Amateur sports bettors are more familiar with the NFL point spread than any other form of wagering on football. There is the misconception by bettors that the odds makers set the point spread based on the thinking that one team is strong than another. This is a falsehood! Odds makers' set point spreads based on the publics perception of a particular team. The point spread is really the dividing line of public opinion. This means that the spread is the halfway mark between who the betting public believes will cover the point spread.

An example of this would be the Giants are favored by 6 points over the Bears. The point spread would appear like this

Giants -6
Bears +6

This means that the public has wagered at least 50% that the Giants will cover the 6 points and win by 7 or more. The other 50% of the bettors will take the Bears to either win outright or win against the spread (ats).

The only function of the offshore sportsbook is to find that dividing line; they are not in any way predicting the outcome of the game. A bookmaker's challenge is to balance the amount of money wagered on a sporting event so they book breaks even and profits on the juice. Many bettors believe they are really betting against the sportsbook and trying to outwit the odds makers, this of course isn't true at all. A sportsbook really in essence is the middleman who collects bets on both sides of the point spread adjusting the lines accordingly so that there is always a balance.

There are times when the majority of money is on a favorite and the lines makers must provide an attractive spread to entice more betting on the underdog. This is where professional bettors find the best bang for their buck.


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