What is Against the Spread Betting (ATS)? Against The Spread Explained

What is Against the Spread (ATS)?

One of the most popular types of sports betting is betting against the spread also known as ATS. The point spread is a number aka the “betting line” set by bookmakers at the sportsbook which is intended to even the playing field between two teams and give a reason for bettors to bet on either side of the game.

The betting Favorite is considered the better team and listed with a Minus (-) sign while the Underdog is listed with a Plus (+) sign. A bettor wins his bet on the “Favorite” if the team wins the game by more points than the “spread or line”, the opposite is true for the “Underdog” where the bettor wins if the team loses by less than the spread or wins the game outright. There are two types of against the spread betting, the first is betting with the spread and the second is betting against the spread.

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Betting With The Spread

When you bet with the spread it means you are taking the favorite to win and cover the spread. For example in the NFL the Dallas Cowboys are favored at -3 over the Philadelphia Eagles. Taking the Dallas Cowboys -3 means you are betting with the spread and want the Cowboys to win by MORE than 3 points.

Betting Against The Spread

Betting against the spread means you are taking the Underdog and the points in a game. To win you want the “underdog” to either win the game outright OR lose by less than the “Point Spread” you are given. As an example of this we will use the following. The New England Patriots (-7) vs NY Jets (+7). In this example we are taking the underdog the NY Jets +7 points. In order for us to win our bet one of two things must happen. First the Jets win the game OR the Jets can lose the game but the final score has the Jets losing by LESS than 7 points. Should the final score be exactly 7 points this is a push and your bet is refunded.

What is ATS in Betting?

ATS is short for Against The Spread! It is a term that refers to how a team performs when the point spread is applied to a game, instead of their straight up wins and losses.

What if I win my bet against the point spread?

You get your original bet back plus your winnings. For example if you bet $110 to win $100 against the spread you would receive $210 back.

What if the result of the point spread bet is a loss?

You lose your entire original bet. For example if you bet $110 to win $100 you would lose $110 if your team did not cover the spread.

What if the result of the point spread is a tie?

This is considered a “push” and you are refunded your original bet back. For example if you bet $110 to win $100 against the spread you would get the $110 back.

How do you bet against the spread?

Most against the spread betting is done in what is called a straight bet. A straight bet is the most common type of bet for betting on the NFL, NBA, College Football & Basketball. It consists of one singular pick against the spread, where a bettor wagers on either the favorite or underdog in one game.

Another way to bet against the spread is to place a parlay wager. With parlays, bettors can make multiple bets against the spread, needing all of them to win for their ticket to cash. Parlays are harder to win than straight bets, as bettors need multiple outcomes to work out in their favor, but they also have the potential to pay out more than straight bets as a result.

Here are some wagering examples of bets Against the Spread

NFL – Football:

Team: NY Giants -7

Team: Dallas Cowboys +7

Final Score: NY Giants 28 – Dallas Cowboys 20

If you took the NY Giants as your pick at a sportsbook against the spread you would have won your bet! The Giants adjusted score would be 28-7=21, making the final score against the spread 21-20 in favor of the Giants.

NBA – Basketball

Team: Golden State Warriors -10

Team: Denver Nuggets +10

Final Score: Golden State 99 – Denver 90

If you took the Golden State Warriors as your pick at the sportsbook against the spread you would have lost your bet! While the Warriors won the game outright, their score would be adjusted with the point spread to 99-10=89. That would make the final score with the spread involved 89-90. Bets on Denver would cover the spread, meaning Nuggets bettors would have won ATS at a Vegas Sportsbook.

Other Information:

ATS in sports betting means – Against the Spread. Most sports bettors and handicappers use the acronym when referring to a teams win/loss record against the spread AKA ATS.

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