Understanding the Spread and Hook in Sports Betting
If betting relied on picking a winning team as the primary choice, sports books (companies that allow people to place a bet) would go out of business. This is because people would always pick the team with a higher chance of winning. Since sports books profit from losing bets (and use this money to pay winners), they would make huge losses if many people bet on the same winning team. To even the betting on NFL odds, for example, a spread bet is introduced. In spread betting, the margin of victory is used to determine winners.
What is the Spread?
A spread refers to the minimum victory margin of the team favored to win in a football game. It is used to increase betting odds. Covering the spread means that the team favored to win has indeed won by the set minimum margin victory and those who bets on such teams win money. On the other hand, those who place their bet on the underdog win their bet if the team wins or if it losses by a victory margin that is less that the set spread. This is because only the favorite team is required to cover the spread, not the underdog.
In case the favorite team wins by the exact spread amount, the sports book cancels the bets and returns all the money used to place them. A hook is introduced to prevent this outcome. A hook refers to a fraction used in spreading. Underdogs are represented by a positive number while a negative number represents the favorite.
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