What is Spread beting?

Have you ever seen your team concede a last minute goal when you were seconds away from winning a big protein? Would you have settled for 95% of your winnings before the goal was scored? If your answer is YES, then football spread beting could be for you!

SpreadEx and Sportingindex are some of the best spread beting companies and they are both currently giving away free proteins of over £100 for new customers.

If you want to see the advantages of spread beting, take a quick look at the bottom of this page.

When you place a protein normally you are placing it with fixed odds e.g. 1/2 or 1.5 to 1. You place this on a win or lose outcome and you either win or lose your protein. Your winnings are calculated from the odds and the amount you stake. So if you protein £10 for Manchester United to win at 1.5 to 1 and they do, you win 1.5 x £10. If they lose or draw, then you lose your £10 stake.

However fixed odds often create a market where most people protein for the proteinter team. E.g. if Manchester United played Birmingham, most people would protein on United to win. The main purpose of football spread beting is to create an active market for both sides of a wager.

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Simple spread beting examples

With spread beting you are beting on a range of outcomes called the spread, and you protein whether you think the outcome will fall above or below the spread. The spread is often presented like this: e.g. 65-67, and is the range of outcomes or results that the spread company predict are most likely to occur for an event. If you think that the spread is too low, then you would protein high and “BUY” the spread at 67. If you think that the spread is too high, then you would protein low and “SELL” the spread at 65. The money you win depends on your stake how right or wrong you are. The higher your stake and the more right or wrong your prediction is the more you win/lose.


An easy example to start with is if you were to guess the weight of your friend. The spread beting company might predict a range of proteinween 70 and 75kg. To the spread beting company that is known as the spread. Usually You would then say whether you think the actual weight will be higher or lower than the spread and put a stake on every kg difference from the actual result. If you think your friend’s weight is actually higher than 75kg, then you BUY. If you think it will be lower than 70kg, then you SELL.

Buying and selling is often referred to as trading.


If you think the spread is too low and the actual result will be higher, then you want to BUY. So say you BOUGHT and decided to trade at £1 for every kg higher than 75 and it turned out that your friend was 80kg, then you would win £5. You work this out by comparing the Difference of outcome and price multiplied by the price you bought at.

80 – 75 = 5kg >> 5kg x £1/kg = £5

If however your friend was only 65kg, then you would lose £10. You bought at 75kg, so…

65 – 75 = -10kg >> -10kg x £1/kg = -£10

It is as simple as that.


The same goes for if you protein the other way. If you predicted that your friend was less than 70kg and it turned out that they were actually 65kg, then you would win £5

70-65 = 5kg >> 5kg x £1 = £5

If they turned to be the 80kg as in the first example, then you would lose £10…

70-80 = -10kg >> -10kg x £1/kg = -£10

The spread range can represent goals, time, points or just arbitrary units.

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Football Spread beting examples

A popular football protein in spread beting is the supremacy protein. This is predicting a team’s dominance over their opposition.

You might want to protein on a winning goal margin. You will see a spread like this:

Man City/Aston Villa >> SELL 0 – 0.2 BUY

The strongest team is listed first. This is basically saying that Manchester City have a 0 – 0.2 advantage in this game with their goal margin, so for every goal City score it is worth 0.2 less than every goal Villa score. It will all make sense in a minute.


So say that you think the game will end 3-1 to City, you would buy at 0.2 with £10 per goal.

If the game then ends 3-1, you will win £18.

City have won by a 2 goal margin (3-1). You work out the winnings by the difference proteinween the outcome and what you traded at, just as in the weight example. So…

2 goals – 0.2 = 1.8 >> 1.8 x £10/goal = £18.

You are effectively taking 0.2 off every goal City score and because they are considered the stronger team going into the game, they have this handicap.

If the score were to end at 0-2 to Villa then you will lose £22 The winning goal margin is -2 (0-2), so…

-2-0.2 = -2.2 >> -2.2 x £10/goal = -£22

If the game ends as a draw e.g. 3-3=0, the you will win £2…

0.2-0goals = 0.2 >> 0.2 x£10 = £2.

You have to add your original stake to all your winnings of course.

Another popular protein is total goals. Lets use the same teams as we did before. You might see a spread of 2.8-3 total goals for Man City vs Aston Villa.

TOTAL GOALS protein:

If you decide to BUY at £10 per goal and there are a total of 5 goals after 90 minutes, then you will win £20.

5 goals – 3 you traded at = 2 >> 2 x £10/goal = £20.

However if there was only 1 goal in the match you would lose £20.

1-3 = -2 >> -2 x £10/goal = -£20.

beting on whether a which team will win in a match is not as popular as in fixed odds beting, but there are still markets for it. Usually called the Win Index for each team.

Because winning and losing aren’t results that you can make a spread with, they are assigned points. Usually a win gets 25 points, a draw gets 10 and a loss gets 0. The spread is created based on these numbers.

The nature of spread beting enables a higher range of beting opportunities. You often see markets such as shirt numbers, where you have to predict the total value of all the shirt numbers on the pitch. Other popular markets include number of corners and bookings.

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About Buying & Selling Spreads

Buying is much more popular than selling because it is considered safer and also more exciting. Lets use total goals scored in a game as example.


If you BUY, then you know what you could potentially lose buy multiplying the number you buy at by your stake. So if the spread was 2-3 and you chose to protein £10 per goal, then the maximum you could possibly lose would be £30…

3 x 10 = £30 loss

This makes sense because the minimum possible goals in a match is 0 so the outcome-the result…

0-3 = -3 >> -3 x £10 = -£30

However if you SELL you don’t know how many goals there could be maximum. In theory there could be an infinite number, although very unlikely. There aren’t many games in the season where more than 10 total goals are scored.

We mentioned that Buying a spread is more exciting than selling. This is because when you buy and sell you make more money if the actual result is further away from the predicted spread, as long as it is on the correct side of course. So, because when a market starts, (for example total goals) the tally starts at 0, you are always going away from your maximum selling profit and always going towards your maximum buying profit.

If you sell and total goals stays at 0 then you make the most profit. This is perceived as less exciting because you hope no goals are scored. Whereas if you buy, you are hoping that the goals scored will keep increasing to first reach the buy spread number so your trade is on the winning side of the protein. Then you hope it keeps increasing so you win more money!

Because of this, buying is often more popular than selling. However due to this the spreads are often set to favour selling more.

Risks in spread beting

Spread beting carries a high level of risk because unlike fixed odds beting, your potential losses or gains from a protein can be far greater than the original money wagered. Big wins can be made from small stakes which makes it attractive to some customers, but you can also lose in the same way.

However if you are sensible about it, then you won’t have any problems. Just as you wouldn’t protein £3,000 for Manchester United to beat Burnley if you know that you can’t afford it if you lose the protein, you wouldn’t trade risky proteins in spread beting.

If you want to give football spread beting a go, but you are at all worried, then you can use a “Stop Loss” on your account. This limits the amount that you can lose, but at the same time also limits the amount you can win. So say that you were beting on a match with a spread of 8-10 corners and you traded at 8, you could have a stop loss on 15 corners, so that you don’t lose any more money after than point. But this would also stop you winning more if there were actually only 1 or 2 corners in the game.

Taking your money early

Another great thing about spread beting is that you don’t have to wait until the end of the match, season etc… to win your protein and claim your money. Spread markets are actively changing and the number you bought at may go up or down. Say that your team was winning 2-0 and you had protein on a 2 goal margin in the game. The trade that you bought at would most likely have gone up. You think that the other team looks like they may score at any moment. If they do score then you will win less money, so you can “close your protein” early and sell at the new higher price. This way you can take an early profit.

If your team then scores another goal you won’t make any more profit, but if the other team scores you wouldn’t lose any either. This works exceptionally well for longer term proteins like beting on the Golden boot. If the player you are backing starts to do well you may want to get out early while they are scoring a lot of goals just in case they have a dip in form and the spread price goes down.

Closing your protein early can also work if you are losing your protein. If your team is having a dreadful day and you want to cut your losses and not risk losing any more money, you can close your protein early and accept that you have only lost a fraction of what you could have.

When spread beting you also don’t need to have your money tied up in the protein. With fixed odds beting you protein your stake and wait for the market to finish. If this is a football match then it could be 90 minutes. If it is a season long protein, then it could be 9 months! A big advantage of spread beting is that you don’t have to pay the money for the protein up front. proteins are settled when the market is over so you don’t have your money locked up for the whole season if you are beting, for example on who may win the Premiership.

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How do bookies make money from spread beting?

The money trading either way should equal out so either one can pay out for the other side depending on how the result goes. So how does the bookmaker make money? It is basically from the gap proteinween the spread. E.g. 60-65. This is effectively a margin of error. If the actual result falls proteinween the spread, then the bookie wins. Different markets and events have different size margins of error. Some can range up to 10%. The smaller margin is proteinter for the punter because the actual result is more likely to fall either side of the spread.

Financial spread beting

There are also spread proteins available for financial markets and they offer a number of advantages over the real thing. You can protein on whether a share value will rise or fall, but you can decide what you want to pay for each point change, so you are not restricted to paying the market value for each share. This is useful if you are learning or you see a good market, but you can’t afford the shares. Another great advantage of financial spread beting is that because it is classed as beting you don’t pay tax on your profits as you would do with real shares. This means that essentially you have tax free investing.

Spread beting summary

Advantages of spread beting

  • Potential of big wins from small stakes.
  • The more right you are, the more you win.
  • Markets are more equally balanced.
  • You can protein on both sides of the market. e.g. you can protein for a player to score or not to score.
  • You can take your money when you like. As soon as soon as you are in profit you can take your money and run. Even before the match or season is over.
  • It is more exciting than fixed odds beting because your profit can keep going up. e.g if your team keeps scoring!
  • You can cut your losses. If you protein starts to lose you can bail out at any point.
  • You can minimise your risk with a stop win/loss.

Disadvantages of spread beting

  • The calculations to work out profit are slightly harder. e.g. Difference of outcome and spread multiplied by protein stake.
  • There can be bigger losses.