Rules for a Football Pool with Point Spreads

Important Definitions

point spread - This is the number of points that a team is expected to win or lose by. See below for more help on point spreads.

covering a spread - When a team surpasses the expectations of a point spread set by football experts. For instance, if a team is expected to win by 10 points, and they actually win by 11 or more, this is called 'covering' the point spread. If the team wins by nine or less, or they lose the game, this is called NOT 'covering' the point spread. If the team wins by exactly 10 points, this results in a push or tie.

General Rules

This football pool covers the regular season of the American professional football league. There are 17 weeks in the regular season, and this football pool spans all 17 weeks.

Each week you'll submit who you think will cover each football game based on the point spread entered by your pool administrator (see below for an explanation of point spreads). For the last game of the week (usually Monday night) you will specify the total number of points you think will be scored in that game. For each game you choose correctly, you will receive 1 point. The player with the most games chosen correctly will win the pool for that week. If there is a tie, the player that is closest to the actual total points scored in the last game of the week will win the tiebreaker. If there is a tie after that, the winnings will be split up between those players.

Deadline For Submitting Picks

Picks are due at the start of the first game of each week.

Help On Point Spreads

All point spreads are set by the pool administrator. NOTE: The administrator has the power to change the point spreads at any time up until 15 minutes before the start of the first game, so make sure you know when the administrator will make the final changes. For your own information you should also find out where the administrator is getting their point spreads.

Point spreads are determined by football 'experts' to even the playing field between two teams. Normally one team will be favored to win over another team. These 'experts' determine the number of points that one team will beat another team by. For example, Chicago is favored to beat Minnesota by 10 points. On the web site it will appear like the following:

(-10) Chicago vs. (+10) Minnesota

If you think Chicago will beat Minnesota by more than 10 points, you should pick Chicago. If you think Chicago will only win by 9 or less or if you think they'll lose, you should pick Minnesota. If Chicago does win the game by exactly 10 points, then everyone will get it wrong regardless of who they chose.

Here are some example scenarios:

1.)   (+3) Kansas City vs. (-3) Oakland

- Say you choose Kansas City.

- The actual game score ends up being Kansas City 35, Oakland 30.

- You guessed correctly on this game, since Oakland was favored to win by 3 and they lost.

2.)   (-7) San Diego vs. (+7) Houston

- Say you choose Houston.

- The actual game score ends up being San Diego 23, Houston 16.

- You guessed incorrectly, since San Diego was favored to win by 7 and they won by exactly 7. Everyone would have gotten it wrong in this scenario.

3.)   (0) Dallas vs. (0) Arizona

- Say you choose Arizona.

- The actual game score ends up being Dallas 14, Arizona 15.

- You guessed correctly, since no one was favored to win and the team you chose won by 1 point.

4.)   (-1) Miami vs. (-1) St. Louis

- Say you choose St. Louis.

- The actual game score ends up being Miami 21, St. Louis 21.

- You guessed incorrectly, since both teams were favored to win by 1 but the game resulted in a tie, which means neither team covered.  Everyone in the pool would have gotten this one wrong.

NOTE: Example 4 shows a scenario that may never occur in your pool, but point spreads can be configured this way, so it's important you fully understand how they work. Ask your pool administrator if you are still unclear on this issue.