Covering the spread in sports betting is when the favorite wins against the underdog. Two teams are matched up, and the sportsbook determines the point spread. When a favorite is covered, the bettors win by a significant amount. In basketball, for example, the San Antonio Spurs are clearly the underdog and the Charlotte Bobcats are the favorite. If the favorite covers the point spread, the bettor wins money.
A spread is an amount that a bookmaker assigns to a team based on its statistics. For example, if the Rams were favored by 5.5 points over the Seahawks, they would cover the spread by winning the game by more than that. The spread isn’t the total amount that a team wins, but the probability that they will cover it. That’s why a large percentage of sports bettors choose to cover the spread.
If the Seahawks win by two points, the betting line is -2.5. On the other hand, if the Buccaneers win by more than three points, the spread is -1.5. That means that the Seahawks must win by at least 14 points to cover the spread. If the game ends exactly on the spread, then the bettor wins, but loses the bet.
When a favorite wins by the spread, it is considered a push. If the favorite loses by the point spread, bettors on the favorite will win. If the underdog loses, bettors on the underdog will lose their bet. Fortunately, a bettor will get their money back, regardless of whether they were right or wrong. There is a term for this called “vigorish.” This refers to the fee that a sportsbook charges for taking a bet. Normally, the vigorish is paid as a percentage of a winning bet.