As an experienced soccer bettor, I get a lot of questions from beginners about what a +1 spread is and how to effectively use this type of bet. In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll explain everything you need to know about +1 spreads – how they work, when to use them, the difference from moneyline bets, and plenty of tips and data-driven analysis to help give you an edge with these wagers. Whether you‘re a total beginner or a seasoned pro looking to refine your +1 spread strategy, let‘s break it all down.
The Basics: What is a +1 Spread Bet?
A +1 spread in soccer betting refers to a bet where the underdog team is given a one goal advantage to start the game. This type of bet is also known as a handicap bet. The +1 spread helps make betting the underdog more attractive by giving them a "head start" over the favored team.
Let‘s use a hypothetical match-up between Manchester City and Watford as an example:
Manchester City -250
Man City are heavily favored on the moneyline at -250 odds. This means you would have to risk $250 to win $100 betting on Man City straight up.
But if we apply a +1 spread to Watford, it looks like this:
Manchester City -130
Watford +1 +120
The +1 spread gives Watford a one goal advantage to start the game. This balances out the odds, making Watford a much more attractive bet at +120 compared to the +225 moneyline.
How Does the +1 Spread Work in Action?
Let‘s say the game finished with a 2-1 Manchester City win.
Without the spread, Man City wins and a moneyline bet on them cashes. But with the +1 goal advantage for Watford, they still cover the spread despite losing the game.
Final score with spread:
Man City 2 – 1 Watford (+1)
With the spread, Watford is spotted a 1-0 lead before the match starts. So the adjusted final with the spread is Man City 2 – Watford 2. Since Watford ties Man City with their +1 spread advantage, a bet on Watford +1 would win.
This is how a +1 spread can help make betting on the underdog soccer team much more attractive and lucrative. You can win your bet even if your team loses the match!
When to Bet +1 Soccer Spreads
Now that you understand how +1 spreads work, let‘s discuss some of the top situations where they offer good value:
When you think the underdog can keep it close – This is the most obvious spot for a +1 spread. If you anticipate a close, low-scoring match, getting a +1 head start makes the dog attractive.
Backing a home underdog – Home underdogs tend to perform better than away dogs. The +1 helps them keep it tight.
Favorite missing key players – If the favored team is without their best scorer or midfielder, it helps even things out.
Betting on derbies/rivalries – The underdog often gets up for rivalry games. The +1 spread gives them a boost.
Strong defensive underdogs – If you expect a grind-it-out, defensive struggle, the +1 spread ups your chances of cashing.
Early round cup games – Against weaker cup competition, backing +1 dogs provides security.
As you can see, there are many good spots to target +1 underdog spreads in soccer matchups to maximize your edge.
Picking Profitable +1 Spread Bets
Generally in soccer, the team that creates more high-quality scoring chances in a match wins the expected goals (xG) battle and should prevail.
But sometimes, the underdog can lose the xG battle while still keeping the match very competitive and only losing by 1 goal.
These types of narrow losses are exactly what you want to target with +1 underdog spread bets. The dog can lose the xG battle but with the +1 spread still give you a winning ticket.
Some key metrics I analyze to identify profitable +1 spread opportunities:
- Recent matches between the teams – How close were the final scores? Did the dog keep it within 1 goal?
- xG totals – Is there an expected goals model that shows the underdog keeping it tight?
- Recent form – Has the underdog been competitive despite losing matches?
- Injuries/Lineup changes – Is the favorite missing key players?
- Special situational factors – Revenge game for dog? Cup mismatch?
Here is a quick example looking at an upcoming match:
Liverpool vs. Wolves
- Last 2 meetings were 2-1 Liverpool wins
- Wolves have been competitive despite losing last 4 matches
- Liverpool will be without top scorer Mohamed Salah
Based on this info, Wolves +1 at +125 odds provides nice value.
The Difference Between +1 and +1.5 Spreads
In soccer, you will also frequently see +1.5 spreads in addition to the +1 spreads we‘ve focused on. What‘s the difference?
With a +1.5 spread, the underdog is getting 1.5 goals of insurance instead of just 1.
This means they can lose by 1 goal and still cover the spread. Some key differences:
- Underdog can only lose by exactly 1 goal to cover
- Tighter spread means better payout odds
- Must win outright or draw to win bet
- Underdog can lose by 1 goal and still cover
- Wider spread means lower payout odds
- Win bet by losing by only 1 goal
The +1.5 spread gives you a wider cover margin but lower odds. I typically aim for +1 spreads to maximize payouts in spots where I expect a close match or underdog upset.
The Power of Buying a Half Point
When you see a spread line like Watford +1.5 (+105), this means you can "buy" an extra half point of insurance on the underdog by taking them at +1.5 instead of +1.
However, the payout odds decrease slightly from +120 down to +105 with the extra half point.
Buying a half point can give you a wider cover margin and is worth considering in certain close matchups where that extra wiggle room increases your chance of cashing a winning ticket.
Real Life Example
2022 World Cup – Croatia vs. Belgium
Belgium -0.5 (-110)
Croatia +0.5 (-110)
By buying the half point, I could take Croatia at +1 (+100) instead of just +0.5.
This gave Croatia 3 outcomes to cover the spread – win, draw, 1 goal loss.
Final score: Croatia 0-0 Belgium
Buying the extra half point turned this from a push into a profitable winning bet.
Why Betting +1 Spreads > Moneylines
While moneyline bets have their place, sports betting data indicates that underdog spreads like +1s have been more profitable bets historically than moneylines.
According to historical data analyzed by [sports betting site link removed]:
+1 underdogs have won 41% of matches straight up since 2005.
That is significantly higher than the 25-30% win rate for standard moneyline underdogs.
The +1 spread gives you profitable middle ground – get paid at close to even money when your team pulls the upset, and still cash at reduced odds if they lose narrowly.
Based on historical data, here is how betting +1 dogs compares to moneylines:
|+1 Dogs||+2.1%||41% Wins|
|ML Dogs||-5%||25% Wins|
The data clearly shows +1 underdogs have been the significantly more profitable play compared to standard moneyline dogs.
By giving yourself cash in outcomes and reducing the risk, +1 spreads have proven to be a winner over the long run.
Final Tips for Betting Profitable +1 Spreads
Here are my top strategies and tips for crushing your +1 soccer spread bets:
- Pick your spots – Don‘t force bets just to bet. Wait for ideal advantageous matchups.
- Stay disciplined – Don‘t overbet. Stick to your criteria and process.
- Focus on undervalued lines – Look for odds discrepancies via multiple sources.
- Monitor line movements – If a +1 line takes a big jump (from +110 to +140 for example), pounce.
- Consider buying points – In key spots, adding 0.5-1 points can provide needed insurance.
- Manage your bankroll – Don‘t risk your entire bankroll on one +1 spread wager.
I hope this comprehensive guide was helpful in explaining everything you need to know about betting +1 spreads in soccer. Please feel free to reach out with any other questions! Always happy to chat more about maximizing your sports betting ROI.