The plus and minus signs in sports betting spreads describe the difference between a favorite and underdog. The ‘plus’ symbol indicates that the favorite is expected to win the game, while the ‘-‘ sign indicates that the underdog is predicted to lose. Thus, if you bet on the favorite, it must win by a certain margin, while the underdog must lose by a certain number of points.
The spread represents the difference between the final score and the score line, which is why it is not the same for all games. The sportsbooks apply the spread concept to a variety of sports and events. For example, a point spread can cover a football game, whereas a money line bet is based on the projected margin of victory between two teams. The point spread will also adjust for home-field advantage, which can add one or two points to the final score.
A push occurs when the favorite wins by exactly the same amount as the point spread, which means that the bet was a push. In this situation, the bettors receive their money back. This scenario is common with betting lines like +3/-3. The game was close, but the Chiefs were not favored. Whether or not they covered the spread is dependent on how the spread is calculated.
Point spreads are used most commonly in football and basketball. In football, the perceived stronger team must win by a certain margin, such as a goal or run. In basketball, a team can also be a favorite and lose by the same amount. For example, the Ravens are a -7 favorite against the Jets, even though Baltimore is expected to be a much better team than New York.