It’s a term that is normally associated with betting on popular American sports such as American football or basketball, but it can also be applied to a variety of betting markets outside of the United States, including the United Kingdom and other countries around the world.
Examples Of ATS Betting
When you bet against the spread, you’re betting against a money line that a bookmaker is offering on a match.
For example, let’s say that the Buffalo Bills are playing the Miami Dolphins in the Superbowl. The Bills are the outright favourites to win the match with the bookmakers, who also offer betting with the Dolphins with a +5.5 points start.
If you bet on the Dolphins to win with 5.5 points start, you’re betting against the spread. To win this bet, you’ll need the Dolphins to win the match outright, tie the match, or lose the match by five points or less. If the Bills win by 6 points or more, you’ll lose.
It’s the same in basketball. Let’s say the Boston Celtics are playing the Houston Rockets. The Celtics are the favourites in the outright market and the bookies set a money line with the Rockets receiving 7.5 points start. You bet on the Rockets and to win your bet you’ll need them to win the match outright, tie, or lose by less than 7 points. If the Celtics win by 8 points or more, you lose your bet.
Betting Against The Spread In UK Betting Markets
The term against the spread isn’t one that is commonly used in the UK, but it can be used to describe a variety of bets that are now popular.
The reason the term against the spread isn’t a well-known one in the UK is because money line bets are relatively new in the UK. Originally, you would have only been able to bet outright on football matches and other sports matches.
However, with many matches deemed to be too one-sided to interest most punters, many bookmakers decided to give them more choice by offering money line bets.
For example, Manchester United would be a short price to beat their neighbours Salford City in an FA cup match, as Man United are a Premier League side and Salford City play in League Two. So, as the outright market wouldn’t appeal to many punters, the bookies also offer money lines such as Manchester United to win by over 3.5 goals.
If you decided to bet against the spread and bet on Salford City, you would win your bet if they beat Manchester United, drew the match, or lost by three goals or less.
Bookmakers also tend to offer a variety of money lines on each football match, starting at 0.5 goals. They also normally include, 1.5, 2.5., 3.5, 4.5, 5.5, 6.5, and 7.5 goals. The odds for each money line vary according to how evenly the two sides are matches.
Should I Bet Against The Spread?
When thinking about betting against the spread, you should follow the same simple ethos as with any other form of betting. That is, if you think you’ve found some value, you should have the bet.
The definition of a value bet is when you think the odds available for that bet are bigger than you think they should be. But this analysis should be based on form, statistics, and any other information that could have an impact on the outcome of a match.
Let’s use our hypothetical match between Manchester United and Salford City to explain the concept of value bets further. The bookies have set the money line with Salford getting 3.5 goals start, and you can back both teams to win the market at 10/11 (1.91).
The two teams haven’t played each other before, so you might need to consider other factors when trying to work out whether Salford are a value bet.
You look back at the FA Cup results for the last few seasons and see that Man United have played league two opposition three times. United have won all three matches but, as they’ve never fielded a full-strength starting line-up, they’ve won all three games by less than three goals.
You then look at Salford City’s recent FA Cup record and see that they’ve lost to Premier League opposition on both previous occasions they’ve encountered them. But they’ve also never lost by more than three goals.
Suddenly, Salford look a great bet at 10/11 (1.91) with 3.5 goals start and, whether your bet wins, draws, or loses, you know the statistics suggested it was a value bet when you placed it.
Of course, you do need plenty of bets to win to make a profit from gambling and, if you continue to find value bets, you should make a long-term profit, despite having a few losers along the way.
How Do I Pick Against The Spread Winners?
Picking against the spread winners takes hard work, as you’ll need to study a lot of form and statistics and crunch the number to see if you can find some value. That’s what professional punters do and, if you want to make profits like they do, you’ll have to do the same.