Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ: What is Spread Betting?

At an advanced level, punters may want to consider getting involved with spread betting. The first point to note is that this isn’t for the faint hearted and while there is the potential for higher profits to be made, losses can be significant too and anyone wanting to enter into this sphere must understand this.

Keeping that point in mind at all times, let’s guide you through some spread betting basics that will help you to decide whether or not to get involved.

Traditional Betting

With a traditional bet, it’s easy to understand just how much you stand to win or lose upon settlement. Let’s say you take an ante post bet on Chelsea to win the Premier League at the end of the 2018/19 season and you stake £10.00 on the outcome.

At the time of writing, Chelsea are available at a best industry price of 14/1 with William Hill, BetFred and Betway for the outright win so, if the bet lands at the end of the season, your return works as follows:

£10.00 x 14/1 = £140.00 plus £10.00 stake returned = £150.00.

You know when you place the bet that a win will see a profit of £140.00 and an overall return of £150.00. Perhaps more importantly, you also realise that you will only lose £10.00 if the bet fails. Now, we’ll take a different example to highlight how spread betting works.

On the Spread

Spread betting involves speculating on points rather than specific outcomes: We’ll list plenty of examples as we move through this guide but in terms of the Premier League outright markets, a bettor may look to speculate on the number of points that Chelsea will earn at the end of the 2018/19 season.

The bookmaker in question may set a typical line and in Chelsea’s case, it could be set at 75 points at the end of the campaign.

For the sake of this example, let’s say you think Chelsea will win more than 75 points at the end of the season and you stake £10.00 on the outcome. At the end of 2018/19, Chelsea win 85 points, ten points more than the spread, so your winnings are calculated as follows:

10 x £10.00 = £100.00

By the same principle, Chelsea earning 65 points means you have lost the bet by ten points so your losses work in the following way.

10 x £10.00 = £100.00

The calculations may be simple but the potential for higher returns or losses is greater. In all probability, you will either win or lose more than your initial £10.00 stake and that’s the important point to keep in mind at all times.

Types of Spread Bet

In the above example, we’ve listed what may well be the most popular spread bets in the whole of the available football markets but the principle can apply to many other options. Instead of total points, punters could apply the spread for winning margins in the league or they could simply speculate on how many goals a team will score in an individual match.

Similarly, spread bettors can take any player in the Premier League Golden Boot markets and decide on how many goals they will score across the new season. For the prolific strikers such as Liverpool’s Mo Salah or Tottenham’s Harry Kane, a spread might be set at around 24 and you simply go higher or lower.

Beyond football, spread betting is available on other sports and is popular in Formula One where punters like to speculate on how many points a driver or a team may earn over the course of a season. In cricket, betting on total runs for a batsman is also common but in general, wherever points are involved in a sporting outcome, there is an opportunity to take a spread bet.

It’s also very common for spread betting companies to list pairs of competitors and play them off against each other. For example, ahead of the 2018 test cricket series between England and India, an offer was in place to bet on who would score most runs between Joe Root and Virat Kohli. The same principle could apply in football with, say, Mo Salah or Harry Kane to score most goals in a Premier League season.

Choosing a Bookmaker

Spread betting is considered to be a specialist area of the industry and it’s not a sector that the traditional bookmakers will readily get involved with. The bigger and more established operators such as William Hill, Coral and Ladbrokes do have options for spreads but many punters like to use a dedicated spread betting firm like Sporting Index or Spreadex.

Like traditional bookmakers, the dedicated spread operators differ in terms of what they offer but when choosing a provider, the usual mix of choice and value is paramount. All firms should list the regular football markets but the range of side bets will change depending on who you play with.

While we’re not talking about traditional odds here, operators will differ in terms of where they set the spread line and that’s where long term value comes into play. In the shorter term, welcome offers are available so it is possible to use an operator’s money to trial out spread betting before you decide whether to commit to things on a longer term basis.

A dedicated spread betting firm will often have an extensive guide on how to proceed with this area of gambling. Sporting Index have such a guide and it can go into greater depth than this summary and, there are customer service operatives on hand who can also answer any questions you have.

Again, we would just urge you to keep in mind the basic principles of spread betting and to understand the way losses are calculated. It’s an exciting sector but it’s not for everyone so be sure to arm yourself with as much information as possible before you proceed.

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