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# What is point spread, how point spread works, what ATS means

What does "point spread" means in football and sports betting, how does the spread works and what does "ATS" mean is all answered below.

Many people all over the world love sports and many of them want to start sports betting, but a small obstacles, such as "point spread" and "ATS", make them uneasy with the whole sports betting thing. Here we will try to give you the easiest possible explanation of what is the point spread, how it works and what does ATS mean.

In sports betting, the major sports which use point spread as a form of wagering are football and basketball. Let's take the NFL football games as an example, once you've understood the point spread, basketball and other sports are the same, only more points on the spread. So what is the point spread? The point spread is an adjustment to the final score made by the bookmakers. Let's look at an example. At the online sportsbook Bodog Sports, the point spread on NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions is as follows:

Dallas Cowboys -11  (-105)
Detroit Lions +11  (-115)

Or simply, the point spread on this NFL game is -11 points chalk the Cowboys. This means that if you bet the spread on the Cowboys, Dallas need to win the game by 12 points in order for your bet to be a winner. Here is where the ATS comes to play, ATS means "against the spread", so the Cowboys are 11 points ATS. If Dallas wins by 11 points, the bet is "no action" and now one wins or losses. (See more spread examples and what they mean here)

From the above example, if the final score is Dallas 27 - Detroit 10, the Cowboys cover the point spread, since they won the game by 17 points (17 > 11), and if the final score is Dallas 21 - Detroit 14, the Cowboys fail to cover the spread ( 7 < 11) and you lose the bet. If the Cowboys lose the game, you automatically lose the bet as well, no matter the final score. For clarity, +11 point spread on Detroit means that you can win, even if Detroit loses, as long as they lose by less than 11 points. In the most basic form of the point spread, you simply add or subtract the spread from the final score.

On the above example, the numbers in the brackets are the payout odds on the event. For example, the -11 point spread on Dallas pays out -105 (i.e. you have to bet \$105 to win \$100 + your \$105 bet) and the +11 point spread on Detroit pays out -115. For more on how the betting lines work, follow the links at the bottom of the page.

The football team expected to win the game (the "better" team) is called the "favorite" and is the one with the "minus" sign in front of the point spread. The "weaker" team gets the + point spread, i.e. gets extra points added to the final score. That's it, now you know what the point spread is, how it works and what "ATS" means.

Published on 12/07/2007

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 How to bet on NFL football and college football How Sports Betting and Betting Odds Work

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