Spread betting guide

If you enjoy betting on sport but are looking for something new, spread betting could be the answer.  For some people, spread betting is the most exciting form of sports betting available today but what is it?

To understand spread betting, you need to become familiar with the terms ‘buying’ and ‘selling’.  However, you are not buying and selling stocks and shares, this is focused only on sport.  In a sporting context, the spread consists of two numbers, a sell price and a buy price.

So, if you think the result of the market will be lower than the sell price, you would sell but if you think it will be higher than the buy price, you would buy.  This may sound complicated to begin with but the example below will help to further illustrate spread betting for sports and increase our understanding of how it works.

Take a football match as an example, the spread for the total goals in the match could be given at 2.8 to 3.  On average, we believe there will be a total of 3 goals in the match.  If you think there will be fewer than 3 goals in the match, you would sell but if you think it will be a high scoring game and there will be over 3 goals scored, you will buy.

This sounds simple enough but one of the fundamental differences between fixed odds betting and spread betting is the amount you stand to win and lose.  When betting using fixed odds, you know exactly how much you will win and how much you will lose when placing the bet.  This is not the case when spread betting.

Using the example above, if you decide to buy for £10, you are buying at £10 per point (goal).  So, if the match ended 3-2 (it does not matter who has won the match) you will win a total of £20.  The reason for this is because you bet £10 per point.  In total, there was 5 goals scored in the game and you bought at 3.

5-3 = 2 and 2 x £10 = £20

That is how you work out your winnings but you also have to be aware of how much you could lose.  If the match ended 1-0, only 1 goal has been scored.  1- 3 = -2 and that leaves you having to pay £20.

If you decided to sell at £10 per point, the total goals for the match for spread betting is quoted at 2 to 2.2 and the game ends in a 2-2 draw, you will also incur a loss of £20.

However, if you feel the match is going against you, it is possible to cut your losses before it ends.  Always pay attention to what is happening in the match if you are betting live so you can react when the time is right.

Punters enjoy spread betting because it allows them to bet both for and against an outcome.  If you are good at making predictions, you can win a lot more money than you would if you bet on fixed odds.

However, you must learn how to control your risk and understand how sports differ.  For example, spread betting on the total goals market of a football match has lower volatility than spread betting on a batsman’s runs in a cricket match.  A batsman can score anything between 0 and 250 runs in one innings whereas a football match rarely tends to reach double figures in terms of goals.

Understanding how this works and knowing your risk before you begin is vital when spread betting.

Some of the top spread betting websites include Spreadex and Sporting Index.  These are a good place to start but you may want to write down your bets first and practice before spread betting for real money.

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