What Does Against the Spread (ATS) Mean in Sports Betting?

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Chase Kiddy @chaseakiddy Dec 27, 2023, 2:33 PM

In online sports betting, Against the Spread is the common term used to describe bets or outcomes in a point spread market. Against the Spread is often abbreviated as ATS. 

Point spreads are one of the most common kinds of bets in American sports betting. One side is generally considered the favorite and must not only win but win by a predetermined margin. That margin is called the point spread. 

If one team plays as a 6.5-point favorite, they must win by seven points or more to cover the spread. 

The second team in a game is typically considered the underdog. For the underdog to cover the spread, they must do one of two things: lose by a margin that is less than the point spread or win the game outright by any margin.

What’s an Against the Spread (ATS) Record in Sports Betting?

Just as teams have regular win/loss records, bettors also pay attention to a team’s ATS record. That’s the record of how many times a team has covered the spread in a given time frame.

Sometimes, ATS records are totally random, and there’s not much to read into. In some cases, though, a very strong (or very weak) ATS record can reveal something interesting about a team. 

Regular win/loss records usually say something about how good or bad a team is. ATS records, by contrast, can say something about the expectations for a team. 

Teams that have strong ATS records are consistently beating the market expectations, while teams that have bad ATS records are failing to do what is expected of them.

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About the Author

Chase Kiddy

Read More @chaseakiddy

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.