Pickwatch tracks NFL expert picks and millions of fan picks for free to tell you who the most accurate handicappers in 2020 are at ESPN, CBS, FOX and many more are, straight up and against the spread. Point spread betting is the most popular form of sports betting. The vast majority of sports wagers use a point spread thanks to the popularity of football and basketball. Even though this type of betting is so popular, it may take awhile to understand. The point spread.
What is Against the Spread (ATS)?
One of the most popular types of sports betting is betting against the point spread also known as ATS. The point spread is a number aka the “betting line” set by bookmakers at the sportsbook which is intended to even the playing field between two teams and give a reason for bettors to bet on either side of the game. The betting Favorite is considered the better team and listed with a Minus (-) sign while the Underdog is listed with a Plus (+) sign. A bettor wins his bet on the “Favorite” if the team wins the game by more points then the “spread or line”, the opposite is true for the “Underdog” where the bettor wins if the team loses by less then the spread or wins the game outright! There are two types of spread betting, the first is betting with the spread and the second is betting against the spread.
Betting With The Spread
When you bet with the spread it means you are taking the favorite to win and cover the spread. For example in the NFL the Dallas Cowboys are Favored at -3 over the Philadelphia Eagles. Taking the Dallas Cowboys -3 means you are betting with the spread and want the Cowboys to win by MORE then 3 points.
Betting against the spread means you are taking the Underdog and the points in a game. To win you want the “underdog” to either win the game outright OR lose by less then the “Point Spread” you are given. A example of this we will use the following. The New England Patriots -7 vs NY Jets +7. In this example we are taking the underdog the NY Jets and +7 points. In order for us to win our bet one of two things must happen. First the Jets win the game OR the Jets lose the game but the final score has the Jets losing by LESS then 7 points. Should the final score be exactly 7 points this is a push and your bet is refunded.
What is ATS in Betting?
ATS is short for Against The Spread! Its a term used to track how well one team does against the spread meaning their won/loss record based on the spread rather then their regular wins and losses.
You get your original bet back plus your winnings. For example if you bet $110 to win $100 you would receive $210 back.
What if the result of the point spread bet is a loss?
You lose your entire original bet. For example if you bet $110 to win $100 you would lose $110.
This is considered a “push” and you are refunded your original bet back. For example if you bet $110 to win $100 you would get the $110 back.
How do you bet against the spread?
This is called a straight bet. A straight bet is the most common type of bet for betting on the NFL, NBA, College Football & Basketball. It uses the the point spread: When betting a straight bet you are betting on the team to “cover the spread the point spread”. Referring to our examples above you are either Betting with the spread or Betting against the spread.
This is same as betting against the spread however it may be used in NFL Pickem type pools rather the placing a straight bet.
Here are some wagering examples of bets Against the Spread
NFL – Football:
Team: NY Giants -7
Team: Dallas Cowboys +7
Final Score: NY Giants 28 – Dallas Cowboys 20
If you took the NY Giants as your pick at the sportsbook against the spread you would have won your bet! 28-7=21 Final score against the Spread is 21-20 Giants win!
NBA – Basketball
Team: Golden State Warriors -10
Team: Denver Nuggets +10
Final Score: Golden State 99 – Denver 90
If you took the Golden State Warriors as your pick at the sportsbook against the spread you would have lost your bet! 99-10=891 Final score against the Spread is 89-90 Denver Wins and covers against the spread, you would have needed to take the Nuggets +10 to win this bet ATS at a Vegas Sportsbook.
ATS in sports betting means – Against the Spread. Most sports bettors and handicappers use the acronym when referring to a teams won loss record against the spread AKA ATS.
Related Topics In Our Sports Betting Guide:
Free slots big win. Point spread betting is the most popular form of sports betting. The vast majority of sports wagers use a point spread thanks to the popularity of football and basketball. Even though this type of betting is so popular, it may take awhile to understand.
The point spread is sometimes known as an equalizer for sportsbook operators. All teams aren’t created equally, so sportsbooks can create a point spread for a game so that each team playing has an almost even chance of winning the game. In a way, the point spread will even the field for both teams.
The point spread gives a reason for bettors to risk money on both teams. The better team playing in the game is considered favorite. They have to win by the point spread offered by the sportsbook. The favorite in a game is listed as being minus (-) the point spread.
The worse of the teams playing in the game is called the underdog. The bettor wins if this team wins the game outright or loses by an amount smaller than the point spread. The underdog in a game is listed as being plus (+) the point spread.
Let’s use this past Super Bowl between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs as an example.
Using this example, the Chiefs were 3-point favorites over the Buccaneers. The Chiefs needed to win by 4 or more points to cover the spread.
Likewise, the Buccaneers were 3-point underdogs. That means the Buccaneers needed to win the game outright or not lose the contest by 4 points or more. At Chiefs -3, if they won by exactly 3 points, the betting result would have been a “push” and bettors for both sides would have gotten their wagers refunded.
The Buccaneers pulled off the upset, winning by a score of 31-9, and rewarded bettors who backed them at +3.
Point spread betting odds
Point spreads are usually set with -110 odds, but pricing often fluctuates at online sportsbooks. This is the sportsbook operators’ house edge. The odds guarantee the sportsbook operator will see a little money over time. When the odds are set at -110, the bettor must wager $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10).
The odds on a point spread are most commonly known as the vigorish or “vig” for the sportsbook. You might hear this small profit margin for the sportsbook called the “juice” by some sports bettors.
Sports Betting Winners
Point spread FAQs
What does ‘pick em’ or ‘pick’ mean in NFL betting?
A “pick em” (sometimes seen as “pick”) is when the teams have a point spread of zero, meaning neither team is favored. In this instance, you’re essentially picking moneyline and your bet will be determined on the winner alone.
What does -7 and +7 mean in NFL betting?
How Betting Against The Spread Works
A spread of minus-seven (-7) means that a is favored to win the game by a touchdown (technically, a touchdown and the extra point). A team favored by -7 must win the game by eight or more points to win the bet. If the team wins by seven, the result is a “push” and the bet is refunded.
A spread of +7 means the team must win the game or lose by fewer than seven points to win the bet. A loss by seven would result in a push.
What does -3 and +3 mean in NFL betting?
A -3 spread means that the favorite must win by more than a field goal to win the wager. A three-point win would result in a push and the sportsbook would refund the wager.
Betting Against The Spread Tips
A spread of +3 means the team listed as the underdog must win the game or lose by fewer than three points to cash the bet. A three-point loss would be graded as a push by the sportsbook and the bet would be refunded.
Why are point spreads in the NFL so much lower than in college?
In 2019, the Baltimore Ravens led the NFL in point differential per game at +13.7 points; the Miami Dolphins ranked last in the NFL in point differential per game at -11.7. Even Kansas City– known for their explosive offense– had an average point differential in 2019 of just 9.7 points. The net point differential in the NFL is -14.1, or -0.9 points per game. Basically, the talent differential in the NFL is so minute that even mismatched teams often draw games within a score of each other.
NFL spreads are most commonly between one point and four, with six being a heavy favorite and extremes coming out around 15-20 point favors. (For those wondering, the 1941 Chicago Bears hold the NFL record of point differential at +15.7 points per game. Conversely, Ohio State had a +33.1 average point differential in 2019.)
Point spread and odds movement
Sportsbook operators often aim to have equal money on both sides of a point spread. When the money is exactly split the sportsbook operator will see the exact vigorish as their profit margin. If all things are equal over time this will maximize how much money the sportsbook operator can make.
In an effort to have equal money on both sides of a wager, the sportsbook operator will move the point spread to attract money on the side that customers aren’t betting on. The odds for a point spread might change before the actual point spread. There are certain point spread numbers, like 3 and 7 in football, the sportsbook operators would like to avoid moving away from since the final score margin falls on these two numbers most often.
For example, if a lot more money is wagered on the New England Patriots -3, the vig may shift from -112 to -115 and -120 before the line moves to -3.5.
Run and puck lines
Football and basketball games are mostly bet using a point spread. The less popular major sports, baseball and hockey, are mostly bet using a moneyline. In an effort to make baseball and hockey more appealing to point spread bettors, the sportsbook operators offer run and puck lines, respectively.
These alternative lines give point spread bettors a chance to wager on other sports using a more familiar method of betting. Since points (runs and goals) aren’t as easy to come by in baseball and hockey, the odds with the lines may have a wider spread than a football or basketball game.