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.

Example:

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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