Guide on Placing a Point Spread Bet in Arizona

Interested in learning about point spread betting in Arizona and how it can be used for wagering on your preferred sports? While moneyline bets involve simply choosing a winner, spread betting is slightly more intricate. In this detailed guide, we will cover all the essential information regarding point spread betting in football, basketball, baseball, and hockey. Discover how to analyze a spread, comprehend the reasons for variations between college and professional sports, and gain a deeper understanding of this form of betting!

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What is the purpose of point spreads in sports betting?

Arizona online sportsbooks utilize point spreads to level the playing field between teams of varying abilities. In games across various sports leagues, such as the NFL or NBA, one team is typically favored while the other is considered the underdog. To balance the odds and offer more equal payout potential, the underdog is given points, runs (in baseball), or goals (in hockey) by oddsmakers.

Point Spread Betting odds

Point spread bets typically have odds of -110, requiring a $110 bet to win $100. However, these odds may differ across various bets and operators. It is crucial to research and compare point spread and Arizona odds to determine the optimal choice for every matchup.

The Favored Team

In any sporting event, there is always a team that is expected to win, known as the favorite. This team is predicted to come out victorious in a specific game. In terms of betting, the favorite will have a (-) symbol in the moneyline and will be the team giving points to the underdog in point spread wagers. For example, in an NFL game, the favorite may be shown as follows in a point spread bet:

The Arizona Cardinals are the favorites with a 3-point spread and a moneyline of -110, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the underdogs with a +3 spread and a moneyline of -110.

Put yourself in the position of wanting to bet on the Cardinals. They are currently predicted to win by three points against the Buccaneers. To win your bet, the Cardinals must win by more than three points. If they win by exactly three points, it would be a tie and all bets would be returned to the bettors.

The Underdog Team

In every game, there is a team that is favored to win and a team that is considered the underdog. The underdog, indicated by a positive symbol in point spreads, is the team that is predicted to lose. In an Arizona NFL betting situation, the underdog would be the team that is given points.

The Seattle Seahawks are expected to win by 7 points over the Arizona Cardinals, with both teams having -110 odds.

The Cardinals are +7 underdogs against the Seattle Seahawks in this situation. To win their bet, Cardinals bettors need Arizona to win the game or lose by less than seven points. If the Cardinals lose by exactly seven points, it will be a push and all bets will be refunded.

Even/Close Teams

Not every NFL or NBA game will have significant point differentials. Close matchups between evenly-matched teams may only have spreads of a point or two, or even be considered “pick ’ems.” These situations occur when both teams are very similar and the game is expected to be closely fought. However, a small point spread doesn’t necessarily mean the teams are evenly matched, as factors such as location, injuries, and weather can impact betting odds and lines.

Odds Movement

Fluctuations in the NFL point spreads are common throughout the week, influenced by factors like injuries and weather conditions. These changes impact not just the point spread and moneyline, but also the overall point total. To stay informed, it is crucial to regularly check the lines and keep an eye on any shifts in your chosen sport.

Point spread betting outcomes are accurate.

Point spreads may seem simple at first glance, but they can actually result in various outcomes.


When your team covers the point spread in the NFL or NBA, it means you win a point spread bet. Arizona sports betting sites usually pay out winners quickly after the game, depositing the funds directly into their accounts. For instance, if you bet $110 on a -110 line and win, you will receive a $100 payout in addition to getting your initial $110 bet back, giving you a total of $210 in winnings.


It can be disheartening to lose a bet on the point spread, especially when you chose the team that won. If the favorite fails to cover the spread or the underdog doesn’t come within the pre-game point spread, the bet is considered a loss. When betting $110 on a point spread and your team doesn’t cover, the sportsbook keeps the bet. It’s crucial to understand that a point spread bet that results in a loss in a parlay or teaser bet will result in the entire bet being a loss.


In spread betting, a push occurs when the margin of victory matches the spread exactly. This is a frequent outcome in NFL and NBA wagers, as the margin of victory typically closely matches the point spread. If a push happens, all bets are returned to the bettor.

Covering The Spread

Covering the spread is when a team either wins or loses by a specific number of points in comparison to the pre-game point spread. For example, a team favored by -3 points needs to win by at least four points to cover the spread. On the other hand, an underdog with a +7 point spread must either win the game or lose by no more than 6 points to cover the spread. If the team loses by exactly 7 points, it would result in a push.

What Does ATS Mean?

In online betting, ATS stands for “against the spread” and shows how well a team has performed in covering the spread. This statistic is important in point spread betting as it reveals how a team’s performance aligns with oddsmakers’ predictions. ATS data can offer valuable insights into a team’s performance in different situations, such as home versus away games, as an underdog or favorite, or in certain weather conditions. Before placing a point spread bet, it is crucial to review the latest ATS statistics for your chosen team.


The fee charged by sportsbooks for accepting bets on point spreads is known as the “vig” or “juice” by sports bettors. The standard vig for point spreads is -110, where a $110 bet would win $100, with the sportsbook keeping the remaining $10 as profit.

It is crucial to understand that the standard -110 odds for a point spread bet can differ across various websites. In Arizona, sportsbooks and sports betting apps may alter the odds to -105 or +100 in order to attract more bets, or raise them to -120 if there is an overwhelming amount of bets on one side.

The Hook

In betting, a “hook” is a term used to describe a half-point in the line that can impact the final outcome and avoid a push for sportsbooks. This is commonly observed in NFL or NBA betting, especially when the game is closely contested. For instance, in NFL betting, a hook may be added to the point spread to avoid potential ties.

The Dallas Cowboys are 7.5-point underdogs against the Arizona Cardinals.

In this scenario, the Cardinals are favored by 7.5 points. Picture this: the Cowboys score a late touchdown but come up short, resulting in a final score of 27-20. In this situation, Dallas would cover the spread due to the 0.5 point hook, while those who bet on the Cardinals would lose by half a point. The concept of the hook is crucial in football betting, as games often end with margins of victory at key numbers like 3, 6, 7, or 10 points. The use of half points or hooks can significantly impact the outcome of point spread bets.

NFL Point Spreads

As mentioned before, it’s important for bettors to be aware of the key numbers in the NFL, such as field goals being worth 3 points and touchdowns (with an extra point) being worth 7 points. Many NFL point spreads are centered around these margins of victory/defeat. Here are three commonly seen lines in NFL point spread betting:


A pick’em bet, also known as a “PK” bet, occurs when both teams have an equal point spread, making them evenly matched with no favorite or underdog. The spread is set at zero because the teams are expected to have a close game. To bet on a pick’em line, you simply choose the team you believe will win the game outright. For instance, in the NFL, a pick’em bet involves picking the team you think will come out victorious.

The Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants both have -110 odds to win.

Usually, the odds are commonly set at -110, but they can differ among various websites. It is crucial to compare odds and lines in order to determine the best value when placing NFL point spread bets.

-7 and +7

In NFL games, a spread of 7 points usually means that one team is favored by a touchdown. This type of spread is often seen in matchups where there is a clear mismatch between the two teams.

The Kansas City Chiefs are favored by 7 points with -110 odds, while the Arizona Cardinals are underdogs by 7 points with -110 odds.

The Chiefs are expected to win by about a touchdown, as they are favored by 7 points over the Cardinals. Betting on point spreads with a margin of 7 points or more can be difficult due to the high spreads and potential game changes. Be careful when placing bets on spreads of 7 points or more.

-3 and +3

The NFL point spread most commonly used is often established at 3 points, with the home team typically given a 3-point advantage in traditional betting. This frequently results in many lines being set at or around 3 points. For example, an NFL game might have a point spread of 3 points.

The Green Bay Packers have a +3 point spread, making them the underdogs, while the Arizona Cardinals are favored with a -3 point spread. Both teams have -110 odds.

In this situation, the Cardinals are playing at home with a 3-point spread, indicating that sportsbooks see the teams as evenly matched. If the Packers were playing at home instead, they would be favored by 3 points. To maximize the value of your point spread bet, it is crucial to compare betting odds and lines across various sites.

The reason NFL spreads are lower than those in college football.

NFL games typically have lower point spreads than college football games for a couple of key reasons. One major factor is the more even distribution of talent among professional teams, thanks to factors like the salary cap and the NFL draft. This level playing field leads to closer matchups and tighter point spreads. On the other hand, college football tends to have more lopsided point spreads due to dominant top schools consistently vying for the National Championship.

Double-digit point spreads are uncommon in the NFL, whereas blowouts are more common in college football. An illustration of a college football spread is:

The Arizona Wildcats are the underdogs with a +13 point spread, while the Arizona State Sun Devils are the favorites with a -13 point spread. Both teams have odds of -110.

In college football, upsets are infrequent due to the wide talent disparity between teams. This is why betting on the point spread is a favored option for college football bettors, injecting added excitement into games. While wagering on the spread in college football can be entertaining, it’s crucial to keep in mind that the level of competition is typically less intense than in the NFL.

NBA Point Spreads

NBA point spreads are comparable to NFL lines, often determined by the final possessions of the game. The spread in NBA games can vary from 0.5 points to double digits, depending on the teams facing off. Betting on NBA point spreads can be an enjoyable activity, similar to the excitement of wagering on NFL and college football games. A typical example of an NBA spread involves two evenly matched teams.

The Phoenix Suns are expected to win by 2.5 points with odds of -110, making the Los Angeles Lakers the underdogs with odds of +2.5 (-110).

The Suns are expected to win by 2.5 points against the Lakers in Los Angeles. Both teams have a standard payout of -110, which is common in football at the NFL and college levels. However, it’s important to remember that the payout can change depending on the number of bets placed on each team and the sportsbook being used. It’s a good idea to compare odds from different sources before placing your NBA point spread bets, just like you would in football.

Lines and puck lines are to be run.

While football and basketball are the primary sports for point spread betting, other sports like the NHL also have similar systems. In hockey, this type of betting is called “puck lines,” which indicate the number of goals a team must win by (or lose by less than) to cover the spread. Puck lines usually range from +/- 1.5 goals, as hockey games tend to have lower scores with goals being scored one at a time.

Receiving +1.5 goals in hockey is known as the reverse puck line. It is important to carefully consider the vigorish, or “vig,” in these lines as they can vary greatly from NFL and NBA bets. It is typical to find reverse puck line odds of -180 or -200, while odds of +130 or +140 are common when giving 1.5 goals.

In baseball, the run line is usually set at +/- 1.5, reflecting the sport’s low-scoring nature where games are often decided by just a run or two. Similar to hockey, baseball run lines typically offer higher odds, with players frequently encountering odds ranging from -170 to -200 when betting on the 1.5 runs. It is crucial to carefully compare prices and potential payouts when wagering on run lines and puck lines in both the MLB and NHL.

Point Spreads and Moneylines

Another way to place bets on the NFL, NBA, or NHL is by using the moneyline. Unlike point spread bets, the actual number of points or final score does not matter. The only thing that is important in a moneyline bet is choosing the team that will emerge victorious.

Make sure to take into account the point spread before placing a moneyline bet on your favorite team. The point spread shows the balance between the two teams and can impact potential payouts. Evaluate how evenly matched the opponents are before making your wager.

Frequently Asked Questions about Point Spread Betting in Arizona


Diaz Uzziah

Diaz Uzziah covers NFL, NFL Draft, and NFL news for as well as serving as the managing editor of The Raiders Wire. He also writes for The Athletic DFW, Pro Football Weekly, and FanSided. Formerly with FanRag Sports, he currently hosts the Locked On Cowboys Podcast. In addition, Uzziah tracks his picks as a handicapper for during the NFL season.

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