NFL and NBA betting

The two most popular ways to bet on sports in the US are the money line and the spread. The money line is basically about guessing the winner. The balancing of various matchups is done through the different payout rates that the favorites and the underdogs carry. The two most popular betting markets, the NFL and NBA are about spread betting though. Betting on the spread is quite probably the easiest and simplest of all formats, and it is a hell of a lot better odds-wise than just about any of the systems used for betting on soccer games.

How exactly does spread betting work though?

The spread is basically a points differential introduced by the bookmaker with the purpose of being able to balance the game. One of the teams (the favorite) is given a handicap at the start of the game. It's as if this team began the game a few points down. If it fails to win at a points differential bigger than the spread, it is said that it fails to cover the spread, and all the wagers placed on it will be declared losers. If the favorite manages to cover the spread, then all those who wagered on it will be winners.

The underdog’s is an easier job, at least as far as the betting aspect of the game is concerned. All the dog has to do is to prevent the favorite from covering the spread. What this means is that if the underdog loses at a points differential smaller than the spread, it becomes an ATS winner, despite the fact that it loses SU.

Here's an actual example. Suppose the Miami Heat are 10 point favorites over the Golden State Warriors. That means that the Heat start the game 10 points down. In order for them to become winners at the books, they need to beat the Warriors by more than 10 points. If they fail to do so, they will still get a mark in the W column, but bettors who wagered on them will certainly not. If the Heat beats the Warriors by more than 10, all those who wagered on the favorite will win. Bettors who have action on the Warriors only need the Golden State boys to not lose by more than 10, in order to win their wagers.

Why was the spread ever introduced?

I'm not 100% percent certain, but it’s probably got to do with the way the bookmaker balances its games. The bookie uses the spread to turn an obviously uneven game into a perfectly balanced 50-50 proposition, both sides of which are equally attractive to would be bettors.

A perfectly balanced game is one that carries absolutely no value for bettors on either side. Balance is just what the bookmaker needs to make risk-free money (by paying the winners with money dropped by the losers and keeping the juice to himself), and he uses the spread to achieve it. The bookmaker dreads unbalanced games because they force him to make an uncomfortable choice. He can elect to cover the eventual winners from his own pockets, or to move the line around in order to reestablish the balance by attracting additional bettors onto the slighted side of the matchup. This is the exact reason why savvy bettors need to be experts in tracking the movements of the line.

In football and basketball betting, pretty much everything revolves around the spread. Beating the negative long-term expected value created by the bookmaker's juice is only possible through the hidden value. Of course, online bookmaking services offer their members sign-up bonuses as well, and these should always be taken full advantage of. Bonuses and loyalty deals work the same way they do in online poker. Rakeback deals are some of the best yield loyalty deals in poker. Sign up to rakemeback.com to take advantage of the best rakeback deals available anywhere. For those looking for a bigger bang, pokerprops.com offers the alternative of poker prop deals, which are basically extremely generous rebate deals, that – unlike square rakeback deals - come with a few strings attached.