If you’re looking for a strategy to improve your chances of profiting from every game while increasing your appreciation for sports, betting against the spread (known as ATS betting) is the strategy for you. This approach is about understanding the dynamics of point spreads and using this benefit to become more successful.

Against the spread betting is used when a bet is placed on the point spread -the estimated margin of victory for the favoured team set by bookmakers to level the playing field. The spread is determined before the game and can also be changed live.

Allowing you to bet on the spread if you are not alt-spreading a line (adjusting the standard point spread for different betting odds) will typically allow you to be profitable in the long run for those who hone their betting strategies. Most seasoned, professional bettors prefer the strategic depth of betting against the spread.

Understanding Against the Spread (ATS) Betting

Betting against the spread involves some more expertise and occurs when a bettor bets on a team to cover the spread instead of just winning the game. Covering the spread means the team exceeds the expectations set by the point spread, securing a win for ATS bettors even if the victory margin is slim. Whatever you are betting on, they would have to cover that spread for you to win.

For example, if you are betting on the Milwaukee Bucks to win by – 6.5, they would have to win the game by seven points or more or you would lose your bet. This example shows the importance of understanding not just who is likely to win but by how much, which is a core element of ATS betting strategy.

Against the spread betting is much different from a moneyline bet. In moneyline bets, all you need for the team or a player to do is win outright. In a point spread, which is against the spread, you would have to win with the points. However, it’s important to recognize that against the spread betting does help you level the playing field. This is particularly true for games with a clear favourite, where moneyline bets offer little value due to steep odds.

If you are somebody who is not looking to bet on juice and heavy moneylines of -150 or higher, doing so against the spread can help you. Betting on ‘juice’ refers to the commission bookmakers charge on popular bets, which tends to be less prohibitive in ATS betting than in moneyline betting. Against the spread, lines are usually -110 or -120 if they are a regular line, which in the long run, meaning they can be better than betting on moneylines that are -150 or higher.

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Point Spread Example

Understanding Point Spreads

To bet against the spread, you have to understand point spread betting. Oddsmakers and bookmakers typically set the point spread based on their findings of a particular match or event. The odds favour the team assigned a negative point, and they underdog the team getting the positive points. This means the favoured team must win by more points than the spread suggests to “cover,” while the underdog can lose by fewer points than the spread or win outright to cover.

Whatever the spread is telling you is what they believe is going to happen in that game

For example, if the Boston Celtics are five-point favourites, the sportsbooks believe that the Celtics are going to win by that many points. However, this doesn’t guarantee the outcome; it’s simply an estimation meant to balance betting on both sides.

The use of half points is also important because of hooks. For example, if you bet on the New York Yankees to win by -1.5 and they only win by one, you would lose your bet. These half points, or “hooks,” can significantly impact the outcome of your bet. Therefore, you should fully understand the nuances of the spread.

Sportsbooks do this because it adds some safety to their side, but it also makes it tougher on the bettor.

It’s not uncommon to see people take alt spreads in that scenario and pay a price to take the line without the half point, as it can be less risky. Alt spreads offer a way to adjust the standard point spread for different odds, giving you more control over your betting strategy.

Hooks are why betting against the spread can get tough. Hooks occur when the last half point of a non-hole number hits. Understanding the risk of hooks and how they affect bets is important when you want to succeed in ATS betting.

For example, if you have Jayson Tatum to score over 25.5 points, and he scores just 25, that means you got hooked.

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ATS Betting Decision Factors

Factors to Consider on Against the Spread Betting

You can think of many factors when betting against the spread. However, they are all more important than what you would normally do with a moneyline.

For example, you can feel confident that the Celtics will win as -250 favourites on the moneyline, but you might not want to give the 7.5-point spread they are giving. This example shows the complexity of ATS betting, where the spread itself can be as significant as the matchup.

Some of the factors you need to watch out for are:

In addition to the spread as it stands, reading the line entails analyzing how it has changed since opening, which can reveal information about public and sharp betting behaviour. Win-loss records alone might not always reveal consistency or unpredictability, but team performance trends, particularly in relation to the spread, can.

The public can change these lines as they also bet against the spread. For example, if the Kansas City Chiefs had 80 or more percent of bets on them at -6.5, the sportsbooks might start moving that line to a less favourable number for bettors backing the Chiefs. This action helps balance the amount of money wagered on both sides of the bet.

If everybody were to take a -6.5 line and the Chiefs won by seven points or more, it would be a bad day for the sportsbooks.

This process is referred to as “line movement,” and it is an important phenomenon for bettors to watch since it might indicate changes in public opinion or responses to news items like player injuries, weather-related changes, or the home-field advantage.

Strategies for Successful ATS Betting

If you want to get the most value out of your bets, you apply certains startegies to profit in the long run.

Shop for the best lines

Shopping for the best lines, which means looking at multiple different sportsbooks to see which line you can get a game at, is arguably the most important.

For example, if DraftKings sportsbook has a game at -5.5 but FanDuel has a game at -4.5, you might want to take the FanDuel line instead. This isn’t always common, but against the spread betting does require looking for small things like that.

Follow line movements

Line movement means that a game starts at a certain point but then it goes to a different spread. For example, if you want to bet against the spread for the Bucks to win by seven points, but then you see that it went down to only 4.5 points, that means something happened. Injuries, public betting, and other factors could cause this.

Focus on matchup advantages

Analyzing matchup advantages means delving deeply into each contest’s specifics to see where one team may have a strategic advantage over another. This is more than simply looking at total win-loss records; it also includes:

For example, a basketball team that excels at perimeter shooting may have a significant edge over a team with poorer perimeter defence, even if the sportsbooks consider the latter the favourite. Similarly, in football, a team with a strong defensive line may outperform a team that relies largely on its running game.

Keep emotions out of bets

Perhaps the most important strategy for success in against the spread betting is keeping your emotions out of your bets. When you bet with emotions and on your favourite teams, your perception is often clouded. That means that you are betting on a team because you believe something will happen as a fan instead of actually finding data to back that bet.

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Game Outcome and Betting Result

ATS Betting in Different Sports

Although the same principle applies for against the spread betting in all sports, each sport has its own benchmarks and peculiarities. Let’s examine those for the most popular sports.

NBA Against the Spread Betting

Against the spread betting on the NBA is one of the toughest things to bet on. The reason for that is that the sportsbooks often get these games right. In basketball, you are betting on a team to perform better than the point spread set by the sportsbook.

In basketball, there are often times when games are down to the last few seconds, and the spread is hitting, but a team will foul late in the game and also just shoot a three-point for no apparent reason. These moments can swing the outcome in relation to the spread caused by strategic decisions or teams trying to turn the game around. When stuff like that happens, it can certainly be frustrating, but it’s something to keep in the back of your mind when betting on basketball.

A thorough comprehension of team dynamics, player circumstances, and even coaching tactics becomes can help you make the right decisions. Focusing not only on the key players but also on the supporting players and their influence on the game can yield valuable insights into possible results. Another strategy is assessing how teams perform under pressure or in critical momentum, which can also provide an advantage in betting.

NBA against the spread is tough but can be profitable if you find your successful ways of betting by doing the required research and having as much information as possible.

MLB Against the Spread Betting

Betting against the spread in MLB isn’t exactly the smartest or easiest thing to do. The reason for that is that winning by 1.5 runs isn’t an easy task.

This spread, often referred to as the run line in baseball betting, challenges bettors to predict not just a team’s victory but a victory with a margin. It’s similar to NHL against the spread betting as winning in hockey also isn’t easy by two or more goals.

The sportsbooks give you those lines because they believe that their team is only going to likely win by one run. With bullpens blowing games and other factors, such as late-game strategic changes, pinch hitters, and relievers’ performances, sometimes it’s just smarter to bet on the moneyline than against the spread in Major League Baseball.

The run line can provide valuable betting opportunities for those who analyze team stats, understand bullpen strengths, and consider matchup details like pitcher vs. hitter history and team performance in similar situations. But in general, MLB against the spread betting is just as tough as any other sport.

NFL Against the Spread Betting

NFL against the spread betting is one of the more common betting tactics in the gambling space. With only a select amount of games compared to other sports, there’s a ton of action on both sides as bettors are eager to place bets on them all year. This enthusiasm is partly due to the NFL’s massive popularity and the strategic depth involved in ATS betting within the league.

The one thing with the NFL is that you have to be careful with the half-points. For example, if you are taking a team to win by 3.5, there’s a good chance that you are going to lose by that half-point and get hooked. Half-points, or ‘hooks’ can turn a push into a win or a loss based on a very small margin.

The reason for that is that if a team is tied with a few seconds remaining on the clock as they set up for a game-winning field goal, they would only win by three points, not the 3.5 that you need to win. This makes understanding the scoring dynamics and common point margins in the NFL essential. Knowing this enables you to make the right betting decisions, especially in close matchups where every point counts.

NHL Against the Spread Betting

The National Hockey League is known to be the most challenging sport to bet on when it comes to against the spread betting, more commonly referred to as the “puck line” in hockey.

Empty net goals introduce a unique element of unpredictability, which is less common in other sports, making the NHL attractive for spread bettors.

It is often better to take a moneyline or a 60-minute line in the NHL. For example, if you have a team to lose by less than 1.5 goals and they are down one with 30 seconds left and pull the goalie and the other team scores, you have now just lost your bet with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game. Cases like this show how important it is to understand each team’s playing style.

When betting against the puck line, it is important to evaluate the following:

NHL against the spread betting is no easy task for new bettors, but with the right insights and considerations, it can offer rewarding opportunities. However, you have to be willing to work with the complexities that are involved.

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Managing Risks and Bankroll Management

Having bankroll Management in against the spread betting is as important as anything else. If you want to be a successful long-term better, you have to manage your risk and bankroll management. There are some strategies for avoiding common pitfalls, which are:

Knowing your necessities is important when making a bankroll. This means that if you have bills to pay and other things that come before sports betting, you should put money aside and avoid using it for sports betting.

Stake levels and betting units

Two of the most important parts of bankroll management are stake levels and betting units.

Stake levels refer to how much of your bankroll you use for each bet. You can determine your stake level by assessing your risk tolerance and betting style. In general, lower stake levels are considered more conservative, while higher stake levels are more aggressive.

Betting units should be a fixed percentage of your total bankroll, providing a consistent measure for wagering regardless of the confidence level in a particular bet. This method helps manage risk over the long term. Your betting unit size is determined by the size of your bet relative to your overall bankroll, not directly by the point spread. For example, a common betting strategy is to risk 1% to 2% of your bankroll on each bet for long-term sustainability.

Stake levels and betting units help you maintain discipline in your betting. The stake level sets your overall risk tolerance while betting units help you to apply this across all bets.

Keeping tabs on your betting

Keeping detailed records of your bets can provide valuable insights into your past betting habits and strategies. This analysis includes wins, losses, and the rationale behind each bet. With this approach you know where to improve and how to refine the strategies that have proven to be successful in the past.

Avoid emotional betting 

Emotional betting is something that you should avoid at all costs. You have to keep in mind that betting is a long-term endeavour and not a quick profit scheme if you want to be successful. Making decisions based on your emotions is a recipe for failure.

For instance, as a fan of the New Orleans Pelicans, you might be tempted to bet heavily on their victory in a high-stakes game against a rival team, even when the data tells you otherwise. When you give in to the desire to support your team through betting, especially when the sports betting odds tell you something else, you have failed to resist emotional betting, potentially leading to significant losses.


In conclusion, remember to practice safe online betting, first and foremost. On top of that, when you are betting against the spread, make sure to understand how each sport works. The strategies we discussed in this article, such shopping for the best lines to focusing on matchup advantages, underscore the multifaceted approach required for ATS betting success.

You don’t want to lose your bet by a hook frequently, so if it means betting against the spread and buying a half point, that might be the best thing to do.However, besides these tactical considerations, the following factors can help you to become in against the spread betting:

Key strategies for long-term profitability in sports betting include:

Remember, in the world of ATS betting, knowledge and discipline are your most valuable assets.


What Is Against the Spread?

 Against the spread betting is betting against the point spread. It means that you have to win by a certain amount of points or only lose by a certain amount of points to win your bet. Once you have that, you’re ready to make your betting picks.

What Is ATS in Betting?

ATS in betting is Against The Spread.

What Does Against the Spread Mean in Sports Betting?

Against the spread means betting against the line that the sportsbook set before the game and often, during, in case of live betting.

How To Bet Against the Spread NFL (National Football League)?

If you want to bet against the spread in the NFL, head over to your sportsbooks and click NFL to start placing wagers during the season. Wagering more and more over time as you get comfortable is suggested, not wagering it all at first.

How To Pick Football Games Against the Spread?

Betting against the spread in the NFL allows you to pick the winner of the line the sportsbooks made. For betting against it in football, you want to follow trends, expert bets, and more.

How Do You Pick Against the Spread?

Picking against the spread is all up to the bettor. If you want to make money in the long term, it’s important to find a strategy that will work for you.

How to Win Against the Spread?

Winning against the spread is just like every other bet. You have to find what you want to bet on and find stats to see if you are betting on the right side.