Point Spread Betting in Virginia: A Guide to Betting the Spread in VA

Fact Checked by Blake Weishaar

In the heart of sports betting, point spread betting adds another layer of excitement to the game. As Virginia sportsbooks continue to flourish, understanding the ins and outs of point spreads become crucial for enthusiasts looking to navigate the dynamic landscape of wagering in Old Dominion.

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What is a Point Spread in Virginia?

A point spread refers to a betting term used in sports. It's a way to even the odds between teams of unequal skill levels. 

The point spread indicates how much a favored team is expected to win by, and the underdog is given a corresponding head start. For example, if the point spread is 5 points, the favored team must win by more than 5 points for a bet on them to succeed. 

Alternatively, the underdog can cover the spread by losing by less than the specified points. It's a popular method in sports betting to make matchups more engaging and balanced for bettors. Remember that if you use VA sportsbook promos, you can sometimes receive more favorable point spreads. 

How Does Point Spread Betting Work?

Point spread betting with sports betting apps in Virginia works by leveling the playing field for sporting events where one team is expected to be stronger than the other. 

In simple terms, it's like giving the weaker team a head start. Let's say the Washington Commanders are the favorite, and the Philadelphia Eagles are the underdog. A point spread is set, like Commanders -5.5 points. If you bet on the Commanders, they need to win by more than 5.5 points for your bet to win. If you bet on the Eagles, they can either win the game or lose by less than 5.5 points for your bet to succeed. 

The idea is to make betting more interesting and fair, as it considers not just who wins, but by how much. It's a way to balance the odds and add excitement to sports wagering.

How To Read Point Spreads in Virginia

Whether you're using ESPN BET VA or any other sportsbook, it's important to be able to read point spreads. If a team has a negative number like -3, they are the favorites and must win by more than 3 points for a bet on them to succeed. If a team has a positive number, such as +3, they are the underdogs and can either win the game or lose by less than 3 points for a successful bet. Understanding these numbers helps you gauge the expected competitiveness of the game and make informed betting decisions in Virginia.


In point spread betting, the underdog is the team that is expected to lose the game. The underdog is given a point spread advantage to make the betting more enticing. For example, if the point spread at BetMGM Virginia is +5 for the underdog, they can either win the game or lose by less than 5 points for a bet on them to succeed. Betting on the underdog can be riskier but more rewarding, as they are perceived to have a lower chance of winning according to the odds.

The Favorite

The favorite is the team expected to win the game in point spread betting. They are assigned a negative point spread by the sportsbook like Caesars sports betting VA, such as -5, which means they must win by more than 5 points for a bet on them to be successful. Betting on the favorite is considered a safer option, given their higher likelihood of winning, but the potential payout is generally lower. Point spreads aim to balance the perceived skill difference between teams, making even matchups more engaging for bettors.

Pick 'Ems

Pick 'ems, or even odds," refer to matchups where there is no clear favorite or underdog at the sportsbook like bet365 Sportsbook Virginia. In these cases, the point spread is set at zero, and bettors simply need to pick the team they think will win. It's essentially a straight-up bet with no points given or taken. Pick 'em games are often seen as more unpredictable, and the focus is solely on picking the winner rather than considering a point spread. This type of betting is popular when the teams are evenly matched, and the outcome is highly uncertain.

Odds Movement

Odds movements refer to changes in the betting odds for a particular game, especially concerning the point spread. These changes happen based on various factors like team performance, injuries, or betting patterns.

Let's consider an example involving the Washington Capitals in hockey:

Imagine the original point spread for a Capitals game is -1.5, meaning they are the favorites and need to win by more than 1.5 points for a bet on them to succeed. If a lot of people start betting heavily on the Capitals, the sportsbook might adjust the odds by moving the point spread to -2.5 to attract more bets on the opposing team (the underdog). This adjustment aims to balance the betting action and reduce the sportsbook's risk.

Conversely, if many bets are placed on the underdog, the sportsbook might move the point spread to +0.5, giving the underdog a slight advantage. This adjustment encourages more bets on the Capitals to even out the wagers. Understanding odds movements is crucial for bettors to make informed decisions, as they reflect changes in the perceived competitiveness of the game.

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American Odds vs. European Odds in Point Spread Betting

In point spread betting, American odds focus on the profit or amount risked relative to a $100 bet, while European odds directly indicate the total payout, including the original wager, for a successful bet

American Odds

In American odds, the focus is on how much money you need to wager to win $100 or how much you could win with a $100 bet. For favorites with negative odds, such as -150, you would need to bet $150 to win $100. For underdogs with positive odds, like +200, a $100 bet would yield a $200 profit if successful. In point spread betting, these odds represent the potential profit relative to a $100 bet, regardless of the point spread.

European Odds

European odds, also known as decimal odds, express the total amount you would receive, including your original wager, for a winning bet. For example, if the odds are 1.50, you would receive $1.50 for every $1 wagered, including your initial bet. In point spread betting, European odds are more straightforward as they directly represent the total payout for a successful bet, irrespective of whether the odds are for favorites or underdogs.

Outcomes of Spread Betting in Virginia

When betting the spread, it's important to remember that in fact, it doesn't matter who wins. What is important is the margin of victory, or loss. 

Winning a Spread Bet

Winning a spread bet means that the team you bet on either outperformed the point spread or the team you wagered against didn't perform as well as expected. In simple terms, if you bet on the favorite, they need to win by more points than the specified spread. If you bet on the underdog, they either need to win the game or lose by fewer points than the spread. If the actual outcome aligns with your chosen scenario, you win the bet. Winning a spread bet indicates a successful prediction and results in a profit.

Losing a Spread Bet

Conversely, losing a spread bet happens when the outcome doesn't align with your prediction. If you bet on the favorite, they might not win by enough points, or if you bet on the underdog, they might lose by more points than the spread. In either case, the actual result goes against what you anticipated, resulting in a loss of the wagered amount. Losing a spread bet means you do not receive any winnings, and the amount you bet is essentially lost. It's an inherent part of sports betting where predictions don't always match the actual game outcome.

Push or Tie

A tie or a push occurs when the final margin of victory or defeat exactly matches the point spread set by the sportsbook like DraftKings Sportsbook Virginia. For example, if the point spread is -5 and the favored team wins by exactly 5 points, or if the underdog loses by exactly 5 points, it results in a tie.

When a point spread bet ends in a tie, it means that neither the bettors who wagered on the favorite nor those who bet on the underdog win or lose. Instead, the bets are typically refunded, and bettors get their original wager amount back. Essentially, a push is a neutral outcome where there is no financial gain or loss for the bettors involved. It's a way for the sportsbook to ensure a fair resolution in situations where the actual game result aligns exactly with the predicted point spread.

Virginia Point Spread Payouts Explained

Point spread payouts in sports betting depend on several factors, including the amount wagered, the odds assigned to the point spread, and whether the bet is successful or not. When betting on the point spread, a successful bet means that the chosen team either outperformed or underperformed the specified point spread.

What Does Covering the Spread Mean in Virginia? 

Covering the spread in Virginia, or in any sports betting context, means that a team has performed better than the point spread assigned by oddsmakers. If you bet on the favored team, they need to win by more points than the spread for your bet to cover. If you bet on the underdog, they either need to win the game or lose by fewer points than the spread. Successfully covering the spread results in a winning bet.

What Does Against the Spread (ATS) Mean in Virginia? 

Against the Spread (ATS) in Virginia refers to betting on the outcome of a game relative to the point spread. If a team is "playing ATS," it means they are being considered in the context of the point spread. For example, if a team is 5-2 ATS, it indicates that they have covered the spread in five out of seven games. ATS is a common term used in sports betting discussions to assess a team's performance in relation to the point spread.

What is the Vig? 

The "vig," short for vigorish or juice, in Virginia represents the commission or fee that sportsbooks charge for facilitating bets. It is built into the odds and ensures that the sportsbook makes a profit regardless of the outcome of the game. The vig is typically included in the odds, influencing the potential payouts for both sides of a point spread bet. It's important for bettors to be aware of the vig, as it affects the overall profitability of their wagers.

Spread Betting Strategies for Virginia Sports Bettors

A spread betting strategy in Virginia is crucial for sports bettors seeking to make informed and profitable decisions. A well-thought-out strategy helps manage risks, maximize potential returns, and enhances the overall betting experience. Here are key points highlighting the importance of a spread betting strategy:

Risk Management

A strategy assists in managing the inherent risks of sports betting. By setting limits on the amount wagered and considering factors like bankroll management, bettors can avoid significant losses and ensure a more sustainable approach to betting.

Informed Decision-Making

Having a strategy involves research and analysis of relevant factors, such as team performance, player injuries, and historical trends. This informed decision-making process increases the likelihood of making accurate predictions on how teams will perform against the spread.


A consistent strategy helps bettors avoid impulsive or emotional decisions. Following a set approach ensures that bets are placed based on predetermined criteria rather than reacting to short-term fluctuations or emotional biases.


Sports betting landscapes can change, and teams' performances can vary. A good strategy is adaptable, allowing bettors to adjust their approach based on new information, changes in team dynamics, or shifts in the odds.

Maximizing Value

A strategy helps identify value bets, where the odds offered by the sportsbook may be more favorable than the perceived probability of an outcome. This can lead to more profitable opportunities over the long term.

Understanding Variability

Spread betting involves variability, and outcomes may not always align with expectations. A strategy acknowledges this variability and prepares bettors for both winning and losing streaks, helping them stay focused on long-term success.

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Place a Point Spread Bet in Virginia

Now that you've gained a comprehensive understanding of how point spread betting works in Virginia, you're well-equipped to navigate the exciting world of sports wagering. Armed with knowledge about favorites, underdogs, and the intricacies of point spreads, you have the tools to make informed decisions. Remember the significance of factors like odds movements, covering the spread, and the vig, all of which play pivotal roles in the dynamics of point spread betting.

As you venture into placing point spread bets in Virginia, utilize a well-thought-out strategy to manage risks and enhance your chances of long-term success. Whether you're backing the favorite, supporting the underdog, or playing the ATS game, your newfound comprehension of point spread betting positions you as a more savvy and discerning bettor.

Embrace the excitement, stay informed, and may your point spread bets in Virginia be both thrilling and rewarding. Happy betting!

Virginia Point Spread Betting FAQ


Editorial Staff

The experts at BetVirginia who bring you the latest updates in Virginia sports betting. We pull together decades of experience to give you analysis as well as comparisons of the best VA online gambling apps.

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