Q:

What is an explanation of the college football point spreads on CNN?

A:

Quick Answer

Spread betting is a form of betting in which the bettor bets on the point differential between two teams instead of a "win or lose" outcome. In spread betting, the underdog team must score enough points to finish within the point spread relative to the favorite team, or the favorite team must score enough points to finish ahead of the point spread assigned from the bookmaker.

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Full Answer

If the point spread is 3.5, then the favorite team is represented by the a "-" sign, and the underdog team is represent by a "+" sign. A typical line may look like this: Ohio State University -3.5 (-110) University of Michigan +3.5 (+110). In order to win a bet placed on the University of Michigan, the team must score within 3.5 points of Ohio State, but a bet placed on Ohio State requires that the team beat Michigan by at least 3.5 points. "(-110)" means that the bettor must bet $110 to win $100. The $10 differential is referred to as the "juice" or "vig"; it helps the bookmaker secure a profit on the bet. "(+110)" means the bettor wins $110 if a $100 bet is placed. If the odds are even then the numbers may be replaced with the word "even" or the numbers "(-100)" and "(+100)" will be used; this is referred to as a "pick 'em" because the bettors are technically no longer betting against a point spread.

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