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Points spread +/- is the most common sports bet type made on many US sports. It is a bet that can give excitement to one-sided games because you can’t just bet the favorite to win. You have to work out if they will win by more than a certain number of points.

The point spread is betting on who will win the game with the favorite being handicapped a given number of points. This could equally be expressed as the underdog getting that number of points head start.

Applying the point spread can make a game even. Let’s say the betting community thinks Argentina are 1.5 goals better than England. Sportsbooks will put up a points spread market of

Selection Odds
England + 1.5 1.92
Argentina – 1.5 1.92

Let’s say you backed the underdog with the head start, indicated by the “+”. To determine if your bet was a winner, take the final score of the game then add the underdogs’ head start to their score and see which team is ahead. So if the final score is

England 1
Argentina 2

England 1 + 1.5 = 2.5
Argentina 2

If you back the favorite to win with a -1.5 goal handicap, 1.5 goals will be deduced from the favorite’s final score. As such you need the favorite to win by more than 1.5 goals for that to be a winning bet. So in this example the final score is

England 1
Argentina 2

Deduct Argentina’s handicap of -1.5 goals and you get

England 1
Argentina 2 – 1.5 = 0.5

If you bet on Argentina to beat the spread of -1.5, you have a losing bet.

## The Hook

Points spread will usually be a number and .5, known as the hook. This removes the chance of a draw which would result in a push where all bets are refunded. If a team had a handicap of -2 goals and then won the game by 2 goals there would be a draw. But with a handicap of 2.5, there can be no draw.

## The odds

When the points spread represents the betting community’s view of how much better one team is than the other, the odds will be 50:50 or “pick’em”, which means the same for both teams. This indicates there is an equal chance for the favorite to cover the spread or not.

## Asian Handicap

An Asian handicap is simply goal-spread betting on soccer. It is popular because it removes the frequent outcome of a draw in soccer by handicapping or head-starting a team by a number of goals with a .5.

A 2 way Asian Handicap such as Chelsea -1.5 & -2 means half of your stake is put on Chelsea -1.5 and the other half is put on Chelsea -2. This is sometimes displayed as Chelsea -1.75, so be aware if you see an Asian handicap listed as Home +.25 this will split half your bet as Home +0 and a half as Home +0.5.

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