How to Bet Spreads on BetMGM | Complete Guide

ByPat Pickens

Aug 1, 2022

Spread betting is one of the most popular methods of gambling on sports online, and BetMGM is arguably the best option for bettors interested in wagering favorites or underdogs against the spread.

BetMGM offers competitive lines and alternate spreads for all of your betting needs. Plus, BetMGM is one of the most widely available online sportsbooks in the United States, meaning if you live in a state that allows legal sports betting you are likely able to use the BetMGM Online Sportsbook.

But betting spreads can be intimidating, especially with real money. So if you have any trepidation, we’re here to help. Here’s a crash course on betting spreads on BetMGM.

How to Bet Spreads on BetMGM

Step 1: Create an Account or Sign In

If you don’t have an account with BetMGM, you’ll need to sign up. Click through our the link on our BetMGM sportsbook review page and use the promo code “GAMEDAY" to activate the sportsbook’s best new-user bonus offer.

Remember all sensitive info is secure and used only to affirm your identity.

Step 2: Deposit

Enter your money. BetMGM allows credit/debit cards, ACH, e-check, e-wallet and much more. Remember the method of depositing is usually the way you must withdraw, and the sportsbook does not enable users to take their money out via credit card.

Step 3: Find Your Spread Bet

Peruse the various sports and figure out which wager you wish to place.

Step 4: Place Your Bet

Tap the wager, enter the stake you wish to wager and press place bet.

What Is Spread Betting on BetMGM?

Because moneyline odds can be too short for bettors to consider, sportsbooks provide bettors with spreads for each team sport every day.

Bettors are asked whether the favorite or underdog will cover the spread, which means the favorite will win by a certain amount or that the underdog will lose by less than an amount.

Typically when all things are equal in football betting, the home team will give, or lay, three points. Hockey and baseball spreads are almost always 1.5 goals/runs, and the odds will correspond depending on how likely or unlikely the favorite is to cover. Basketball spreads can vary depending on the game or who is playing.

If the winning team wins by the exact amount of the spread, the wager is a push and the bettor’s initial stake is returned.

An example of betting a spread is if the Seattle Seahawks are a 7.5-point underdog in their game against the Los Angeles Rams, the Rams must win by at least eight points in order to cover the spread. If the Seahawks win or lose by seven points or less, they cover or beat the spread.

How Do BetMGM Spreads Work?

BetMGM creates odds for the moneyline (which team will win), total (over/under) and spread for every team sport. Aside from those, the sportsbook also will list odds for prop bets (wagers not tied to the final outcome) and futures (bets made for teams to win championships or make the playoffs) as well.

Spreads are fairly standard, but BetMGM offers competitive lines designed at enticing bettors to wager on a team to both cover and beat the spread. The sportsbook wins big if a favorite wins but doesn’t cover, since most action is on teams to cover the spread especially when the spread is less than one possession.

Standard spread odds in football and basketball are -110, although they can vary depending on the perceived closeness of the game. A 1-point spread may carry -115 odds if the moneyline odds are -110. Run/puck-line spreads in baseball and hockey can vary wildly, with at -1.5 bet in either of those sports carrying +200 odds or longer.

For instance, BetMGM might assign -110 odds to the Tennessee Titans covering a 7-point spread and -300 moneyline odds. Given the likelihood of the Titans winning by at least seven points, it should be safe to wager them to cover. Still, upsets can happen on any given Sunday, so bettor beware.

BetMGM Spread Rules

There are a few rules as far as spreads go. Here are them:

  • Voids: If a team is a round-number favorite (5 points, 7 points, etc.,) and wins by that exact amount, the spread is a push and the bettor receives his/her initial stake back.
  • Settlements: All wagers will settle if a full game is deemed to have been played. Bets made in games that have not been decided and are suspended/delayed will be on hold until the game is settled. Any bet made on a game that is postponed/cancelled will be returned to the wagerer.

Spread vs Moneyline

The major difference between spreads and moneylines is the favorite needs to win by a certain amount to cover a spread. A favorite can win and not cover the spread. An underdog can lose and beat the spread.

For instance, if the Baltimore Ravens are a 4.5-point favorite in their game against the Cleveland Browns, and Baltimore wins by a field goal, the Browns covered the spread and the Ravens did not. If the Browns were a three-point favorite over the Ravens in their game in Cleveland and they won by seven then the Browns would both win and cover the spread.

Underdog vs Favorite

The favorites are the team predicted to win. The underdog is the team most likely to lose. Underdogs usually have plus-money odds, and favorites always have minus-money odds.

Rarely, underdogs will have -105 moneyline odds, and when this happens, the favorite will usually have -115 odds. If there is no clear favorite denoted then both teams will have -110 moneyline odds, and the spread will be “pick ’em."

Favorites will always have a minus number in the spread line, denoting the amount they have to win by in order to cover. Spreads can go from 1 to 25 or higher, depending on how lopsided the game expects to be. Most professional sports games spreads vary from pick ’em to 14.

Almost always spread odds in basketball and football will be between +100 and -120. Baseball (run line) and hockey (puck line) spreads are almost always 1.5, and the odds can vary drastically depending on how likely a team is to cover the line.

What is an Alternate Spread on BetMGM?

BetMGM offers teasers, or alternate spreads, for all team sport games. The sportsbook gives bettors either more or less favorable odds depending on a whether the spread is teased up or down.

For instance, if the Kansas City Chiefs are an 8-point favorite over the Las Vegas Raiders, but you don’t trust the Chiefs to cover the line, you can tease down the spread to 5.5 points, meaning they could win by a touchdown and no extra point and you cover. The 5.5-point spread might carry -170 odds because it is more likely to hit.

Alternate spreads are usually a great option as parlay legs, since expecting two-or-more -110 odd outcomes to hit is really unlikely and since betting markets that are -150 or shorter are not good standalone bets.

BetMGM NFL Point Spreads

BetMGM offers betting lines for the NFL all season, from the Hall of Fame Game to the Super Bowl, with competitive odds and spread lines. The BetMGM Online Sportsbook is more than just a luxury sportsbook, it also offers real-time information about the game and gives users the option to bet on games as they’re happening too.

For instance, if the Denver Broncos are a 4.5-point favorite over the Houston Texans, and you aren’t sure Denver can cover that spread, you can wait and see what happens in the game then bet the spread live. If Houston scores early, and you think the Broncos can still win and cover a spread, you can then bet them to cover 2.5 points or bet them live on the moneyline.

If the Texans score again, Denver would probably then become the live underdog, meaning you can wager on it to cover a 3.5-point spread. If Houston won by four or more, it would cover. If the Broncos lost by only a field goal, they would cover the spread.

However, if before the game you didn’t think Denver could cover 4.5 but wanted to bet it to win by a field goal, you could tease down the spread to 2.5. That way if the Broncos won on a last-second field goal, you’d still be a winner even if they didn’t cover the unteased spread.

Super Bowl

Since the Super Bowl is, well, the Super Bowl of sports betting because the amount of bet options and Super Bowl bonuses - it is important to consider your options when placing wagers on the big game.

Fortunately, BetMGM has a robust number of spread-betting options as well as its usual assortment of props, teasers and moneylines to wager for the Super Bowl, plus futures for bettors who want to bet on their favorite team to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in February.

Spread Bet Strategies

Stay small. You don’t want to have to bet on a team to cover 17.5 points in an NFL game. You don’t necessarily want to bet on an NBA team to cover a double-digit spread. Upsets happen. Teams have off nights. Remember, coaches play to win, not to cover the spread.

Still, betting spreads is an essential part of sports gambling, especially in a sport like basketball where teams often win by more than one possession.  If you think a team will win, you should willing to bet on it to cover at least a few points — three or fewer. If you’re confident it will win, you should be able to lay five-plus points.

If you’re betting a hockey or baseball game that looks lopsided on paper, bet the puck/run line to get better odds. You may lose that one game, but in the long run you should be able to cash in more often than not.

Remember live spread betting too. If a game is a blowout through the first half, it could be valuable to wager the team getting beat to cover the live spread. I cashed in top-seeded Baylor to cover a double-digit live spread against North Carolina in the 2022 NCAA men’s basketball tournament when the Bears came back and forced overtime but still lost.

Spread Betting for Beginners

Start small. Bet on a team to cover a field goal in an NFL game, or a baseball team to cover the run-line. Or if there’s an underdog you really like that’s getting a lot of points take it to beat the spread.

Eventually, you’ll feel comfortable to move to teasers and parlaying spread bets. But the way to get comfortable with sports betting as a novice is trial and error. You might mess up a couple of times. We’ve all done it. As long as you learn from your early mistakes you’ll be betting like a seasoned pro in no time.

Another good point to remember as a novice or seasoned betting pro is to shop across different sportsbook options to find the most value in the odds you are wagering on.

How to Calculate Spread Odds?

Spread odds are usually -110, again in basketball and football, which means the profit is usually $0.90 per every $1, plus the initial stake back. If you parlay multiple spread bets the odds get significantly longer, depending on how many legs the parlay is, especially if they are unteased.

Fortunately, BetMGM has a terrific odds calculator that will inform you down to the cent how lucrative your wager will be.

Why Are Spreads a Good Bet?

Because if you trust a team to win, you should be able to trust it to cover between 1-3 points. You should be able to trust a favorite to cover three touchdowns or fewer, especially in a pro sporting event.

Since 2.5-point spreads can come with -150 moneyline odds, betting the favorite to cover the spread is a more lucrative wager than a moneyline bet. If a seven-point favorite carries -200 moneyline odds or shorter, trusting a team to cover the touchdown is better than taking $0.50 on the dollar, since even close games can be decided by at least seven points.

Can Spreads Be a Bad Bet?

They can be, especially in football, since teams play to win not cover the spread. There are thousands of examples of teams backdoor covering spreads in all sports on meaningless late-game touchdowns/baskets/goals/home runs that were remarkably important to those who were betting.

Spreads are a great way to get better odds, but large spreads are exceedingly tough for many teams to cover too.

What Sports Are Available for Spreads?

All team sports and most individual sports as well. Even soccer has spreads of 0.5 goals, since the wide ubiquity of ties in the sport. Tennis wagers have spreads of 1.5 sets. Bettors can even wager on teams to cover a spread in a playoff series, with most series spreads coming with a 1.5-game spread.

But team sport games have the most widely available spreads, and bettors can combine those or just take them individually.

Is There Bet Insurance on Spreads?

Not often, unless it is your initial risk-free bet or if you have a spread wager as part of a multi-leg parlay that has bet insurance.

Author

Pat Pickens

Pat Pickens is a seasoned sportswriter who has covered the NHL since 2013 for various websites, including The New York Times, NHL.com, Sportsnet.ca, USA Today, the Associated Press and many others. His debut book, titled "The Whalers" about the history of the NHL's Hartford Whalers, was released in October 2021. His greatest successful wager was an LA Kings puck-line bet (+200) in Game 1 of the 2012 Western Conference Final.

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