Point spread is a betting term that represents oddsmakers’ best estimate for the margin of victory between two teams in a game. Using this method, sportsbooks are able to offer higher payouts on bets placed on underdog teams while also limiting the amount of money that can be won by a team favored by a large margin. Point spreads are commonly used in NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB matches. They work by adding points/goals to the final score of the underdog and subtracting them from the favored team’s final score. If the favored team wins by more than the number of points/goals added to their final score, you win your bet.
As the game progresses, a sportsbook will monitor the volume of incoming bets on each side and adjust the point spread accordingly. This could be due to anything from a major injury to the team to the weather forecast. Point spreads move based on how much action is on each side as well as the overall quality of play on the field.
Point spreads tend to vary most in high-scoring sports like basketball and football, but they are still common with lower-scoring sports such as baseball, hockey and soccer (though they may be called something different there). These types of spreads can be found on all major sportsbooks and are known as ‘line’ bets. They are also sometimes called ‘point totals’ in baseball and hockey. Point spreads are often adjusted for home-field advantage in professional sports.