A Point Spread is a way for oddsmakers to make matchups more even by adding or subtracting points to each team’s final score, the number of points that are added or subtracted is called the “spread”. In a Point Spread bet, the winner is whichever team beats or covers the spread. The favourite team, indicated by a minus (-) sign, will have points subtracted from their final score, while the underdog, indicated by a plus (+) sign, will have points added to their final score.

Since the favourite is expected to win, they need to win the game by more than the spread. The underdog can win in two ways: winning the game outright; or losing the game by less than the spread. Point Spreads are often set at half-point values to avoid ties since most sports have no half-points.

Check out this football example:
Screenshot of a Point Spread bet as displayed in PROLINE+

Baltimore is the favourite with a spread of -4.5. This means they need to win by more than 4.5 points to beat the spread. Cincinnati is the underdog with a spread of +4.5. This means they need to win the game or lose by less than 4.5 points. The odds for each selection to cover the spread are shown below each team in the matchup to help you select and calculate your potential payout.

To see if your bet has won, add the spread amount to the final score of the team you selected. For example, if you selected Baltimore -4.5 to win and the final score of the game is Baltimore 21 Cincinnati 17, your bet would lose since 21 - 4.5 = 16.5 and that would make the final score, Baltimore 16.5 Cincinnati 17. On the other hand, if you selected Cincinnati +4.5, your bet would win since Cincinnati beat the spread.

If a team wins or loses by the same amount as the spread, that is called a push, which means you neither win or lose; you simply get your money back.

TIP: Point Spreads are also called “Run Lines” in baseball, and “Puck Lines” in hockey.

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