What Does 1.5 Mean in Sports Betting?

by | Jan 2, 2022

In the very beginning, completely understanding sports betting can be extremely confusing. What ends up looking like a wall of numbers might mean nothing to the average person, but it’s essential to learn for anyone looking to have success in this world.

One of the most common numbers in sports betting is 1.5. It will have either a + or – in front of it in most cases, but what exactly does that indicate?

What Does 1.5 Mean in Sports Betting?

When there is a +1.5 or -1.5 next to a team, this is known as the point spread. The team with -1.5 is the favorite, while the team that is +1.5 is the underdog. In this particular spread, the two teams are pretty close.

Point spreads can vary, but this is one of the most common point spreads. It essentially means that the underdog pays out as the winner, but also if they only lose by one. The favorite has to win by two or more (more than 1.5) to be the betting winner.

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What Does 1.5 Mean in Different Sports?

The scoring system for major sports can make 1.5 very different. For example, in basketball or football, a 1.5 point spread means that the two teams are very close overall. However, this is a decent-sized spread for baseball and hockey, and can be a sizable spread in soccer. Whenever a team wins by two or more goals in soccer, that is a borderline blowout.

A lot of sportsbooks will use 1.5 as the run or goal line instead of changing things up for every bet. In this instance, the underdog will still be +1.5, while the favorite is -1.5. However, the payout won’t be the same, since the spread is not meant to make everything even. For example, if the worst team in baseball is going up against the best team in baseball, they might realistically be +2.5 or even +3.5. Instead of changing it, the +1.5 spread still has them as a sizable underdog that pays out well if they win.

How Large Can Point Spreads Be?

In the major sports, point spreads can get pretty big in college football and college basketball. There are a few factors that play into this. For starters, these are two of the highest-scoring team sports out there. Basketball teams routinely go over 100 points each in scoring, while football games can get into the 50s or 60s for the winning side if they have a great offense.

There’s also the issue of a lot more disparity in teams at the college level. There are only 30 NBA teams, and 32 NFL teams. There are 130 college football teams at the FBS level, and 350 and counting Division I basketball programs. In the early part of the season, some of the smaller and underfunded schools are playing teams ranked in the top 25. That makes point spreads jump up to extremely high levels.

Is There Always a Point Spread?

If two teams are completely even in the eyes of the sportsbook, they will get rid of the point spread and make it even. It’s treated as a straight-up bet with the same payout for both sides.

There’s also an instance where a point spread, and a bet in general, is pulled off the table because of a particular issue. Maybe there is a level of uncertainty on who is playing at night, or there is some suspicious activity surrounding the game with too much money coming in on one side.

What Sways Point Spreads?

The main factor that goes into a point spread simply comes down to the talent on both sides. If one team is better on paper than the other, then they are going to be the favorite. There are some other factors sportsbooks take into place so that they can get it as accurate as possible.


The home team always has a slight edge over the road team. As an example, many feel like being the home team is worth three points in football. That means the estimation would be that a team that’s a -7 point favorite on their home field would only be a -4 point favorite on a neutral site.

COVID-19 has robbed the home-field advantage for some teams, but it’s slowly starting to come back. Always keep location in mind when looking at the point spread.


Fresh teams almost always play better than ones starting to break down due to a tough schedule. The more physically exhausting the sport, the more important rest is. There’s a reason why a lot of midweek games in football can get ugly. With limited time to prepare and rest, teams just aren’t sharp enough to make the same type of plays they normally would.

One way to succeed when looking at point spreads is to put money on teams much more rested than their opposition. The sportsbooks have already kept that in consideration, but there still might be opportunities to capitalize.


Injuries are always part of sports, and heavily factor into point spreads. A team not at full strength won’t play up to its capabilities in many instances. Always pay attention to who is playing so that the right decisions are made. That sometimes means waiting until hours before a contest to ensure everyone is playing.

Public Perception

The goal with any sportsbook is to make money. For them to guarantee victory for themselves, getting the same amount of money on both teams makes a difference. That’s why lines go into place with public perception in mind.

What does public perception mean? It means that teams with a huge following tend to get more action on them. That means that the point spread might not always indicate exactly how the game goes. If a team like the Dallas Cowboys or New York Yankees is very good that year, they are likely going to get a lot of action on them regardless of the point spread. By adjusting it some, the point spread gets enough people to put money on the other team to even things out.

Moving Lines

A game that starts with a 1.5 point spread won’t always stay that way. In fact, point spreads that are close like that are likely to move up or down depending on the early trends. Sportsbooks are aiming to get roughly the same amount of money on both sides as mentioned before, so that’s why they will mess around with the spread or the payout as much as possible.

Another reason why lines might move is that there is a key injury to a particular player. If a star player has to miss a game, that can sway the point spread considerably. This can be beneficial for those who get their bets in early, but some are burned because the injuries work against them.

There’s no reason in today’s world now to stay as updated as possible on all of the different point spreads that are out there. There are ways to get alerts sent to a phone if the line moves at all. There’s also the freedom to check many other websites to see if one provides better odds than the other. If that’s the case, always try to put money on the most favorable point spread to increase the odds of winning, and winning big.

Online vs. In-Person Betting

Online sports betting has made it much easier for sportsbooks to stay as up-to-date as possible. In a matter of seconds, they can change the point spread if something happens. It might make it impossible to get any major steals, but it makes for a more accurate betting experience for everyone.

Final Thoughts on Pointspreads in Sports

The point spread in sports not only helps out gamblers, but it can gauge which team comes into a contest as the favorite. Since there is money on the line, sportsbooks pour a ton of resources into ensuring that they get the most accurate lines all the time.

Understanding a point spread becomes pretty simple the more people see them. Identifying the right plays at the right time is the real challenge many are still attempting to figure out.


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