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Sometimes when a team is much stronger than the opponent, several people will bet on the strong team. This may be a problem for sports books, and the betting companies can incur huge losses. A spread bet is used to even things out by using the margin of victory to determine the winners.
The sports book offers a line for the game that suggests a minimum margin for the stronger team. This minimum margin for victory is known as the spread. If the stronger team wins by more than this minimum margin of victory, then the victory is covered, and those who bet on the favorite team will win the money. Those who bet on the weaker team called the underdog can win in two ways: when the underdog wins, and when the underdog loses, but with a less margin of victory than the spread.
If the favorite wins but with an exact spread amount, the bets cancel out, and everyone gets their cash back. The sports books will give a fractional spread to avoid such situations. The fraction is usually referred to as “the hook.”
Spreads are normally shown as numbers following either team. A negative number represents a favorite team while a positive number represents an underdog. For example, if a betting line is shown as RADIERS +13.5, it would mean that Oakland Raiders are underdogs by 13.5 points. If they lose by 13 points or less, then those who bet on Oakland Raiders lose their money, and those who bet on the rival team win the money.
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