Point Spread Strategy

The Point Spread

The Point Spread is one of the most used and commonly found types of bets on any of the NFL betting lines that can be found on the online sportsbooks. Sports bettors should already have a basic knowledge of what the point spread is and how it works, which is why we will be discussing strategies surrounding the point spread. The great thing about the point spread is that it is easy to understand, and there are many different systems that can be used and created in order to make an accurate prediction. There is a basic strategy that can be used, as well as a widely popular strategy called Middling. We will also include a betting system that can be used by bettors, along with an example of how it works.

Point Spread Basic Strategy: The Points

When a sports bettor looks at the NFL betting lines and finds the different point spreads for the different match-ups, they should be able to see certain patterns that could help them before they actually place a bet. By looking at the actual point spread values, we can learn a little bit about public perception and the chances the sportsbook is giving the Favorite and the Underdog teams.

Low Point Spreads

Low point spreads are those values that are between 1 point and 5 points. When a bettor encounters these low point spreads, they can already start assuming that both teams are relatively balanced when it comes to scoring points or stopping the score. In other words, these teams could be good defensive teams, thus keeping a low score difference, or both are good offensive teams, which constantly score and also keeping a low score difference. There can also be a mix, where one good defensive team is against a good offensive team.

When a sports bettor encounters the ½ point, it is crucial to see which side of the whole number it is on. In this case, it is 3½ points, so the bettor can assume the sportsbook is giving the Underdog team a slight advantage. However, if the value were 2½ it would be a clear advantage for the Favorite. The other numbers that when added a ½ point represent an advantage for either team tend to be 1 and 5; when talking about low point spreads.

Average and High Point Spreads

The average point spread refers to the NFL match-ups that are slightly in favor of the Favorite and range between 6 and 10. Games that end up having a score difference of 6 to 10 points are usually between strong teams vs. average teams, and average teams vs. weak teams. Whereas the high point spread is anything above 10 points and is usually between a very strong team and a weak team.

When a sports bettor encounters these kinds of point spread, they can start to determine that the Favorite team has a stronger chance of winning the game based on certain attributes. It could be that they have a stronger offense and stronger defense than their opponent, or it could be affected by their latest performances during the season. Either way, they should be careful with these bets, as the high point spread may lure them into false confidence when combining the Point Spread with the other wagers on the betting line.

Middling the Point Spread

Middling is a term often used by sports bettors that like to take advantage of the different odds they can find at various different sportsbooks. For this strategy to work, a bettor would need to be a member of at least two sportsbooks. The basic concept of middling a bet is to spread the risk of losing using two different odds. First thing the bettor needs to do is find the NFL betting lines from two different sportsbooks, and they must have different point spread values; obviously for the same NFL match.

Sportsbook 1 (BetOnline):

Sportsbook 2 (TopBet):

From these two sportsbooks we can see that for the same matchup, they have different point spread values. What we do in this instance is decide which sportsbook to place the wager on the Favorite and which on the Underdog. We can determine this by looking at the point spread; a lower spread makes it easier for the Favorite to beat it, as they won’t have to score as many points. The higher the spread makes it harder for the Favorite to beat it, and inversely gives the Underdog a better chance to keep the score difference below that value.

Bet At Point Spread Team
Sportsbook 1 +3 (+100) Pittsburgh Steelers
Sportsbook 2 -3 (-110) New York Giants

This way, if the bettor will definitely win a wager and his losses will be minimal. The strategy behind this is to pick the appropriate match-ups and odds in order to get a positive return. With these specific odds, the most the bettor will lose is $10, but his gain will be just as small. The way to succeed with this method is to do it a lot, for most matches, and that way, over time you will be able to win a greater amount.

Point Spread: Differential System

This specific system seems to be long and tedious to do at first, but once you get the hang of it, it will be a piece of cake and help you pick the most appropriate team to bet on.

First Step: Past Game Schedule

During this first step, the sports bettor needs to see find the previous playing schedule of the two teams. When looking up the information, it is essential that the bettor use matches that were played during the current season and try to have the most games possible. For the purpose of this example we will be using the Dallas Cowboys vs. Atlanta Falcon matchup from above and only be taking the latest five games from their schedule.

Dallas Cowboys VS. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Dallas Cowboys VS. Chicago Bears
Dallas Cowboys VS. Baltimore Ravens
Dallas Cowboys VS. Carolina Panthers
Dallas Cowboys VS. New York Giants
Atlanta Falcons VS. San Diego Chargers
Atlanta Falcons VS. Carolina Panthers
Atlanta Falcons VS. Washington Redskins
Atlanta Falcons VS. Oakland Raiders
Atlanta Falcons VS. Philadelphia Eagles

Second Step: Home and Away Stats

During this step, the bettor needs to add up all of the total points scored for and against each of the teams during their five games.


Points Scored

Points Scored Against

Dallas Cowboys



Atlanta Falcons



Third Step: Calculate the Averages

Once the bettor has the totals, they need to find the average points. This is done by simply taking the totals and dividing them by the number of games played; which in this case is 5.


Average Points Scored

Average Points Allowed

Dallas Cowboys



Atlanta Falcons



Fourth Step: Calculate the Opponents Averages

The bettor needs to find each of the team’s opponents average points scored for and against, and then get the average points from those.

Cowboys Opponents Averages
Team Points Scored Points Allowed
Buccaneers 26.3 21.9
Bears 26.4 14.3
Ravens 24.9 23.0
Panthers 18.3 23.9
Giants 29.3 20.1
Average Points 25.04 20.64
Falcons Opponents Averages
Team Points Scored Points Allowed
Chargers 22.0 20.6
Panthers 18.3 23.9
Redskins 26.6 28.4
Raiders 19.9 26.7
Eagles 17.1 22.1
Average Points 20.78 24.34

Fifth Step: Calculating Team Performance

The bettor now needs to determine what the offensive and defensive performance was for the Cowboys and the Falcons. The bettor needs to divide the Average Points Scored and the Average Points Allowed by the Total Averages of their opponents (during step 4).

Team Offensive Performance Defensive Performance
Dallas Cowboys (Away) (21.2 / 25.04) = 0.84 or -16% (23.6 / 20.64) = 1.14 or -14%
Atlanta Falcons (Home) (26.8 / 20.78) = 1.28 or 128% (17 / 24.34) = 0.69 or 69%

For offensive performance: the value of 1.00 is the average performance, thus if the value is below 1.00 then they are only performing at that percent of the average. If the value is above, it means they are playing above average by that value.

For defensive performance: the value of 1.00 is the average performance. If the value is higher than 1.00, it means that the team is performing below average by a certain percent. If the value is lower than 1.00, it means the team is performing better than the average by that value.

The Cowboys are performing 16% below their opponent’s average offensively and 14% below defensively. The Falcons are performing 28% above their opponent’s average offensively and 31% above defensively.

Sixth Step: Adding the Percentages

The bettor needs to add the percentages and divide by two in order to figure out their performance figure.

  • To calculate the Home team’s performance figure: Add the Home team’s offensive performance with the Away team’s defensive performance then divide by two.
  • To calculate the Away team’s performance figure: Add the Away team’s offensive performance with the Home team’s defensive performance then divide by two.

Team Calculation Performance Figure
Dallas Cowboys (Away) (0.84 + 0.69) / 2 0.77
Atlanta Falcons (Home) (1.28 + 1.14) / 2 1.21

Seventh Step: Offensive Number

This step requires the bettor to calculate the team’s offensive number.

  • To calculate the Home team’s offensive number: Add the Home team’s points scored with the Away team’s points allowed then divide by two.
  • To calculate the Away team’s offensive number: Add the Away team’s points scored with the Home team’s points allowed then divide by two.

Team Calculation Offensive Number
Dallas Cowboys (Away) (21.2 + 17) / 2 19.1
Atlanta Falcons (Home) (26.8 + 23.6) / 2 25.2

Eighth Step: Predicting Points Scored

Using the Performance Figure and the Offensive Number that were found in steps 5 and 6 the bettor will find the amount of predicted points that each could score during the match.

  • To calculate the Home team’s predicted points scored: Multiply the Home team’s offensive number by its performance figure then add 1.5. Home teams get a +1.5 as they have home team advantage.
  • To calculate the Away team’s predicted points scored: Multiply the Away team’s offensive number by its performance figure then subtract 1.5. Away teams get a -1.5 as they are playing on the road.

Team Calculation Predicted Points Scored
Dallas Cowboys (Away) (19.1 x 0.77) – 1.5 13.2
Atlanta Falcons (Home) (25.2 x 1.21) + 1.5 31.99

Final Step: Predicted Outcome

Taking the two predicted points scored, we have come up with a possible final score. The match of Dallas Cowboys vs. Atlanta Falcons would end 31.99 to 13.2 in favor of the Falcons. If we subtract these two figures, we would get the potential point spread of the game; which would of 18.79 or simply 18 points.