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Spread betting is a form of sports betting in which the bettor bets on whether a specific outcome – which can range from the number of runs in a cricket innings to the number of throw ins awarded during a football match – will be above or below a range of numbers. The profit or loss made on such a bet is directly determined by how right or wrong the choice in question was.
The fact that the majority of sporting contests are made up of multiple numbers of single events, be they runs hit, aces served, corners taken or birdies scored, means that spread betting has a role to play in almost all sports. In spread betting the bookmaker will offer a range of where they think the number in question will fall by the end of a specified time period such as the event as a whole, one half of football match or a single over in a cricket match. The bettor has to decide whether they think the bookmaker is correct, and, if not, whether the actual number will be higher or lower.
When spread betting, the bettor buys, which means they bet the outcome will be higher than the top of the range, or sells, which means they bet it will be lower than the bottom. The profit or loss depends upon how many points in their direction the final number turns out to be. This means that, unlike fixed odds betting, spread betting doesn’t offer a predictable win or loss amount when the bet is placed.
A bookmaker might offer a spread bet on the number of aces a tennis player will serve in a set. The spread they choose is 8-10. This means bettors can buy at 10 if they think there will be more than 10 aces or sell at 8 if they think there will be less than 8.If the final number of aces is 12, then a £100 bet would pay out as follows:
Bought at 10 – the bet will have won. The total number of aces was 2 over 10, and so the bet delivers a £200 profit.
Sold at 8 – the bet will have lost. The total number of aces was 4 more than 8, and so the loss will be £400.
The appeal of spread betting is that it allows bettors to utilise in depth knowledge of a sport to target highly specific bets, rather than making simple win or lose wagers.