What is a Point Spread or Side Bet?

A point spread is used in sports betting to even the odds between two unevenly matched teams. Each team is given a point total by the oddsmaker that can either be added or subtracted to the final score, thus factoring into if the bet was won or lost.


The point spread for Super Bowl XLI was:

Colts –7

Bears +7

The (-) before the 7 indicates that the Colts were the point spread favorites. The (+) indicates that the Bears were the point spread underdogs.

If one were to bet on the Colts, the Colts would have to win by a total of 8 points for the bettor to win. If one were to bet on the Bears, the Bears would have to win outright or lose by no less than 6 points for the bettor to win. A 7 point victory by the Colts would equal a push or tie.

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