"To beat the spread" is a gambling phrase. Gambling houses or bookies establish the number of points by which a team is expected to win. If a person places a bet on a team and that team wins by more than the established point spread, then he wins and he has "beaten the spread." If a gambler bets on the team that is not favored to win and they win or lose by fewer points than the established betting line, he also wins and has "beaten the spread." Example 1: Green Bay is expected to beat Minnesota by 7 points. The score is Green Bay 21 Minnesota 10. If you had bet on Green Bay, you won because they won by more than 7 points which was the "spread." If you had bet on Minnesota, you lost because they lost by more than 7 points. Example 2: Green Bay is favored to beat Detroit by 10 points. The score is Green Bay 21 Detroit 17. If you had bet on Green Bay, you lost. However, if you had bet on Detroit, you won even though they lost the game. You won because Detroit beat the spread by losing by less than 10 points.