What Does ‘Against The Spread’ Mean?


“Against the spread” (ATS) is a betting term used to describe the outcome of a game that is adjusted by the point spread. The point spread is the number of points by which a team is expected to win or lose the game. When betting against the spread, the bettor must determine by how many points a team will win or lose the game. If the bettor wagers on a team to win by more points than the point spread, they will win the bet. If they wager on a team to lose by fewer points than the point spread, they will also win the bet.

For Example

let’s say the New England Patriots are playing the Pittsburgh Steelers and the point spread is set at 7.5 points with the Steelers listed as the underdogs.

If you place a wager on the Steelers, your selection will be successful if they:

  • Win the game
  • Lose the game by seven points or fewer.

If you place a wager on the Patriots, your selection will only be successful if they:

  • Win the game
  • The winning margin is eight points or higher

Always Keep in Mind

  1. The spread betting line can and will move in the build-up to a game. There are numerous factors that will affect the number, such as the number of bettors favoring one side of the spread or injuries and suspensions which could weaken one team.
  2. The spread is designed to generate a “pick-em situation, so the odds tend to be low. The average odds on a spread bet are between -110 and +110, so your potential return may be lower.
  3. If you want to receive bigger odds, you will need to group multiple spread selections into an accumulator or parlay bet, but this comes with an increased risk of losing the bet.