What Does Cover the Spread Mean In Sports Betting and Wagering?
There are two types of bettors in the sports betting industry and each of them has their own unique way of doing things. Some bettors strictly bet money lines. They say that the winner of the game should be the only thing that matters. However, the majority of the betting industry lives and breathes with betting the point spread on NFL and NBA games. They will tell you there is nothing sweeter than cashing a winning point spread ticket because they were able to “beat the Vegas line”. That’s probably a bit of an exaggeration, but watching your team cover the spread does feel nice.
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What Does Cover the Spread Mean?
If you hear someone using the term “cover” they are referring to a short form for “cover the spread.” A team can only “cover” when a point spread line is available to bet on. Depending on if you bet the favorite or underdog, covering the spread could mean winning by a certain margin or losing by less than a specific number.
How to Know If a Team Has Covered the Spread
I will pull no punches here. If you asked a few causal bettors (squares) to describe what it means to cover the spread, you would be shocked at how many of them don’t get the answer right. I’m not sure how this is possible considering they probably enjoy betting on the NFL, but this confusion is just one of the many significant reasons that sportsbooks makes the amount of money that they do.
Let’s use an example from the NFL to help squares understand what it means to “cover the spread.” If the Chicago Bears go into Lambeau Field as seven-point underdogs against the Green Bay Packers, then the Bears would be the “getting” points. This means that if you bet on the Bears, any result other than a loss by eight or more points, would cash your ticket. If you like the Packers, you will be “laying” the points, which means the only way to cash this ticket is if the Packers win by eight or more points – which means they will have “covered the spread.” If by chance the Packers win the game by seven points exactly, the game is deemed a push since neither team covered the spread.
How is Covering the Spread Different fromWinning Outright?
There is a saying amongst bettors that goes like this: “good teams win, great teams cover.” This statement couldn’t be truer. The difference between sharp and square bettors is that they know the only thing that matters in regards to a game is how much a team wins by and loses by. Square bettors tend to think that the better team will cover the spread easily. Sure, they may win the game outright, but teams never concern themselves with how much they win by. The sooner you can understand that concept, the sooner you will be prepared to efficiently bet on the point spread.
The successful handicappers pride themselves on their ability to continuously get better at calculating how much a team should win or lose by. Each of these handicappers has their own unique power rankings/formulas to calculate this data and they trust it more than anything. They also know when the risk is worth the reward, which is vital when betting the point spread since the prices remain relatively the same throughout the year. This means that you would need to hit at around a 52 percent winning clip in order just to break even betting -110 lines.
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