Do Spreads Count in Overtime?

by | Apr 28, 2022

A close game is happening in a game that seems tight on paper. With a contest going down to the wire, both teams are trying to win by the slimmest of margins. As luck would have it, they battle to a tie and overtime awaits.

However, the overtime period ends up being very one-sided. In a basketball game, that could mean a team still winning by double-digits after being tied at the end of regulation. This leads people to wonder if spreads count in overtime or not.

Do Spreads Count in Overtime?

Yes, spreads count in overtime at the vast majority of sportsbooks. It can end up being very unfortunate for some gamblers, but overtime generally means that it will finish closely.

How Does Pointspread Betting Work?

Before getting into the details of overtime and pointspreads, it’s important to know what pointspreads are in the first place. Whether it’s two teams or individuals going against each other, there’s almost always a favorite and an underdog. To make things a bit even from a betting perspective, a pointspread can come into play. The favorite has a negative pointspread, while the underdog has a positive pointspread.

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Pointspreads will make sure that the favorite side wins by a particular number of runs, goals, or points. Conversely, underdogs have the option of either winning, or keeping it close enough that it was considered a moral victory. The goal for a sportsbook is to get equal amounts of money coming in on both teams with a pointspread.

If there is still a lot of difference between the number of bets made on both sides, the pointspread will move in real-time. The beauty of having online betting these days allows that to be a possibility.

Are Ties Possible with a Pointspread?

Overtime occurs because there is a tie between the two sides in the contest. Can a tie happen with a pointspread? While it’s technically possible, there are ways for sportsbooks to avoid ties if they want to.

A lot of pointspreads will have a .5 or 1/2 At the end of the number. For example, a favorite could be -3.5 or -4.5. Since a team can’t score a fraction of a point, this essentially ensures that there are no ties. Most people prefer this option, as it’s much easier to not have to deal with a push result.

A tie could be particularly annoying if it is part of a parlay. If everything else is a win, but there’s one tie, it could mess with a huge payout.

Why Short Overtimes Help Gamblers

Overtime might frustrate some people betting on the pointspread, but it almost always ensures that it will be a close game regardless. Very rarely do teams suffer a huge loss in overtime. Some of the rules of sports simply won’t allow it, while those that go by a set amount of time don’t give the two sides a large amount of opportunity.

There have been occasions where NBA teams still win by double-digits despite the game going to overtime. However, this is very rare, and most overtime contests are decided by five points or less. This bodes particularly well for anyone who bet on the underdog, since they have the opportunity to win in most scenarios.

In the NFL, a team can only win by so much in overtime. The same goes for baseball, as a four-run lead is the maximum margin of victory in extra innings.

Overtime and Over/Unders

Overtime impacts the spread, but it impacts the over/under the most. If there is even one overtime, the chances of the over/under finishing as an over increases greatly. Teams are getting more opportunities to score, even if they are tiring a bit.

From a betting perspective, anyone who has placed an over bet will be heavily rooting for overtime and more overtimes. Most gamblers are perfectly fine with a contest taking a little bit longer because of overtime if this is the case. Well everyone wants to receive their payout, it’s still pretty straightforward.

What Happens if a Game Ends in a Tie?

Not every sport relies entirely on overtime. Soccer is a perfect example, as there are draws in the regular season instead of playing extra minutes. Instead of worrying about what happens to the spread in overtime, it’s more about worrying about what happens if there is a draw.

Soccer bets are always going to have a draw as one of the options to place money on. Since it happens frequently enough, there’s an opportunity to bet that way. However, a tie in the NFL is handled a bit differently. Since both of the sports are so popular, it comes up more often than one thinks.

The NFL initially jumps into overtime, where the spread is still going to count. However, if the game still ends up in a tie, then that’s another issue altogether. Most sportsbooks don’t offer a chance to bet on a draw, so they end up making it a void bet. This allows everyone to get their money back like the wager never happened in the first place.
In any given season, it is a bit surprising to see more than two ties. That’s why it’s so infrequent that people don’t pay too much attention to the occasional canceled bet.


To avoid ties with pointspreads, most sportsbooks use .5 in their pointspreads. That way, a team that is a -2.5 favorite will always have a winner and loser.

Is it Possible to Factor in Overtime?

If the spread is really close, there’s always a higher chance of overtime becoming a factor. However, it’s pretty difficult to predict an overtime contest beforehand. Both sides could be close the entire time, but how it finishes is fairly random.

Gamblers would love the opportunity to predict overtime accurately so that they could take advantage of the over/under in particular. Most contests are just too long that a winner is going to happen in regulation more often than not. Trying to predict overtime is a gamble in itself.

As long as gamblers are aware of the overtime rules before they place a wager, everything should go fairly smoothly. It’s always a hassle to deal with overtime and the other drama that comes with it, but it’s not the end of the world. From a fan perspective, it is exciting, and gamblers that have certain wagers will love the advantages of overtime as well.



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