lions (+7)
A plus in front of a spread ( or line ) means that team is the underdog so you GET ( or TAKE ) that amount of points.
A minus in front of a spread means that your team is the favorite, so you GIVE that amount of points.
If you bet the underdog, after the game, you add your points to your teams final score. If your team has more points than the other team after you add your points to the final score, you are the pointspread winner.
If you bet the favorite, after the game, you subtract your points from your teams final score. If your team has more points than the other team after you subtract your points from the final score, you are the pointspread winner.
Pointspreads in football are NOT determined based on who the oddsmakers think is the best team, or who will win!
They are based simply on how many points are necessary to balance the betting load on teams. If heavy betting action is taking place on a certain team that is favored, then the bookies will adjust the pointspread to get more action on the other team by giving more points to the underdog. All the oddsmaker cares about it is the action, and the "juice" he collects form the losers. As long as the bets are even, he wins every week. So the point spread is not a measure of who will win, but a measure of how many bets there are on each team in any given matchup.
But keep this in mind, some of the betters are a large group of specialized gamblers, who may have information not available to the general public. So in fact the pointspread is set not just by the oddsmakers, but in fact by many, many experts. Then the pointspread can be furthur adjusted by the general public and how they choose to bet the home teams and the favorites.
The general betting public consistently bets the favorite.
For example, an oddsmaker will consult his computer, and determine, using game statistics, power ratings, and many factors, which team is likely to win by how many points. This is sometimes called the Outlaw Line. This line is then adjusted by the oddsmakers to the number of points needed to get the public to bet on the underdog. As bets are made, the oddsmaker may adjust the line, raising or lowering the points when too many bets are made for one team or another.
The point spread in football tends to favor the underdog better. Since the public tends to bet the favorite, the oddsmaker often have to give more points to the underdog than may be actually merited just to offset the bets made on the favorite. A good point to remember!
Football-Free-Picks.com has provided our winning football predictions ATS and SU absolutely free to all football fans for over ten years. We have never had a losing season!
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