What Does it Mean if a Team Covers Their Spread?

Published on October 13th, 2018 10:31 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

Against the Spread - Definition - ATS - In relation to the game of American Football. You have likely encountered the term "against the spread" while watching either college football or the NFL.

"Against the spread" is a gambling term that refers to how a team does in regards to the spread.

For instance, let's say that the Carolina Panthers are playing the Washington Redskins at home, and the Panthers are 7.5 favorites to win. The line would look like this:

Carolina Panthers, -7.5, -110
Washington Redskins, +7.5, -110

So, if you take the Panthers -7.5, you are giving up 7.5 points, while if you take the Redskins +7.5, you get 7 1/2 points.

So, let's say that the Panthers win the game 14-3. In this case, the Panthers are said to have "covered", as they managed to win by at least 7.5 points. In this instance, the Panthers would be 1-0 ATS (Against the Spread) if this were their first game of the season.

Now, let's say that the Redskins lose 14-13. Despite losing, the Redskins still would have covered, as they were being given 7.5 points. So, even if they lost by a full touchdown, they still would have covered.


If a team is said to be 5-0 "ATS" on the season, this means that they covered all five teams. So, if you took this team, plus or minus the points, in each of their first five games, you would have had a profit on each of your five wagers.

Now, if a team is 2-3 ATS, this means that they covered two games and failed to cover in three.


How a team does against the spread is obviously an important statistic, as it will give you some insight as to their chances to cover in games going forward.

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