How to Spread Bet ……

Hello punters. This basic guide on "How to spread bet" will do exactly what it says on the tin. Right from understanding the basics of Spread Betting to specific markets offered to the 'do's and don'ts' of the game.

The first rule to fully understanding spread betting is you must not think like a normal fixed odds punter; think like a spread bettor. If you follow the guide below with an open mind you will be able to unlock a whole new world of betting and experience the greatest buzz in gambling

What is spread betting?

Spread betting is the alternative to fixed odds betting (5/1 etc) and allows you to put your sporting knowledge into a bet where the more right you are the more you WIN. Instead of quoting a single price a spread bet sets a 'spread' on a market which you can either 'buy' or 'sell'. 

I hope you're with me but if not just think of it like this…… you're 9 years old and 10 green bottles are standing on a wall. Your pal Tom says 
"How many bottles do you think I can knock over?" You reply saying you reckon he could knock over 5 and for every one over 5 that he knocks over you'll give him 10p and for every one under 5 he gives you 10p.

Another friend, Harry, turns up and says to you both that he thinks Tom won't get 5. Harry goes on to say that for every bottle under 5 that doesn't get knocked off he will be paid 30p a bottle by Tom and in turn for every bottle over 5 he knocks off he'll give him 30p. They all agree. 
Tom knocks off 7 bottles and therefore gets 20p from you (Dick!) and 60p (2x30p) from Harry. 

If you understand this then you understand spread betting.

Buy or Sell? 

A spread betting company will set a price on an event (i.e. bottles to be knocked off a wall OR how many runs will the England cricket team make in their innings?) If you think a quote is too low you would 'Buy' at the higher price and 'Sell' at the lower price if you thought it was too high.

England vs Australia (Lords) Price set as

Sell ……….. 250 - 265 runs …….. Buy

If you think England will score plenty more than 265 today then 'Buy'. If you think England will get less than 250 then 'Sell'. What do you reckon? The reason there is a 'spread', in this case 15 runs, is to give the bookie a chance of making money.


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How big do you want to bet? 

After you decide whether to Buy or Sell you must now decide the size of your bet. In spread betting you bet money per unit. In this case the unit is runs and therefore lets take the example above to show you what we mean. 

If you think England are in great form and will score more than 265 runs then lets try a 

BET Buy of England runs @ 265 for £1 per point (in this case runs)

Result (a) - England bat well and make 300 runs
England made 35 units/runs above the level you made your Buy (265) 

YOU WIN (35 x £1) = £35

Result (b) - England suffer an early innings collapse and scratch around to make only 240 runs.

England made 25 units/runs below (265-240) the level you made your Buy at.

YOU LOSE (£25x1) £25

In their next innings England are on the same spread of 250 - 265 runs. You think England are looking a bit thin on batting and fear they might get bowled out cheaply. You therefore want to SELL their runs at 250.

BET - SELL England Runs @ 250 at £2 per run

Result (a) England do bat badly, see a complete middle order collapse and only make 150

Therefore England make 100 runs less than the level you sold at (£2 per run)

YOU WIN £200

Result (b) England's openers both get centuries and the team end up making 340 runs

Therefore England made 90 runs more than the level you SOLD at (250).


Right I hope you're with me and just remember that the more right or wrong you are the more you win or lose. Now we'll look at the most popular markets from other sports.



      · How many goals will there be in the Man Utd / Arsenal game? Market called 'Total Goals'

Total Goals in a game may set at 2.7 - 3 goals. If you think this game will be a goal-fest and there will be more than 3 goals in the game BUY. If you think it will be tight and decided by 1 goal or less then SELL

BET Buy Total Goals @3 for £10 a goal

Result - 2-3 Total Goals = 5 ie: 2 above the level you made your BUY

Result - 0-0 Total Goals = 1 ie: 3 goals below the level you made your BUY

         · How many goals will Man United beat Arsenal by? Market called 'Supremacy'

Supremacy in this game may be 0.3 - 0.6 Goals. This suggests Man Utd are seen as half a goal favourites over Arsenal at Old Trafford. You think Arsenal are good for at least a draw if not a win and therefore you

BET - SELL Man Utd's Supremacy @0.3 Goals for £10 a point

Result - 3-3 The Supremacy is therefore 0 and you sold at 0.3 for £10 a point. Therefore you make 0.3 of 1 point (£10) 

          · How many minutes till the first goal in the game? Time of 1st Goal

When will we see the first goal in the game? The spread company set the price at 30 to 35 minutes. You think there will be an early goal and therefore 

BET SELL at £3 of Time till 1st Goal @ 30 mins

Result - Arsenal sneak an early goal after 15 minutes
Therefore the result is 15 points lower than you SOLD at for £3 a point (3x15 = 45)



This is the perfect time to introduce 'Index Betting'. Index Betting is a major part of spread betting and it assigns points to the position someone finishes in the filed its playing in. For horse racing you could assign a horse 50pts for coming 1st, 30pts for 2nd, 20pts for 3rd and 10pts for 4th.

Therefore a strong favourite (called Black Beauty) in an 8 strong field may be quoted at 28-30 and the outsider (called Nelly) quoted at 2-4 pts. If the Black Beauty finishes 3rd it would only get 20 points and Nelly finishes 4th it would get 10 points.

You made a

BET BUY Black Beauty @ 30 for £2 a point
BET BUY Nelly @ 4 for £1 a point

Result - Black Beauty makes 20 points - 10 points below your BUY
Nelly makes 10 points - 6 points above your BUY


             · What number will try scorers shirt numbers add up too? 
Shirt numbers

Slightly confused … don't be this market is great fun. A make-up (the result) is calculated by adding up the numbers on the back of their shirt numbers. 

If someone scores twice then add their shirt number to the score twice. So if the Full Back (Shirt 15) and the Hooker (Shirt 2) score in the game the make-up is 17.

So in the game between Wales and Scotland the Shirts numbers is quoted at 44-49 and you fancy a wide open game with plenty of trys from the high shirt number players i.e.: full backs, wings and centres.

BET BUY £2 Shirt numbers @ 49 

Result - 9. Not great news I'm afraid the Welsh scrum-half was the only scorer in this tight forward dominated battle. You had a BUY at £2 but were wrong by 40 points!


How many points will one team beat another by? Supremacy

England are strong favourites against Italy and are quoted to beat them by 18-21 points

BET Buy England at £5 a point @ 21 

Result England win 20 - 10. The market makes up 10 points. Unfortunately this is not more than the 21pts you predicted and therefore at £5 per point … 


Some other Sport markets you can bet on

Football - How many corners in a match? Corners
Football - How many cards in a match? Bookings - 10 points - Yellow. 25 points - Red

Cricket - How many runs will an individual batsman score in an innings? Batsman Runs
Cricket - How many wickets will a bowler get in a series? Series Wickets

Horses Racing -How many lengths will one horse beat another Horse by? Match Betting
Horse Racing - What will be the total distances in a race card between the 1st and 2nd horse in each race? Total Distances (measured in lengths)

Golf - How many shots will one golfer beat another by in the tournament? Player Matchbet
Golf - What position will a golfer finish in the field? Finishing position


Ok hold on tight, as this is where it gets really interesting. Once a bet is struck in normal betting you can't really take advantage of the fact that your bet is going well but you are not sure if it is actually come through for you. In spread betting the price of the market moves with the situation of the game.

Example - England runs are quoted before start of play at 250-265 and you have a BUY at £1 a run. England are 150 - 1 and their new spread price is now quoted at 355 - 370. 

If you feel this quote is a bit high and you want to 'get out' of your bet and take the profit you can perform a 'Sell to close' bet. By selling the level much higher than you bought it is a bit like selling a stock you have bought at a much lower level.
Original BET - BUY £1 @ 265 England runs
New BET - SELL to close £1 @ 355 England runs

You have now 'locked in a profit' of the difference in price (this case 90runs) X your stake per run (£1) ….. 

Try it. Whatever score you try you always make £90. You can do this the other way round by Selling first and BUYING to close.


Here are the 8 basic dos and don'ts of spread betting which you should always abide by maximise your chance of beating the bookie.

DO …..

1) Choose a stake level you are comfortable with. Play within your means
2) Always calculate your maximum loss and prepare for bad things
3) If in doubt close you position and take the profit
4) Bet on sports that have made money for you in the past

DON'T ….

1) Bet with money you can't lose
2) Have a bet just to cover another bet that is going badly
3) Bet before you fully understand the market you are playing
4) Bet when drunk …… unfortunately you may learn the hard way!


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