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"Covering The Spread" In Sports Betting Explained

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"Covering The Spread" In Sports Betting Explained
Written by, Asher K Sun 09 Feb

"Covering The Spread" In Sports Betting Explained

"Covering The Spread" In Sports Betting Explained

The world of betting may seem quite straightforward at first glance, but in reality, it is multifaceted and complex. There are several types of bets, and each has its own set of rules and regulations. You would have also come across the phrase “covering the spread” quite a bit if you’ve been betting a while now, especially if you’ve been looking into handicap betting. But what does that mean? How does a team cover the spread, and will it have any implications on your profits?

Handicap betting has been gaining popularity over the past couple of years. It takes traditional betting and elevates it, making it more entertaining and profitable. If you’re familiar with handicap betting, you’ve probably come across the term “covering the spread.” But before we explore what it means to cover the spread, let’s take a quick look at handicap betting first.


What Is Handicap Betting?

Don’t you hate it when a match is so obviously one-sided that you can tell which team would win without doing any extra research? While it’s great to know which team would win, this takes away from the thrill factor associated with betting. What’s worse is that betting on the obvious favorite would yield a very small profit because of the odds that a bookmaker offers. They are of two types, European and Asian. The basic principles are the same. The only difference is that European Handicap bets include a draw option, while Asian handicap betting eliminates this possibility.  

Handicap betting exists to counter these predictable, low payout, low anticipation betting situations. How? Well, the favorite to win is essentially given a handicap – disadvantage before the start of a game. The underdog or the team most likely to lose is given a head start. To illustrate, let’s consider a game of football where Liverpool is playing against Watford. In this situation. Traditional home/away odds would look like this.

Liverpool 1.10

Watford 5.25

Out of the two, Liverpool is the superior team. This means that if you were to bet on them, your profit margin would be negligible.

Handicap Bet
If this were a handicap bet, however, Watford will be given a head start. To win a handicap bet, Liverpool can’t solely win the game. They would be required to win the game by a set number a goal, 2 for example. This is what the odds would look like now.

Liverpool +3.0 @2.50 odds

Watford -3.0 @2.80 odds

This means that Watford begins the match with a three-goal head start. If Liverpool doesn’t win by three goals or more, the winning bet will go to Watford. This pretty much evens up the playing field. Both sides have a good chance of winning bets and could make good profits by betting on either team.

Now let’s get to the point – what does it mean to cover the spread?

Covering the spread essentially means that the favorite would win the bet even after considering the handicap. Taking into consideration the above example, Liverpool would cover the spread if they won by three or more goals.

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