What Does +3.5 Mean In Betting? Spread Betting Margin Explained

Navigating a sportsbook can often be a tricky task for rookie gamblers, so our experts are on hand to explain what +3.5 means and help you better understand the concept of spread betting in general.

If you’re an experienced sports bettor or someone completely new to this game, our guide is for you. Spread betting has become one of the most popular wagering options for punters all across the US, most commonly found in NBA and NFL bets.

It isn’t just those sports that adopt spread betting – you can find handicap markets for pretty much every sport under the sun. We’ll show you everything you need to know about spread betting and how to place one of these bets yourself.

What Does +3.5 Mean In Betting?

First of all, let’s answer the question of what +3.5 means in betting.

In most major US sports, spread betting is the most popular form of wagering. Point spreads are handicaps introduced by the sportsbook, which is placed on a team based on whether they are expected to win or lose by a certain margin.

  • When you see a plus (+) sign next to a team, that means they’re the underdogs.
  • A minus (-) sign next to a team means they’re the favorites

When spread betting on a favorite, your concern is simply whether that team wins by a specified margin.

However, there’s an extra variable involved in spread betting on the underdog. For instance, if you backed a team at +3.5, that means your bet will win if they either lose the game by three points or less or win outright. If the team loses by four points or more, your bet is lost.

Essentially, with the +3.5 spread, you’re holding onto hope that the team you’ve backed can keep the deficit to a small margin or upset the favorite and snatch an outright victory. The favorite winning can still mean your bet is successful if the underdog can somewhat hold their own.

+3.5 bets are especially popular in tight-knit, close encounters that the sportsbook isn’t giving away any clues on. The closer the spread, the bigger chance an underdog has of pulling off an upset. We’ll go into further detail below on every inch of spread betting so it’s easier to understand.

+3.5 Spread vs The Moneyline

The +3.5 points spread will generally be for closely contested matches.

That said, if you want to wager on the favorite using the moneyline, opting for the spread and betting on the +3.5 market will significantly narrow the gap in odds between the underdogs and the favorites.

See the example below where the Miami Heat are the moneyline favorites at -160, but with a -3.5 start in the spread, they are now a slightly better price (-110). This is because they will start the game with -3.5 fictitious points, so have more on their plate to win.

In contrast, the New Orleans Pelicans were the underdogs in the moneyline betting market (+135), but with a +3.5 points start, they are now the same price (-110) as the Miami Heat in the spread. Due to having a fictitious headstart (+3.5 points) in the match.

Therefore, if you are wanting to back the favorite (and you think they will win the game by 4+ points), you can obtain better value here by betting in the +3.5 spread market.

3.5 spread example

What Is Spread Betting?

Spread betting in sports is wagering on how many points a team will win or lose by. As mentioned above, the most common practice for spread betting is seen for sports such as basketball (NBA) and American football (NFL) but it applies to most around the world.

The concept was introduced to level the playing field and increase betting action on both sides. Each game will be awarded a point spread which is set by oddsmakers and the spread relates directly to the margin of victory in any chosen game around the world.

Betting Against The Spread Is Common

It’s most common to bet against the spread in sports that are higher scoring, so it wouldn’t be as frequent for baseball, soccer and ice hockey – which would all be associated with moneyline betting for the most part.

When you’re exploring a sportsbook and looking at point spreads, you’ll see a plus (+) sign next to one team and a minus (-) sign next to the other. Below, we’ve created an example that you’d see in today’s NBA to help you understand better.

  • Oklahoma City Thunder -8.5 (-110)
  • Miami Heat +8.5 (-110)

The minus represents the favorite and the plus represents the underdog. In our above example, the favorites are the Oklahoma City Thunder – and the -8.5 means that oddsmakers think the Thunder are 8.5 points better than the Miami Heat in this encounter.

If you backed the Thunder spread, Oklahoma City would need to win by nine or more points for your bet to win. If you backed the Heat spread, your bet wins if Miami keeps the deficit within eight points or wins the game outright.

Theoretically, those who are taking the Thunder spread understand that Miami are awarded an 8.5-point head start on the favorites. Those who are taking the Heat spread are hoping that by the end of the fourth quarter, Oklahoma City will not have made up that 8.5-point difference.

Example Of A +3.5 Bet

Charlotte Hornets +3.5

For example, take this NBA game between the Charlotte Hornets and Washington Wizards. If you wanted to back Charlotte as 3.5-point underdogs against Washington, a $100 bet would return profits of $66.67 for a total return of $166.67.

If the Hornets win the game or lose by less than three points, your wager is settled as a winner. However, if the Wizards win the game by four or more points, your bet loses.

How Does A +3.5 Bet Win?

There are two different ways in which a +3.5 bet can win. When spread betting on an underdog, for example – if you’ve backed the Milwaukee Bucks at +3.5 in the point spread market – your wager will win if the Bucks win the game outright.

However, if they can’t pull it off and the favorite wins – there’s still a chance you can take home your potential payout, but only if Milwaukee keeps the losing deficit within three points and doesn’t let it stretch out to four or more.

Spread betting on underdogs gives you two different avenues to win, whereas spread betting on favorites gives you just one – they have to win by a certain amount of points or more, that’s it.

What Are The Best Sports For +3.5 Betting?

Handicap and spread markets are available for most sports on a sportsbook, but there are some that would be considered more useful than others when taking this approach. Below, we outline all of the best sports for +3.5 betting and why.

NBA Point Spread Betting

NBA point spread betting is arguably the most popular choice on offer. The high-scoring and back-and-forth nature of the game of basketball means it’s perfectly suited to a point spread wager.

Researching and doing your homework when NBA point spread betting is one of the most important factors to consider, and it’s worth looking at elements like home-court advantage, recent form, head-to-head records, and individual match-up comparisons between players to make the most informed decision possible.

NFL Point Spread Betting

US sports fans are obsessed with point spread betting and it extends to the NFL, which is another hugely popular option when wagering on football. Like basketball, the high-scoring nature in football means it’s another well-suited sport for point spread betting.

MLB Point Spread Betting

Point spread betting in the MLB is slightly different than the two listed above. Instead of a point spread, the term in baseball is known as a run line. Run line betting isn’t a particularly popular wager because it’s normally set at -1.5 for the favorite and +1.5 for the underdog.

A single run decides around 30% of MLB games, and with that in mind, you’re probably just better off staking your cash on the moneyline. When betting on baseball, important factors to consider include the starting pitchers, batting lineups, what the weather is like, and how each team’s home/away splits stack up.

NHL Point Spread Betting

Like MLB, NHL point spread betting also adopts its own term – called the puck line, which is separated by goals scored. Hockey is generally considered quite a low-scoring sport, and similarly to MLB betting, the puck line is usually set at 1.5 on both sides.

Soccer Spread Betting

Spread betting on soccer is one of the most popular ways to bet on the planet’s most recognized sport. In soccer, the spread is usually known as a ‘handicap,’ and it’s typically set at between 0.5 and 2 goals for each encounter.

As with every other sport, the favorite will adopt a minus number, receiving a goal(s) handicap, and the underdog will have a plus number, getting a goal(s) advantage.

Why Bet On +3.5 Betting Markets?

+3.5 betting markets are so popular because it’s seen as a more efficient way to wager. In a lot of cases, sporting contests are majorly one-sided, so placing a moneyline bet is normally pointless because the odds are either too low or too high.

With spread betting markets, this evens the playing field and allows more bettors to get involved in the action at reasonable odds. If you think watching sporting encounters that are blowouts is boring, then spread betting makes any game into a close match-up.

It can increase your excitement of watching the game and it’s a great way to display your knowledge of the sport. Predicting that a strong favorite will beat a weak underdog is easy, and anyone can do that, but not everyone can accurately predict the margin of victory.

Spread betting and +3.5 betting markets allow people who have a keen eye for sports with an edge on the field to take advantage of the markets. It’s not easy to win consistently, but those who do reap some incredibly rewarding benefits.

If you think a certain underdog in the NHL has a good chance of upsetting a favorite, betting on them with a +3.5 point head start is a popular way of attacking the point spread markets.

Do All US Sportsbooks Offer +3.5 Betting?

Yes, all the top US sportsbooks will offer point spread betting. They will also allow you to create alternate lines and choose your own margin of spread if you wish, moving as far up and down as you like.

These top-rated US sportsbooks will offer +3.5 betting not only for entire contests – but first halves, second halves, and quarters as well. BetOnline is one of the most popular choices in the country for point spread betting, offering customizable spreads, real-time odds updates, and an excellent live betting suite.

With +3.5 betting becoming a more popular avenue for bettors every day, it’s worth signing up today and enjoying generous benefits like free bets and exclusive welcome offers to get you started.

What Is The Opposite Of +3.5 Betting?

The opposite of +3.5 betting is -3.5 betting, turning the underdog into a favorite and reducing the number of variables needed to win. When +3.5 betting, there are two ways to win – one, if the team wins outright, and two, if the team keeps the deficit within three points.

This is completely different from -3.5 betting, which needs the team to win by four or more points to enjoy profit.

Oklahoma City Thunder -3.5

What Are The Positives Of +3.5 Betting?

  • Very popular type of wager with most US sportsbooks, offered everywhere

There isn’t a sportsbook in America that won’t take your bet on a point spread, so having something like this in your locker is very useful and it’s an important skill to learn.

  • Can offer excitement and drama to overly one-sided match-ups

As a neutral, no one would be overly excited to sit down and watch a complete blowout – so wagering on the point spread can add a different dynamic to betting on one-sided contests, especially in the NBA and NFL. With spread betting, you can bring the underdog in the moneyline market closer to the favorite and give them a better chance of winning with a +3.5 point start.

  • Sportsbooks will allow you to customize the point spread to your liking

The point spread is fully customizable, and sportsbooks will allow you to buy and sell up to 40 points in each direction. Therefore, it’s not just set at +3.5. In even more one-sided games, the spread can be in double figures.

Can You Bet On +3.5 Betting Across Different Sports And Markets?

Yes, you can bet on +3.5 across different sports and markets. When betting at plus (+) odds, your chances of winning are lower than they would be when betting at minus (-) odds – so combining +3.5 selections together would return a mouthwatering profit if successful.

Known as a parlay, these types of combination bets are harder to win. They link together two or more individual wagers and the whole parlay is dependent on each selection winning. If any of the bets lose, the whole parlay loses.

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