How to Spread Bet on SI Sportsbook | Complete Guide

ByPat Pickens

Nov 7, 2022

Sports Illustrated is a titan in the sports-media space, and its reach is only growing.

SI joined forces with British sportsbook 888 Sports, to create the SI Sportsbook in 2021, and it’s live in three states with more on the way.

The SI Online Sportsbook produces a large assortment of wagers for prospective gamblers, including betting spreads. Spread betting is perhaps the most famous way of sports betting with gambling houses producing a number that favorites and underdogs must cover for each game.

If you’re intrigued at the prospect of spread betting, but haven’t yet jumped in, don’t fret. We’re here to help. Here’s a guide to spread betting on SI Sportsbook.

How to Bet Spreads on SI Sportsbook

Step 1: Create an Account or Sign In

If you don’t have an account, you’ll need to create one. Click on a Get Bonus button to activate the best welcome bonus.

Read our SI Sportsbook review and enter your accurate information, keeping in mind that any sensitive info is secure and used only to affirm your account. Be sure to include any relevant promo codes or opt in to receive the sportsbook’s best new-user promo.

If you have an account, simply sign in.

Step 2: Deposit

Insert playable funds. Be sure to use an e-wallet like PayPal or make an ACH or online bank transfer to ensure you’ll be able to withdraw via that method. Credit-card withdrawals are not allowed, and any credit card deposits come with a cash-advance fee, usually $10.

Before depositing and signing up, get the SI Sportsbook bet $20, get $100 promo.

Step 3: Check Out Odds

Consult each game and sport’s spread. Find the one you wish you place.

Step 4: Place Your Bet

Tap the spread, enter the amount you wish to wager and place your bet. Then root for it to hit!

What Is Spread Betting on SI Sportsbook?

Spreads are synonymous with sports betting as sportsbooks create numbers for every team game every day. The favorite must win by at least the number listed, and the underdog must either win or not lose by the number in order to cover the spread.

In traditional terminology, favorites “give" or “lay" points, and bettors of underdog will “get" or “take" points.

Baseball and hockey have 1.5-run/goal spreads, and soccer traditionally has a 0.5-goal spread for every match.

Football and basketball have the widest variety of spreads.

If all things are equal in a football game, the home team will lay three points — or be a three-point favorite. However, depending on how lopsided the game appears those spreads can very from “pick ’em" to 21 points or more in some FBS vs. FCS college matchups.

Almost all football and basketball spreads come with -110 odds, or the sportsbook equivalent of a coin flip.

How Do Sports Illustrated Spreads Work?

SI, like most online sportsbooks, will produce odds and spreads for games that are designed at enticing betting.

Since moneyline odds can vary drastically based on the likelihood of a team winning, betting on a favorite or underdog to cover a spread can be a smart way to hedge if you think an underdog can win but aren’t quite sure it will or if you’re trying to get better odds on a favorite.

Sports Illustrated has competitive spreads and odds that empower bettors to confidently place their wagers knowing they will receive a good profit on a bet that has a high probability of hitting.

Plus, with Sports Illustrated’s easy-to-use interface, placing spread bets is a breeze.

SI Sportsbook Spread Rules

SI Sportsbook has a few rules about betting spreads, including:

  • Voids: If a bettor wagers a spread bet, and it pushes — meaning the final number of points is exactly the same as the spread listed — then the bet is voided and the bettor receives his/her initial stake back.

Spread vs Moneyline

Moneyline bets are placed on a team to simply win a game, which makes them slightly different from spread wagers. In a moneyline bet, a team simply needs to win in order for the bet to pay out.

In spread wagers, a favorite must win by at least the number of points listed, or the underdog must either win or not lose by the number posted.

More often than not a team that wins will cover the pregame spread listed, and betting spreads can be a more lucrative way to bet on a favorite since teams that win generally do so by more than one point.

However, sportsbooks thrive when favorites win but don’t cover, especially in low-point spreads where the favorite is expected to cover. Paying out $0.50 profit on every dollar wagered — in a -200 moneyline bet — is better for sportsbooks than paying out $0.91 per dollar.

For example, if the Indianapolis Colts are -250 moneyline favorites in their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, they might also be favored by a spread of seven points.

That means the Colts must win by at least seven in order to cover and for bettors to get pay out on the -110 odds.

But if the Jaguars lose by fewer than seven, or win outright, then they will cover, paying out for Jacksonville spread bettors.

Underdog vs Favorite

Underdogs are the teams deemed less likely to win on paper before a game. Underdogs will always have a plus-number in the spread line, unless it says “pick ’em," and will often have a plus number in front of their moneyline odds too.

Favorites are the teams that are considered more likely to win a game ahead of time. They will always have minus-money moneyline odds and a minus number in the spread line.

Since underdogs are unlikely to win, wagering on them to cover the spread, especially in a sport like football where there are so many close games, a smart decision, especially when spreads are greater than a few points.

What Is an Alternate Spread on SI Sportsbook?

SI Sportsbook, like most online sportsbooks, offer alternate spreads with corresponding odds based on how likely a team is either to win by more or fewer points or how likely an underdog is to cover the spread.

Alternate spreads are ideal for parlay betting, either same-game or multi-leg, multi-game wagers, since the odds of more than a couple of -110 wagers to hit is extremely unlikely. Sports Illustrated will produce alternate spreads and a sliding scale then list the odds of that wager for hitting.

For example, if in the Jacksonville-Indianapolis game listed above you believe the Colts can cover 5.5 points but don’t trust them to win by the full seven, you can take Indianapolis -5.5 at -140 odds.

If the Colts won on a touchdown in OT, and you bet them at -5.5, you’d win rather than losing by betting on them to cover seven. You’d still win if they covered seven but would just make less profit.

Or if you want to take the Jaguars to cover 7.5 points instead of seven, those odds might be -120. That way if Jacksonville loses by a touchdown and an extra point, you’d cover instead of pushing.

SI, unlike some sportsbooks, only curates a few alternate spreads for bettors to choose from.

SI NFL Point Spreads

Sports Illustrated offers spreads for every NFL game from the Hall of Fame game through the Super Bowl.

Betting spreads in preseason games can be an inexact science, since the games can be decided by zany plays made by athletes who will be working desk jobs during the regular season. But SI offers it if you’re interested in getting in the mix.

SI Sportsbook gives NFL bettors spreads within minutes of the schedule release then is constantly updating spreads and odds each week.

If spread betting isn’t necessarily your thing, SI also offers props, totals, moneylines and other betting markets for each NFL game.

Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is like Christmas for sports bettors, and the SI Sportsbook offers a spread, as well as alternate spreads and other betting markets for the big game every February.

SI will also give NFL bettors futures odds for which team will win the Super Bowl, as well as conference and division winners.

Bettors will also be empowered to wager on whether a specific team will reach the playoffs or surpass a predetermined win threshold with corresponding odds based on the likelihood of the bet hitting.

Spread Bet Strategies

We always advise bettors to target value. If the spread bet is the most likely to hit or most lucrative to wager, take it. If the moneyline wager makes more sense then target that bet.

Do your homework and concoct a story for the game ahead of time. Consider all factors, especially when parlay betting. For instance, it is really hard to successfully bet on a favorite to cover a spread and for an under wager to hit. If you want to bet those two, consider alternate spreads or totals.

Consider the weather and any injuries as well. You aren’t going to want to bet an underdog to win outright if it is missing its best players. You won’t want to trust a favorite to cover double digits if it is missing its top scorer.

Don’t be afraid to wager in-game spreads either. Often times blowouts are the perfect opportunity to get a backdoor cover on an underdog to come back and make a game respectable.

Have fun and be responsible too. Plus, trust your gut. You’d hate to place a spread wager you were coaxed into taking, since it is hard enough to successfully pick a team to win by at least a certain number of points.

Spread Betting for Beginners

Trial and error are your friends. Choose either a favorite or underdog that you really like and place a small amount on that team to cover. Or if you’re not quite ready to place an actual bet, put together a mock spread bet and monitor how it goes.

Do your homework. We at The Game Day produce a ton of analytical content designed at giving bettors an edge so they can make the most informed decisions. Seek out the intel that affirms what your gut is telling you, since the best bets are the ones we love.

If you are interested in parlay betting with spreads, be sure to choose alternate spreads.

Combining multiple -110 wagers is a good way to lose a parlay bet, since it’s really hard to get a coin to land on the same side more than a couple of times in a row. Even alternate spreads fail.

Learn from your mistakes, since we all make them, and have fun. We bet on sports to give the games a little extra juice, and if we win that’s a bonus.

How to Calculate Spread Odds?

Spread odds for baseball, basketball and football are almost always between +100 and -120, with most typically falling on -110. A -110 wager means that bettors will need to bet $110 to win $100 in profit, or $0.91 profit for every dollar bet, which is the sportsbook equivalent of a coin flip.

Hockey spreads are almost always 1.5 goals, and odds can vary drastically depending on how close the game is perceived to be.

  • A -1.5 wager could be +200 in a hockey game, especially in the playoffs where the games traditionally are extremely close.
  • A +1.5 bet might be -270, meaning a bettor would win $0.37 profit for every $1 bet.

Fortunately, SI Sportsbook, like most other online sportsbooks, will let you, the bettor, know the exact odds and payout of your spread bet before you place it so you’ll always know the exact stakes.

Why Are Spreads a Good Bet?

Spreads are a great way to get more bang for your buck.

Since moneyline odds can be short, and the payout isn’t nearly as lucrative given the likelihood of a team to simply win, betting on a team to cover a few points is often times a great option since games are usually decided by more than one or two points.

Live spread betting can be really fun too, and online sports betting is the only place where in-game betting is allowed.

Choosing a blowout game that you think could end closer, or a close game that you believe will end up more lopsided, is a great way to get better odds on a spread that might’ve been high before the game started.

Can Spreads Be a Bad Bet?

Coaches play to win and not necessarily to cover a point spread, which is where the term “backdoor cover" comes into play.

In backdoor covers, a team will sometimes not try to defend as hard and surrender points in exchange for the time it takes to score, and many parlays and spread wagers have been done-in by the infamous outcome.

Betting a team to cover a large number of points can be a really bad bet too, especially in pro sports where every team has great players.

Some teams play down to their opposition, or take their foot off the gas once they build a big lead then hang on, which again is a breeding ground for backdoor covers.

What Sports Are Available for Spreads?

Almost all of them. Every game with a goal or point will feature a point spread.

  • Soccer: will always have 0.5-goal spreads given the surplus of ties.
  • Tennis: matches will have a 1.5-set spread.
  • Playoff Series: will even feature spreads of -1.5 or +1.5 games in the NBA, NHL and MLB.

Since SI Sportsbook offers odds and betting markets for global games, including basketball, hockey and minor-league baseball, there is spread betting for all of those games as well.

Is There Bet Insurance on Spreads?

Not often, unless you are placing an initial risk-free bet or a spread as a parlay leg. If you are placing a spread wager as a parlay leg, and that bet misses by exactly one leg, sometimes SI Sportsbook will reimburse a bettor’s stake if it is unsuccessful.


Pat Pickens

Pat Pickens is a seasoned sportswriter who has covered pro sports since 2013 for various websites, including The New York Times,, Bleacher Report,, 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.

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