The point spread is a number that the oddsmakers at the sports book come up with to determine the difference between the two teams playing each other in a given week. To use our earlier example of the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants, if the oddsmakers make the Eagles a six-point favorite the Eagles must win by more than six points to “cover the spread’’. If the Giants win, or lose by less than six points, than the Giants “cover the spread’’. But remember — and this is very important — the point spread is not a prediction of how the game will go. Too many bettors think that way.
The point spread is a number the oddsmakers come up with that they feel is fair to the bettors and to get an equal amount of money bet on each side. Why does the oddsmaker want an equal amount of money on both sides? Because of the odds and the “vig’’ or “juice’’ as it is called. Remember when you make a bet you usually wager $110 to win $100. So that extra $10 always goes to the house. If he exact amount is bet on two competing teams the house makes $10 on every $100 that is bet.