Spread Betting on Football

Spread betting is a fundamental and widely-used form of wagering in American football, encompassing both NFL and college football games. Unlike straight-up betting where you simply pick a winner, spread betting involves betting on the margin of victory or defeat.

What is Spread Betting?

  • Betting on the Margin: Spread betting centers around how much a team wins or loses by, rather than just who wins or loses. Bookmakers set a ‘spread’ that aims to level the playing field between two unevenly matched teams.
  • Favorite and Underdog: In each game, the spread indicates the favorite (expected to win) and the underdog (expected to lose). Betting on the spread means wagering on whether the favorite will win by more than the set spread or whether the underdog will lose by less than the spread or win outright.

How Does Spread Betting Work?

  • Understanding the Spread: The spread is represented by a plus (+) sign for the underdog and a minus (-) sign for the favorite, followed by a number. For example, if Team A is -7.5, they are favored to win by more than 7.5 points.
  • Placing a Bet: If you bet on the favorite, they need to win by more than the spread for your bet to win. If you bet on the underdog, they need to lose by less than the spread or win the game.
  • Balancing Bets: The spread is designed to get an equal amount of money bet on both sides of the wager, balancing the bets for the bookmaker.

Examples of Spread Betting in American Football

  • Betting on the Favorite: If the spread is -7.5 for Team A against Team B, a bet on Team A means you believe they’ll win by more than 7.5 points.
  • Betting on the Underdog: If Team B’s spread is +7.5, a bet on Team B means you believe they’ll lose by less than 7.5 points or win the game.

Strategies for Successful Spread Betting

  • Research and Analysis: Study team performances, historical trends, injuries, and other factors to make informed decisions.
  • Watch Line Movements: Be aware of how spreads change in the days leading up to the game, as this can indicate where the majority of the money is being wagered.
  • Consider Home Advantage: Home-field advantage can be significant in football and is often factored into the spread.

Why Try Spread Betting?

  • Popular and Accessible: Spread betting is one of the most popular forms of sports betting, offering a straightforward yet strategic way to bet.
  • Engagement with the Game: This form of betting keeps you engaged throughout the game, as every point can impact whether you win or lose your bet.

Understanding the Risks

  • Complexity for Beginners: Spread betting can be more complex than straight-up betting, especially for beginners.
  • Close Games and Spreads: Games that are close to the spread make for more challenging decisions and can result in higher risk bets.


Spread betting in American football adds depth and excitement to the game-watching experience. It requires not just predicting who will win, but by how much, adding a layer of strategy to your betting decisions.