phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Beat the spread

Posted by Bruce Kahl on May 17, 2007

In Reply to: Beat the spread posted by Marina on May 16, 2007

: Hi, everyone! I'm looking for a native English speaker who can help me with the meaning of this idiom. I'm translating a TV show to Spanish and I couldn't find anywhere on my resources its meaning and, of course, time is pressing.

: Context:
: A: Jake, for the last time. Nobody "got creamed." No one won, no one lost.
: B: Yeah, except for us. Twelve to two.
: A: Pal, it doesn't matter if you win or lose.
: C: It's whether or not you ***beat the spread.***

: Thanks in advance for all your answers!

: Regards from Argentina,

Hello Argentina!

It is a gambling concept.

If two unequal sports teams are playing each other the gambling syndicates will try to even thing out by giving the lesser rated of the teams a head start so as to make things even from the start.

If team A is a better team than team B, then team B is given a head start in the form of points.

So, for instance, in the game of football team B would be given, say, a 3 point advantage from the start. If the final score is team A 9 points and team B 7 points then team B is the winner ( 7 plus 3 equals 10 ) for betting purposes because team A did not "beat the spread"--the spread being 3 points.
The final score would have to have been 11 to 7 for team A to win--team A would have beaten the spread.

So hopefully you can see that it is true in gambling circles that it is not whether you win the game outright but you must also beat the spread to win.