Very rarely are two teams created equal. Because of talent disparity, home-field advantage, matchups, etc., bookmakers and bettors typically favor one team over another.
There are two different ways to reflect this favoritism when it comes to wagering. The first is through moneyline pricing, which simply asks the bettor to choose who will win the game. This is more customary in baseball and hockey, where teams tend to be more evenly matched. Sports like football and basketball also have moneylines, but a more typical wager for those sports are point-spread wagers.
With a point-spread wager, the favored team is assigned a certain number of points that they must win the game by in order to cash tickets for bettors of that team. To better visualize this, imagine the Cowboys are playing the Giants in Dallas. The Cowboys might be favored by 7 points, or -7. The Giants are then underdogs of 7 points, or +7. If you decide to place a wager on the Cowboys and want to win (close to) the amount wagered, you will need to bet on the spread of -7. To win the wager the Cowboys need to win by 8 points or more. A 7-point win results in a push, and a win of 6 points or fewer (or an outright loss) will make your ticket a loser. On the other side, a bet on the Giants +7 would allow the Giants to lose the game but still keep it under a 7-point margin to cash a ticket.
When handicapping point spreads, there are lots of factors to consider. Decide how explosive an offense is or how dominant a defense is. Look for coaches and teams that play close games. Look for trends and consider regression. Keep in mind perceptions versus realities. Recognize that point spreads have more value in games with lower expected point totals and less value with higher expected point totals. If you can pick winners 55% of the time, you’ll turn a profit.
Whatever markets you like to wager on—point spreads, moneyline, futures, prop bets, etc.—you can get down on them all at BetAmerica!