How the Point Spread Is Formulated, Explained

How the Point Spread Is Formulated, Explained - Published
July 22, 2022

When it comes to betting on sports, one of the most popular bets is the point spread. This bet is made when one team is favored to win by a certain number of points, and the other team is considered the underdog. The point spread is designed to even out the odds so that both teams have an equal chance of winning.

In this blog post, we will explain everything you need to know about how the point spread is formulated. We will answer all of your questions, and provide you with a comprehensive overview of this betting system!


The point spread. The “great equalizer.” Most of the time, oddsmakers attempt to devise a point spread that produces the least amount of risk for the sportsbook while effectively guaranteeing a profit. The goal of the point spread is to encourage equal betting on both teams.

Given the relative quality of the teams, many people believe that the point spread is established so that both outcomes in a game— (1) the favorite covering and (2) the underdog covering—are equally plausible. The vast majority of the time, bookmakers attempt to devise a point spread that will entice equal wagering on both sides. This is sometimes similar to a results-oriented spread—one that produces a completely fair playing field—but not always since the general public isn't always a rational actor.

So, how is the point spread formulated?  The point spread can be a complex formula, but our experts have years of experience crafting perfect lines for bettors. Point spread is one of the most popular bets in sports betting.

Steps In Formulating The Point Spread

The first step in formulating the point spread is to find the difference in the two teams' scores. This number is then adjusted based on a number of different factors, including the strength of each team's offense and defense, home field advantage, and more.

Second,  the oddsmakers will look at each team's record to see how they have performed in previous games. This information is used to help them determine how likely it is for each team to win or lose.

Third, the point spread is adjusted based on public perception. If the majority of people are betting on one team to win, the point spread may be adjusted to make it more enticing for bettors to bet on the other team.

Lastly, the point spread is finalized and announced before the game begins. Once it is announced, bettors can place their bets!

Common Questions How the Point Spread Is Formulated

How is the point spread different from the moneyline?

The point spread is used in conjunction with the moneyline. The moneyline is simply the odds on which team will win the game outright, without taking into consideration any points. The point spread adds a level of complexity to the bet, as it handicaps each team by a certain number of points.

What if I bet on the favorite and they lose by exactly the number of points I bet?

This scenario is known as a "push." If this happens, your bet will be returned to you and you will neither win nor lose any money.

Can I bet on both teams in a single game?

Yes! This is called "betting the spread." If you bet on the favorite, they must win by more than the point spread in order for you to win your bet. If you bet on the underdog, they can lose by less than the point spread and you will still win your bet.

Now that you know how the point spread is formulated, you can place your bets with confidence! Good luck!

If you're looking to get started in sports betting, check out our how-to guide. It covers everything from finding the right sportsbook to understanding common betting terms. Plus, it includes a step-by-step guide on how to place your first bet. Sports betting can be confusing, but we're here to help you every step of the way!