In sports betting, “cover” refers to a scenario where a team or participant wins a game by a margin greater than the point spread assigned by the sportsbook. To “cover the spread” means that the team not only wins the game but does so by a sufficient number of points to meet or exceed the point spread requirement.
How a Sports Betting Cover Works
To better understand the concept of “cover” in sports betting, let’s break it down:
- Point Spread: In many sports events, sportsbooks assign a point spread to create a more balanced betting market. The point spread represents the expected margin of victory for the favored team and the handicap given to the underdog.
- Covering the Spread: When a team “covers the spread,” it means they have won the game by a margin greater than the point spread indicates. This outcome benefits bettors who placed wagers on that team, as their bets are successful.
- Example: Suppose Team A is favored by 7 points over Team B in a football game. If Team A wins by 8 points or more, they have “covered the spread.” Bettors who placed bets on Team A will have winning bets.
Sports Betting Cover Example: Lakers vs. Nuggets with a +5 Point Spread
Let’s say you’re looking at an NBA matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets. The sportsbook has set the point spread at +5 for the Lakers, indicating that the Lakers are the underdogs in this game.
If you decide to bet on the Lakers at +5, you’re essentially betting that they will either win the game outright or lose by a margin of fewer than 5 points. To “cover the spread” in this scenario, the Lakers would need to achieve one of the following outcomes:
- Lakers Win: If the Lakers win the game, even by just one point, your bet would be successful, as they have not only covered the spread but also won the game outright.
- Close Loss: If the Lakers lose the game by a margin of fewer than 5 points, for example, by 3 or 4 points, your bet would still be considered successful, as they have covered the spread.
However, if the Lakers were to lose by 5 points or more, your bet would not cover the spread, and you would lose your wager.
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