What Is + And – Mean In Sports Betting Spread?

Sports betting has become increasingly popular, drawing interest from casual and experienced bettors alike.

One of the key aspects of understanding sports betting is grasping the concept of the plus (+) and minus (-) symbols. These signs play a crucial role in determining the odds and point spreads in various sports events, thus affecting your betting decisions.

The plus and minus symbols are primarily associated with the point spread and betting odds. In the context of the spread, the minus sign is attributed to the favorite team, while the plus sign represents the underdog. This system allows bettors to understand the dynamics of the match and make more informed choices when placing their wagers.

Additionally, these symbols are also used to indicate the odds for a given sports event. This information helps bettors assess the potential risks and rewards of their bets, enabling them to make smarter decisions. Understanding the plus and minus symbols is an essential aspect of successful sports betting, and becoming familiar with their application can significantly enhance your betting experience.

Explaining + And – In Sports Betting

Point Spread

In sports betting, the point spread is a way to equalize the chances of winning for both the favorite and the underdog teams. By assigning a specific number of points to each team, bettors are essentially wagering on the margin of victory or defeat.

For example, if the point spread for a basketball game is -7 for the favorite and +7 for the underdog, the favorite team must win the game by 8 points or more for a wager on them to be successful, while the underdog team must either win outright or lose by fewer than 7 points for a bet on them to pay off. This method of betting helps to create a more leveled playing field and makes games more exciting for bettors.


The moneyline is a more straightforward form of betting that involves picking the outright winner of a game, regardless of the final point difference. In this case, the odds are expressed as a “+” or “-” symbol followed by a number, which represents the potential return on a bet.

For instance, a +150 moneyline means a bettor would potentially win $150 for every $100 wagered should their chosen team emerge victorious. On the other hand, a -150 moneyline signals that a bettor would need to risk $150 to potentially win $100 if their team were to win. Moneyline bets can be more appealing for casual bettors since they only depend on the chosen team winning the game, rather than covering a specific point margin.

Favorite and Underdog

In sports betting, the terms “favorite” and “underdog” are used to describe the team more likely and less likely to win a game, respectively. Favorites are often indicated by a minus (-) sign, while underdogs receive a plus (+) sign.

The size of the difference between the two teams can be determined in part by examining the point spread and moneyline odds. A large point spread or a more significant negative number (-) on the moneyline for the favorite reveals a more substantial perceived difference in team strength, whereas a smaller spread or positive (+) moneyline for the underdog implies a closer expected contest. Understanding the roles of favorites and underdogs in sports betting can help bettors make more informed decisions when placing wagers.

Types of Sports and Their Betting Spreads


In football, the NFL is the most popular league for sports betting. Point spreads for football games usually range from 1 to 14 points, but they can go higher depending on the teams’ strengths. A typical example could be the New York Giants as a +7 point underdog, meaning they’re expected to lose by 7 points, while their opponents would be a -7 point favorite to win.


In basketball, the NBA is the favored league among bettors. Point spreads in basketball games can vary significantly, ranging from 1 point to over 20 points. It is common for strong teams to have a high negative point spread, while weaker teams have a positive point spread. For example, the Golden State Warriors may have a -12 point spread while the Phoenix Suns have a +12 spread.


Major League Baseball (MLB) differs from other sports in that the spreads are based on the run lines, which usually stand at -1.5 or +1.5 runs. The favored team would have a -1.5 run line, meaning they must win by at least 2 runs for bettors to win their bets. Conversely, the underdog team would have a +1.5 run line, allowing them to lose by 1 run or win outright for bettors to cash in.


In the National Hockey League (NHL), sports betting spreads use puck lines, similar to the run lines in baseball. The puck lines are typically set at +1.5 or -1.5 goals. Favored teams must win by at least 2 goals with a -1.5 spread, while underdog teams can win the bet with a one-goal loss or an outright victory with their +1.5 spread.


Soccer betting spreads operate similarly to other sports, with goal lines serving as the equivalent of point spreads. Goal lines usually range from 0.5 to 3.5 goals, with favored teams having a negative goal line and underdogs having a positive one. A team with a -1.5 goal line must win by at least 2 goals, while a team with a +1.5 goal line can lose by one goal or win outright and still satisfy bettors.


Golf betting can involve various types of bets, such as head-to-head matchups or betting on the overall winner of a tournament. The betting spreads in golf are represented as either positive or negative odds, with favorites carrying negative odds and underdogs positive odds. Bettors usually look at the odds and bet on the golfer they believe will perform better.

Horse Racing

Horse racing betting uses win, place, and show wagers as the primary betting types. The betting spreads are represented by the odds, similar to golf, with more favored horses having lower odds or even negative odds. Long shots will have higher odds, indicating lower chances of winning. Bettors can place multiple bets on a single race to increase their chances of success.

Odds and Payouts

Calculating Odds

Calculating odds in sports betting is a crucial aspect of determining potential payouts. Betting odds represent the likelihood of a particular outcome happening in a sports event and are directly related to the potential payout you can receive. There are various types of odds formats, including American (also known as moneyline odds), fractional, and decimal odds. Understanding how these formats work will help you make informed bets and maximize your potential returns.

Implied Probability

Implied probability refers to the conversion of betting odds into a percentage that shows the likelihood of a particular outcome occurring. This can be a useful tool for bettors when comparing odds and looking for value bets.

For example, implied probability for American odds can be calculated through a simple formula. With a positive American odds (+), the formula is $100 / ($100 + odds), and with a negative American odds (-), the formula is abs(odds) / (abs(odds) + $100). Here, abs represents the absolute value of the number, meaning that the value should be used without the plus or minus sign.

Different Types of Odds Format

  • American Odds: These odds are popular in North America and are usually represented by a plus (+) or minus (-) symbol. A positive (+) number indicates how much you can win with a $100 bet, while a negative (-) number denotes how much you need to bet to win $100. This type of odds format is commonly found in sports betting.

  • Fractional Odds: As the name suggests, these odds are presented as fractions, such as 3/1, 10/2, and 5/8. This represents the ratio of potential winnings to the stake. For example, if the odds are 3/1, you will win $3 for every $1 you bet, plus your original stake.

  • Decimal Odds: Popular in Europe and Australia, decimal odds represent the total return (original stake plus winnings) on a successful bet. For instance, odds of 1.50 means that if you bet $1, you will receive $1.50 in return, including your original stake, if your bet is successful.

Knowing how to interpret the different types of odds formats can help you make more informed decisions when placing bets and understand the potential payouts for each format.

Key Terminology in Sports Betting


A bookmaker, also known as a sportsbook or a betting agency, is an organization that accepts bets on various sporting events. They set the odds for each event, collect the wagers from the bettors, and pay out the winnings. Bookmakers often make a profit by balancing the total amount of money wagered on each side, ensuring that they earn a commission regardless of the outcome.


An oddsmaker is an individual who analyzes sporting events, takes into account various factors, and sets the initial odds for bookmakers. Some factors they consider when creating odds can include the recent performance of each team, injuries, and any changes that might have happened in the playing lineup.

The oddsmaker is responsible for setting the betting lines accurately to attract an equal number of bets on either side of the market, which can then be adjusted by bookmakers according to the flow of money.

Margin and Push

The margin in sports betting refers to the point spread between the favorite and the underdog. It represents the number of points that the favorite team must win by to “cover the spread” or beat the underdog.

For example, if the point spread is -7 for the favorite, they must win by more than 7 points for bettors who wagered on them to win. On the other hand, if the underdog has a spread of +7, they can either win the game or lose by fewer than 7 points for their bettors to win.

In certain instances, the final score of a game can land exactly on the point spread, resulting in a push. A push means that no one wins or loses, and all bets are refunded to the bettors.

Vig and Juice

Vig, short for vigorish, and juice are terms commonly used in sports betting to define the commission charged by bookmakers on each bet. This commission is the primary way that bookmakers make their profit. Vig is typically considered as a percentage of the total amount wagered, while juice is represented as the portion of the odds in betting lines, such as in moneyline and point spread bets. The standard vig is usually set to 10%, which ensures that even if bets are balanced, bookmakers still make a profit.

Strategies and Concepts

In this section, we will discuss various strategies and concepts related to sports betting spreads, such as covering the spread, finding value, and understanding spreads and overtime rules.

Covering the Spread

Covering the spread is a term used in sports betting to describe a situation where a team either wins by more points than the spread, or loses by fewer points than the spread. For example, let’s say the Seattle Seahawks are -7 point favorites to beat the Dallas Cowboys. If the Seahawks win by 8 or more points, they have successfully covered the spread. Conversely, if the Cowboys lose by 6 or fewer points, they have covered the spread as underdogs. Bettors often develop strategies to identify teams that are likely to cover the spread based on factors like team form, injuries, and matchup dynamics.

Finding Value

Value in sports betting refers to the difference between the perceived probability of an outcome and the odds offered by the bookmaker. Finding value bets is a crucial skill for sports bettors, as it can lead to long-term profits. To identify value bets, bettors analyze factors like team performances, injuries, and motivation levels, comparing their assessments with the bookmaker’s odds. If a bettor believes the likelihood of an outcome is higher than what the odds suggest, they may consider it a value bet and wager on it accordingly.

Spreads and Overtime Rules

Understanding the relationship between spreads and overtime rules is essential for bettors, as it can impact the outcome of a wager. In sports like basketball and football where overtime is possible, the standard point spread includes any potential overtime.

This means that if a game goes to overtime, the spread still applies, and the team must cover the spread considering the additional points scored during overtime. In sports like soccer, where games can end in a draw, overtime rules may vary depending on the competition and the betting market. Bettors should familiarize themselves with the specific rules and regulations of the sports they wager on to avoid confusion and potential losses.

Betting Lines and Wagers Across Sports

Point Spread Betting

Point spread betting is a popular form of wagering in many professional team sports, such as football and basketball. It involves betting on the difference in the final scores between two teams. This is also known as the margin of victory or point margin. In point spread betting, the favorite team is assigned a negative (-) value, and the underdog team is given a positive (+) value.

For example, a bettor may place a wager on the Dallas Cowboys as a -7 point favorite to beat the Green Bay Packers, who would then be a +7 point underdog source.

Moneyline Wagering

Moneyline wagering is another common form of sports betting where the objective is simply to pick the winner of a game, without any point spread involved. In this case, the + and – symbols are used to indicate the betting odds.

The favorite team will have a minus (-) value, which means the bettor must wager more money to win less, while the underdog team will have a plus (+) value, meaning less money is needed to win a higher amount. A bettor simply chooses which team they think will win the match source.

+ and – in Various Sports

The usage of + and – symbols in sports betting spreads across various sports and wager types. In football and basketball, these symbols are mostly used for point spread betting and moneyline wagering. However, the use of these symbols extends to other sports as well, such as baseball, hockey, and soccer.

In these sports, the + and – symbols may represent the odds for different types of wagers, such as run line betting in baseball, puck line betting in hockey, and goal line betting in soccer source.

While the + and – symbols can be found in various sports, it is essential to recognize that different sports may have unique ways of determining the winning wager. It is crucial for bettors to understand the specific wagering and odds structures in the sports they choose to bet on, in order to maximize their chances of success.

Choosing an Online Sportsbook

When venturing into the world of online sports betting, finding the right sportsbook is crucial to a positive experience. To choose the best online sportsbook for your needs, there are several factors to consider.

First, look for a sportsbook that offers a wide variety of sports and betting options. A good sportsbook will cover not only popular sports like football, basketball, and soccer, but also less mainstream events. This variety ensures that you can always find a wager that interests you.

Next, assess the user interface and website design. An easy-to-navigate platform is essential to place bets with confidence. The best online sportsbooks provide a clear layout, allowing you to quickly access key information such as betting lines, odds, and available markets.

Bonuses and promotions can also be a significant deciding factor. Many online sportsbooks offer incentives like deposit bonuses, free bets, and cashback offers to attract new players. Be sure to compare promotions and read the terms and conditions to understand any requirements or limitations.

When it comes to depositing and withdrawing funds, look for sportsbooks that offer a range of payment options. Reliable sportsbooks should support popular options such as credit cards, e-wallets, bank transfers, and even cryptocurrencies. Make sure the sportsbook provides fast and secure transactions, with minimal transaction fees, if any.

Lastly, consider the sportsbook’s reputation and customer service. Choose a sportsbook with a proven track record of fair play, prompt payouts, and excellent customer support. Reading user reviews and consulting reliable sources like OddsChecker will help you gauge the credibility of the platform.

By taking into account these factors and conducting careful research, you can confidently choose an online sportsbook that suits your preferences and provides a top-notch betting experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the significance of + and – symbols in point spreads?

The plus (+) and minus (-) symbols in point spreads indicate the underdog and the favorite in a sports betting event. In terms of the spread, the “-” sign always denotes the favorite, while the “+” sign represents the underdog. These signs help bettors understand the expected outcome and choose which side to wager on.

How does a +7 spread differ from a -7 spread?

A +7 spread means that the underdog is expected to lose by seven points, while a -7 spread implies that the favorite is expected to win by seven points. Betting on the underdog (+7) would require them to either win or lose by fewer than seven points to cover the wager. Conversely, betting on the favorite (-7) mandates that they win by at least eight points.

What does a -1.5 spread indicate in wagering?

A -1.5 spread reflects that the favored team must win by at least two points to cover the bet. This type of point spread is common in sports like baseball and hockey, where scoring is lower and ties are allowed. If the favored team wins by two or more points, bettors who backed them win. If the favored team wins by one or draws, bettors who wagered on the underdog win.

Can you provide spread betting examples?

In an NFL matchup, you might see the San Francisco 49ers as a -3.5 point favorite against the Los Angeles Rams. This means the 49ers must win by four or more points to cover the spread. If the 49ers win by a field goal (three points), the Rams actually cover the spread at +3.5. In an NBA game, if the New York Knicks are a +6.5 point underdog versus the Boston Celtics, they must either win outright or lose by six points or fewer to cover the spread.

How is +/- used in spread betting?

The +/- symbols are used to represent the point spread in sports betting. The “-” sign is assigned to the favorite, while the “+” sign is designated for the underdog. The spread helps even the odds for the underdog and adds extra interest for bettors. A positive spread (+5) indicates that the underdog can lose by up to five points and still cover the bet, whereas a negative spread (-5) implies the favorite needs to win by at least six points.

What do +270 odds signify in sports betting?

+270 odds in sports betting denote the potential payout on a successful $100 wager on the underdog. A bettor who wagers $100 on a team with +270 odds stands to win $270 (total payout $370) if they are victorious. The plus sign indicates that the team is the underdog in the matchup, and these odds typically encompass moneyline bets rather than point spread bets.

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