What Does a Minus 3 Spread Mean in Sports Betting?

A minus 3 spread means that the team that is favored is expected to win by 3 points.

This means that if you bet on a team’s spread at -3, then the team must win by at least 3 points for you to win your bet.

If your team wins by exactly 3 points and you bet them at a -3 point spread, then your bet would be graded as a push. This means your original wager amount would be returned to you.

Minus 3 Point Spread: Home Field Advantage

In football and basketball sports betting, it is a common rule of thumb to use 3 points as a placeholder for home field advantage.

This means that if two teams are evenly matched (Even odds), then the spread would likely be the home team minus 3 to account for home field advantage.

While 3 points is just a guideline, it is important to know that many games with 3 point spreads essentially means the teams are evenly matched.

Minus 3 Spread Odds

A minus 3 point spread will typically have American odds of -110. This means that if you bet $110 on a team with a minus 3 spread, you would win $100.

Depending on the bet, a minus 3 spread could also be used in an alternate spread. Sportsbooks will often offer more spread options in addition to the main spread.

BetMGM Sportsbook here offers alternate spread lines off of the main market of -3.

Minus 3 Point Spread Examples

A minus 3 point spread is most common in sports where there is a significant amount of scoring like football and basketball.

Football (NFL and College Football) both often see minus 3 spreads due to the nature of the game. Since field goals are worth three points, you will often see a spread of minus 3 for closet matched teams.

Basketball is another sport where you will commonly see a 3 point spread. Often times you will see team that are evenly matched have a home team point spread of minus 3 due to home court advantage.

What Does a Minus 3 Point Spread Mean in Football?

In football, a minus 3 point spread means the team that is expected to win should win by 3 points. For example, take the following game:

Kansas City Chiefs -3 (-110) at Arizona Cardinals +3 (-110)

In this example, the Kansas City Chiefs are favored by 3 points (-3) at odds of -110. This means if you bet on the Chiefs point spread, they will need to win by more than 3 points for you to win your bet.

The other side of this bet would be the Arizona Cardinals +3 (-110). This means if you bet on the Cardinals and they won OR lost by fewer than 3 points, you would win your bet.

If you bet on Kansas City -3, see below for how your bet would be graded given the hypothetical results:

  • KC 28 – ARI 21 (Win, KC won by 7)
  • KC 24 – ARI 21 (Push, KC won by 3)
  • KC 18 – ARI 21 (Loss, KC lost by 3)

What Does a Minus 3 Point Spread Mean in Basketball?

A minus 3 spread in basketball means that the favored team is expected to win by 3 points.

For example, if the Golden Stare Warriors were -3 against the Boston Celtics, that would mean the Warriors are favored to win by 3 points.

If you bet on the Warriors -3, then the Warriors would have to win by at least 3 points for you to win your bet. If the Warriors won by exactly 3 points, then your bet would be graded as a push and you would get your money back.

Is a Minus 3 Point Spread Good or Bad?

A minus three point spread is neither good nor bad.

It simply means that the teams are pretty evenly matched if the spread is in the context of sports like football and basketball.

If there is a spread of 3 for a low scoring sport like hockey, baseball, or soccer, then that would mean the team with a minus 3 spread is heavily favored.

You can check the moneyline odds on these games to get a feel for how significant a 3 point spread is.

Buying Points to Get a Minus 3 Spread

Many sportsbooks will allow you to buy points to get an alternative point spread. The odds change along with the points, attempting to compensate for the adjusted spread.

Getting off of a minus 3 spread is a strategy commonly used in football since so many games are decided by 3 points. It is widely considered a key number and the difference between getting 2.5 vs. 3 is much bigger than other half point increments (ex: 4.5 vs. 5).