Sports Betting Q&A

# What is the spread in sports betting?

The spread, also referred to as the line, is used to even the odds between two unevenly matched teams.

Bookmakers set a spread with the hopes of getting equal action on both sides of a game. For example, the Colts are a -3 point favorite against the Texans. The -3 points is the spread. If you want to bet the Colts on the spread, it would mean the Colts need to win by at least three points for you to win the bet. If the Colts win by two points, you would lose the bet because they didn't hit the key number of three.

The spread at -3 suggests the teams are fairly equal and maybe in this case, the Colts are only -3 because they are playing at home. Bookmakers see these teams as equal and expect to receive fairly even money from bettors. If these teams were widely considered equal and bookmakers put the spread at -10, they wouldn't get equal money as Texans +10 would likely be pounded by bettors.

In a spread bet, the odds are usually set at -110 on both sides, depending on the sportsbook and state. That means whether you bet the Colts -3 or Texans +3, you'll win the same amount of money if you win the bet.

If you like the Colts to win but think three points is a tricky number, a moneyline bet could be made on the winning team with no points in the equation. In the above example, a Colts moneyline bet doesn't have any other requirements other than they win the game. The difference is that their odds may be set at -140 to win. On the other end, the Texans could be +120 to win.

While betting the Colts moneyline leads to a smaller payout, an underdog moneyline bet on the Texans would yield more money because you'd get money on them winning the game straight up. In a spread bet, even if the Texans won straight up, you'd still only win the bet because they lost by less than three points.

Can you bet on sports with Venmo?
No, not legally. Most legal sportsbooks around the country won't allow you to make bets with Venmo.
Which states in US have legal sports betting?
As of 2020, there are 21 states (and Washington D.C.) that have legalized sports betting.
Can you bet on sports online?
Yes. But while betting on sports is legal in almost half the states in the country, not all of them allow online wagering.
When was sports betting legalized?
Sports betting was allowed to be legalized at a state level in 2018 after PASPA was struck down.
When will sports betting be legal in Indiana?
Sports betting in Indiana was legalized September 2019 and online gambling launched a few months later.
Is sports betting legal in Indiana?
Yes. Indiana passed a bill to allow sports betting in 2019 and wagering started in October with online betting opening a couple months later.
When will sports betting be legal in Michigan?
Michigan passed legislation to allow sports betting in December 2019 and the first physical sportsbooks opened March 2020.
Is sports betting legal in Michigan?
Yes. Michigan passed legislation to allow sports betting in December 2019 and the first physical sportsbooks opened in March 2020.
Is sports betting legal in Virginia?
Yes. Sports betting is legal in Virginia and residents began betting via FanDuel in January 2021.
When will sports betting be legal in Virginia?
Sports betting is legal in Virginia and residents began betting via FanDuel in January 2021.
When will sports betting be legal in South Dakota?
Sports betting is not legal in South Dakota, but residents passed a ballot initiative in the November 2020 election, which means it's on its way.
Is sports betting legal in South Dakota?
No. Sports betting is not legal in South Dakota, but residents passed a bill initiative in the 2020 election.
Is sports betting legal in North Carolina?
Yes. Sports betting is legal in North Carolina, but it's only available at two casinos, which weren't open as of early 2021.
When will sports betting be legal in North Carolina?
Sports betting is legal in North Carolina, but it's only available at two casinos, which weren't open as of early 2021.
When will sports betting be legal in Tennessee?
Yes. Tennessee sports betting was legalized in 2019 and launched in 2020.
Is sports betting legal in Tennessee?
Yes. Tennessee sports betting was legalized in 2019 and launched in 2020.
Is sports betting legal in Maryland?
No. Sports betting is not legal in Maryland, but residents voted Yes to legalize sports gambling in the November 2020 election.
When will sports betting be legal in Maryland?
No. Sports betting is not legal in Maryland, but residents voted Yes to legalize sports gambling in the November 2020 election.
Is sports betting legal in Louisiana?
No. Sports betting is illegal in Louisiana despite numerous attempts throughout the last couple years.
When will sports betting be legal in Louisiana?
Sports betting is illegal in Louisiana despite numerous attempts to legalize it the last couple years.
When will sports betting be legal in Iowa?
Iowa legalized sports betting in May 2019, becoming the 11th state to do so.
Is sports betting legal in Iowa?
Yes. Iowa legalized sports betting in 2019, becoming the 11th state to pass a bill.
When will sports betting be legal in Illinois?
Illinois passed sports betting legislature June 2019 and launched at physical sportsbooks March 2020, becoming the 15th state to offer wagering.
Is sports betting legal in Illinois?
Yes. Illinois passed sports betting legislature in 2019 and launched at physical sportsbooks in March 2020.
When will sports betting be legal in Colorado?
Colorado legalized in-person and mobile sports betting November 2019 after a bill was signed by the governor and then approved by voters.