Playing The Spread – What is Sports Spread Betting?

Sports Spread Betting is becoming increasingly popular, as while profits are as potentially as high as in financial betting, some people might be a bit more comfortable betting on what they know. You can bet on the majority of sports, and there is a great variety of bet types available. Its probably the most entertaining form of spread-betting because you can bet on your team to win, and on their opponents to lose. There are also quite a few fun bets available, for example, you can bet on the aggregate number of shirt numbers for all the goal scorers in a match.

Example Of A Sporting Spread Bet

Spread-bets in football can cover anything from the short-term: amount of corners played in a match, to the long-term : a team’s points in the premiership over the season. The following is a simple example covering goals predicted for the match.

The bet provider makes a prediction on how many goals will be scored in total during a Premiership match between Arsenal and Tottenham.

They predict that the total goals scored will be between 2.4 and 2.7
(yes, its a fraction – the prediction is based on an average of both teams previous performance).

  • You believe that more than 2.7 goals will be scored, so you put £20 on ‘Buy’ (‘Buy’ means ‘up’, or ‘more than’).
  • The final score is 2-1, which adds up to 3 goals, which is more than 2.7 so you were right.
  • The final result of 3 goals is .3 higher than the prediction (3 minus 2.7 = .3).
  • So £20.00 (your stake) x 0.3 (difference from prediction) = £6.00 (winnings)
  • If the match score had been 3-2 that would be a total of 5 goals.
  • 5 goals minus 2.7 (bookies’ prediction) = 2.3 (difference). 2.3 x £20 = £46.00 winnings
  • If the match had been 1 – 1, the goal total would be 2.
  • 2.7 (bookies’ prediction) minus 2 = .7
  • so you would owe the company .7 x £20 = £14.00.
  • (that is as well as losing your original stake)
  • This deficit would be taken from your account.

What Is Margin? – Covering The Bet

  • To run a spread bet, you need to cover potential losses
  • This ‘margin’ system works in a similar way as financial spread-betting
  • If we take the football example, as there are not as many points scored as in a rugby match,
  • your potential losses will be smaller, and therefore you will need less money to cover a football than a rugby bet
  • If you don’t have enough margin (deposit) in your account the bet will not be accepted
  • How margin is calculated is too complex to explain here, as there are so many variations dependent on the sports.
  • Some brokers will provide credit in the same way that some bookies do, but
  • obviously this is a precarious position, and not for the feint hearted or beginners

Bet Cancelling – You Can’t Do This At The Bookies!

  • You can pull out of bets ‘half way’ through the game
  • You would do this if its going in the wrong direction
  • and you want to cut your losses
  • Or, its going well, and
  • You want to quit while you are ahead

Stop Losses

  • Some companies have two accounts
  • Regular and stop loss/win
  • Stop loss/win accounts are a safety net for beginners
  • Other accounts have stop loss/win functions
  • They automatically close the bet at a point determined by you
  • This prevents you losing all your deposit if the bet goes the wrong way
  • or again, it helps you quit while you are ahead

Bet Variations

Most sports and leagues are covered, too many to mention here. Like conventional bookmakers, bets are being offered on an increasingly wider area, covering for example, Elections and Big Brother predictions. You can also run all sorts of accumulators (called multiples), have a look at the bets available at Sportingindex.

Demo Accounts

Very few brokers provide demo accounts, however, when the stakes can be as low as 10 pence, if you are sensible your initial losses (everyone loses at some point) won’t break the bank.


  • You can get ‘wiped out’ if you are not careful with placing your ‘stop losses’.
  • Very difficult to find demo accounts
  • The ‘points spread’ varies from broker to broker so, you spend time shopping around


  • You can apply stop losses to prevent ‘wipe out’
  • Bets start as low as 10 pence
  • You can cancel bets, and retain some of your stake
  • If you are a sport lover, its the best way to gamble

Sports Spread Betting is potentially vastly more profitable than Fixed Odds or the bookies, and far more flexible than Forex trading. If you know your sport, you don’t have to research the world of finance either. If you are interested in making some serious bucks, check out our Brokers Page for the best deals.