Spread betting’s never really taken off among the masses because it’s seen by many as complicated and risky. But hopefully this post on how to spread bet will help to simplify things.
Firstly, you must understand that spread betting is a different discipline to other betting. It requires a completely different mindset.
How to spread bet
What is spread betting?
Spread betting isn’t the same as betting, in that you either win or lose. Yes, you win or lose with spread betting, but to varying degrees. Typically, the more correct you are about the bet, the more money you win. And the less correct you are about the bet, the more you lose! It’s a little bit more complicated than normal betting, which is why most people don’t know how to spread bet.
The best way to think of it is like this:
Your friend challenges you to a penalty shoot out competition and says he bets you won’t get more than 5 goals out of 10 penalties. For every penalty you score over 5, he will give you £1. And then if you score less than 5, you will pay him for every one under 5.
If you score all 10 penalties, your friend pays you £5. But if you fail to score a single one, you pay him £5.
What does buy and sell mean?
To take things one step further, you will notice that a spread betting company actually offers two different numbers. One labelled buy, and the other sell.
The difference between the two numbers is actually what is known as the spread. It is this margin that the spread betting company uses to guarantee a profit. It’s their edge. Just like a bookmaker does with the ‘overround’ they build into their odds.
So, a spread betting company will set the line in the market, just like your friend did in the penalty example above. For example, if you are betting on the total number of points your Premier League team will get over a season, the market may look like this:
Tottenham Total Points
Sell 73 – 74.5 Buy
Now, the name of the game is to look at that and judge whether you feel Tottenham will get more than 74.5 points in a season. Or, if they’ll get less than 73 points over a season. You will form your bet based on this.
If you feel Tottenham will get 75 or more, you’ll buy the spread at a specific amount per point. But if you feel they’ll get 73 or less, you’ll sell at a specific amount per point.
Think carefully about your bet size
Now, remember when I said at the start of the article that many people are scared of spread betting because of the risk? Well, that is because, unlike traditional betting, your winnings and losses aren’t set at one amount.
It is for this reason, that you must carefully calculate your potential losses before placing the bet. You will find that unlikely bets will carry little risk, but likely events will have huge amounts of risk associated with them.
For argument’s sake, a ‘Player goal minutes’ market in football is where you’re trying to guess the accumulative number of minutes your chosen player took to score their goals. If your player is expected to score, even a few, then the spread will be at high number. Perhaps 80 – 82.5. As you can see, your potential for loss is 82.5 if you back them to score and they fail to.
If you buy at £10 per point, that is £825 that you will lose! However, you can set a stop loss. This is a figure that if reached, your bet will close out. So again, for argument’s sake, if you set your stop loss at £400 in the above bet, then at the 40th minute of the match, if your player still hasn’t scored – your bet will be closed.
What sports can you bet on?
There are a variety of different sports to choose on, each with its own intricacies and interesting markets.
Football, horse racing, cricket and tennis are the most popular. This is typically because they are the most popular sports to bet on, but also because the markets are very suited to spread betting.
This goes for cricket in particular. Because there is a huge variety in the numbers in the game, spread bettors love it! As an example, the number of runs in a game, and number of run outs, etc can vary quite a lot.