Because most athletic events have a favorite, bookmakers use a spread to level the playing field. One of the most often used sports betting words is “against the spread,” abbreviated as “ATS”. So, what does against the spread mean?
Betting against the spread is the same as betting on a point spread. Most commonly, you’ll discuss your record against the spread. This refers to the number of games in which the team you bet on covered the spread versus the number of games in which the team did not.
When someone talks about their performance against the spread, they’re not referring to:
- Moneyline betting
- Totals betting
- Proposition betting
In football and basketball, you may bet against the spread, but not in baseball or hockey. Point spreads are most frequent in NFL betting, but they’re also common in NBA betting.
When you wager “against the spread“, the favorite must win by a certain margin (the point spread) to “cover the spread“.
Let’s take a look at some of the fundamentals of spread betting.
Point Spread Betting: What Is It And How Does It Work?
The goal of point spread betting is to level the playing field between two unevenly matched teams. Here, you are not picking a team to win outright, as you would with a moneyline bet. Rather, spread betting determines the outcome of your wager based on the margin of victory.
The spread is sometimes described as a great equalizer since it is meant to make every game a 50/50 proposition. It’s vital to understand that just because your team won the match doesn’t imply you’ve won your spread bet as well.
In moneyline betting, a negative (-) number of points indicates the favorite. On the other hand, a positive (+) number of points indicates the underdog. Favorites must win by more points than the spread to “cover the spread”. Meanwhile, underdogs must not lose by more points than the spread.
What Does Betting Against The Spread Mean?
When you bet against the spread, you’re betting on the underdog and the points in a game. To win, you want the “underdog” to either win the game outright or lose by a smaller margin than the “Point Spread” you’re given. As an example, consider the following.
The New England Patriots are favored by a score of -7 over the New York Jets, who are favored by a score of +7. In this case, we’re going with the underdog New York Jets and a point spread of +7. One of two things must occur for us to win our wager. First, the Jets must either win the game or lose by less than 7 points. If the final score is precisely 7 points, the game is called a tie. Also, you will get back your wager.
What Will Happen If I Win My ATS Bet?
In this case, you will receive a refund of your initial wager as well as any winnings. For example, if you bet $110 to win $100, then you would receive $210 back.
What If My ATS Bet Result Is A Loss?
In this scenario, you also lost your entire wager. For instance, if you wager $110 on a $100 win, you will lose $110.
What If My ATS Bet Results In A Tie?
Then, it will become a “push”. In this case, you will receive your initial wager back. For example, if you bet $110 and win $100, you will be refunded $110.
How To Place An ATS Bet?
Betting against the spread is often referred to as a straight bet. The straight bet is one of the most common types of sports bet on the NFL, NBA, College Football, and Basketball.
When you place a straight bet, you’re betting on the team to “cover the spread”. You can either bet with the spread or against the spread, as shown in the examples above.
ATS Betting: What Can Change The Point Spread?
In sports betting, point spreads are also subject to changes. Factors like weekly injury updates and where the money is flowing can influence the point spread.
If one side is receiving an unequal proportion of wagers, or if a key player is injured, bookmakers will adjust the betting line to reduce their own risk.
Let’s say Cam Newton twists his ankle the day before the game and is unable to play, the Patriots may struggle to score touchdowns. As a result, we predict the spread in our case study to narrow, arriving somewhere around New England -3.5.
In other cases, the sportsbook may simply lower the vig to encourage bets on a specific side of the game. Are you planning to bet against the spread? Then, you should look out for sports betting sites that offer spreads at -105 odds instead of -110.
If you’re lucky, you may even find the occasional point spread bet with +100 odds attached to one team. This represents an even-money wager. It means the payout if your team covers will be equal to the amount you bet.
How To Calculate The Payouts of ATS?
|Chiefs||+7.5 (-100)||+175||48.5 (-110) O|
|Patriots||-7.5 (+100)||-220||48.5 (-110) U|
You may notice that each spread in the chart above has a three-digit number next to it. Also, it looks suspiciously like a moneyline. In essence, it is a moneyline odds. Those negative digits (-110 in this example) represent the amount of money you must wager to win $100. Take note that when betting against the spread, bookies still take a cut.
In most cases, you’ll see “even bets”. It means that the payout is the same regardless of who you bet on. However, as you’ll see in the chart for our following example, this isn’t always the case.
|Seahawks||+3 (-105)||+115||49.5 (-110) O|
|Packers||-3 (-115)||-140||49.5 (-110) U|
The Packers are a three-point favorite in this game, but bettors must pay a premium to play them against the spread. The bookmaker, on the other hand, appears to be enticing you to place a -105 spread wager on the Seahawks.
Would you win if you bet on Seattle to cover the spread if the final score is Seattle 21 – Green Bay 28?
No. They were defeated by a margin of more than three points.
Is ATS Betting Available in Other Sports?
The most popular form of spread betting is betting against the spread of NFL or college football, but there are other options. Other sports betting events also use point spread, such as:
Bookmakers occasionally referred point spreads by different names. Despite that, they all pertain to the same operating concept as the spread.
In summary, a spread is the number of points added or subtracted from one team’s total to determine the winner. Winning against the spread refers to betting on the favorite and coming out on top.
If you have any questions, refer back to our NFL examples above. Also, keep in mind that spread betting works the same way in basketball and other high-scoring sports. Finally, keep an eye out for half points, which indicate that there is a result. Yet, it may not necessarily be in your favor.
ATS Betting FAQs:
What Does Picking Against The Spread Mean?
This is similar to betting against the spread. Yet, instead of placing a straight bet, you can use pick against the spread in NFL Pickem pools.
What Does ATS Mean?
Against The Spread (ATS) refers to a team’s performance against the spread. Also, it refers to how well they win and lose based on the spread rather than their usual wins and losses.
What Is Betting With The Spread Mean?
When you bet against the spread, you’re betting for the underdog to win and cover the spread. In the NFL, for example, the Dallas Cowboys are favored by -3 points over the Philadelphia Eagles. When you take the Dallas Cowboys -3, you’re betting against the spread. In addition, you are hoping for the Cowboys to win by more than 3 points.