Betting the point spread is the most common football betting option, especially for Super Bowl betting, where the teams are so skilled and games can be so close. When betting the point spread, oddsmakers set lines based on the point difference they expect between the favorite and the underdog. If you’re betting the favorite, your team has to win, and win by the number of points (or more) in the spread. If you bet the underdog, they must either win, or lose by less than the number of points in the spread.
To put point spread betting into context, let’s take a look at the point spread for Super Bowl 50:
Denver Broncos +6 (-110)
Carolina Panthers -6 (-110)
Based on the 6-point spread, a wager on the Panthers would have been made if you believed they would have won the game by seven points or more. If the Panthers had won 17-10, then the team not only wins by seven points, but also covers the 6-point spread as the favorite. However, if the Panthers had won 13-10, then they won by three points and did not cover the 6-point spread, but the Broncos would have because they stayed within the spread. If you are still not sure how this works, take the final score and subtract the favorite’s value from their total or add the underdog total to their score to see who has more points.
In actuality, the Broncos won 24-10, which meant that anyone who bet on the Broncos would have profited from Super Bowl 50.
Something you might want to keep in mind heading into Super Bowl LI: In the last five Super Bowls, the favorites have lost straight up and against the spread. So keep an eye on the line moves, and make sure you do your research instead of blindly betting the favorites.