What is Spread Betting?

If you are familiar with Gambling you may have hear the term “spread betting” up before.

If you enjoy gambling, but want to try something new, or maybe even just want to get away from the more traditional types of gambling, spread betting may be just the thing for you.

What is spread Betting?

Unlike normal betting, where you bet on a particular outcome, with spread betting you are betting on an outcome being higher or lower than a spread predicted by bookies. A spread consists of a bid price and an ask price. If you think the actual result is going to be below the spread you “sell”. However, if you think that the actual result is going to be above the spread then you “buy”.

With spread betting you are able win large amounts of money very quickly. The downside to this is that you can also make large losses. Very possibly more than the amount you originally wagered with. This makes spread betting higher risk, but also more rewarding than traditional betting.

Spread Betting in the UK

There are currently a few spread betting companies that can be used by UK. To notable ones are Sports Spread and Spreadex.

Sports spread is a global spread betting operator that allows its customers to bet on multiple different sports including, but not limited to:

  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Rugby
  • Horse racing

Sports Spread was set up in 2000 and according to its site the aims of the company are to provide “tight spreads and regular promotions”. Sports Spread was one of the pioneers of fully online sports spread betting with the launch if its website in 2001.

SpreadEx also offers bets on many different sports including:

  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Baseball
  • Greyhound Racing
  • Boxing

SpreadEx was set up in 1999, just before Sports Spread. SpreadEx went online in 2006. It won Best Spread Betting Provider in 2016, 2018 and 2020 at the City of London Wealth Management Awards as well as many other awards at different events over the years.

Sports Spread Betting is only one of the three main services that Spreadex provide, with the others being financial spread betting and casino gaming.

Winning before the game Starts

It sounds almost ridiculous that you can win money on your bet before a match you’ve wagered on has even started, but it is a possibility with spread betting.

The reason this can happen is because of the main difference between spread betting and your normal betting. Spread betting is more betting on the accuracy of the spread. This means that If something happens before the match, such as a player being injured, the spread may change. If you cashed out when the spread was higher or lower, you would gain or lose money.

Even if the odds move against your favour in the run up to a match, there is still a chance of them turning in your favour either during the match, which can be very beneficial if you work with in-play betting, or once it finishes.

Multiply your earnings (and losses)

Unlike normal betting, the possible losses, as well as the gains are affected by changes in the odds. This means that if the spread was 2.8-3.3 for total goals scored in a match, if you decided to sell at a wager of £10 a goal and 2 goals were scored, you would win 0.8x the initial £10 which is £8, however, if you decided to buy for the same game with the same wager, you would lose 1.3x the initial £10 which is £13.

This means that the amount of money you can win or lose in a single bet is quite large, so it is best to keep the wagers reasonably small. Certain types of spread bets can have more or less possible variation and therefore multiplications of winnings and losses. Things spread bets can be put on include:

  • Time of first goal
  • Scorer Shirt numbers
  • Distance between first and second
  • Supremacy
  • Corners

Time of First Goal

How a time of first goal bet works is pretty self-explanatory. The operator will predict that the goal will be scored and will choose a spread around that time. It is then up to the punter to decide whether they think that the first goal will be scored before or after the spread.

This type of bet can be quite risky as there is a chance to either win or lose large amounts of money on reasonably sized wagers. This can be especially true if the first goal is scored very early or very late in the game as this can cause a large multiplier.

Scorer Shirt Numbers

This type of spread betting is slightly more out there. It generally requires quite a large amount of knowledge, as well not any small amount of luck.

The way this works is that the shirt numbers of all of the goal scorers is added together. This can be really risky as there can be a large variation in the possible totals. However, since there is a large risk, if you are successful with these types of bets, you can make a large profit.

Total corners

Total corners bets are also intuitive, similar to the time of first goal. You have to try and predict the total number of corners that will happen during the match.

To be good at this kind of bet you have to be able to predict how the teams will play together during the particular match. If the teams are playing more defensively there may be very few corners, but, if they are more offensive during the match, there may be quite a few corners.

This type of spread bet can have quite high gains and losses, so it isn’t always the best for more casual punter. If you have in-depth knowledge of the teams playing, and you can predict well how the matches will turn out, this type of bet can be very profitable.

Distance between first and second place

In horse racing you can bet on the distance between first and second place in any given race. This can be quite interesting as it depends on both the horses in the races as well as the distance they have to cover throughout the course.

Generally, the provider will give the spread in lengths, with a length being roughly 2.4 metres. The outcomes can be quite small in tight races occasionally the distance between first and second can be quite far.


Supremacy bets are on how many goals a particular team is going to win a match by. For example, if you want to bet on a match between Team A and Team B, you could, for example, buy Team B at 1 goal supremacy for £20 per point. If Team B wins by 3 points you win 2x your £20 stake for a total win of £40. If, however Team A wins by 1 point you will lose 2x your £20 stake for a total win of £40.

These bets can be a bit safer than others, since there is not as much chance of losing large amounts of money on a reasonably-sized wager, but this means that the winnings are also not always as impressive as with other types of bets.

Tips for Spread Betting

There is unfortunately no way to make guaranteed profits from spread betting. It is advised that you understand what you are betting on and have enough experience to decide for yourself what you think an outcome will be (random predictions can be a very quick way to lose a lot of money with spread betting).

Even if you have an amazingly in-depth knowledge of your corner of the betting market, there is too many variables to even know, let alone account for. It’s not all bad, however, is there are a few ways to make your overall chances of success better:

  • Bet within your means
  • Keep emotion out of your betting
  • Understand spread betting

Betting within your means

Even if you believe that you are 100% certain you know what an outcome will be, it is not advisable to place a bet you can’t afford to lose. You don’t want your entire betting career, and possibly your financial situation, to be ruined over a single outcome.

You also have to keep in mind that it is very possible that you will meet your worst-case outcome. Especially for bets with a large range of possible results, such as Time of first goal. It is not advisable to place a bet that you can lose a large amount of your money on unless the possible reward outweighs the risk, but as long as you can take the loss, it is up to your personal discretion.

Keeping Emotion Out

It is never fun when you lose a bet. The best way to deal with it is just to take the loss and move on. It can be very tempting to try and “chase your losses”, but this is almost always a terrible idea. Don’t get me wrong, obviously any gambler would want to make up for their losses in the long run. There is nothing wrong with that. It would be quite surprising if someone really did want to stay at a loss forever.

However, if you feel that you are focusing more on trying to recoup your ever-growing losses than accurately predicting results, it may be best to take a break and come back when you’re clear-headed. The last thing you want is to suddenly find out that you’ve slipped into a bad situation trying to regain your money.

Understand Spread Betting

This one may seem almost too obvious, but it is vital that you understand well how spread betting works before you try your hand at it. It is too easy to approach it in the same way that you would approach traditional gambling.

This is not a good idea because wagers work in a different way, which can very easily cause people to put themselves in a position to lose a lot more money than they realise. There are many different sources of information on spread betting. It may be in your best interest to utilise them before taking the plunge.

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About the author

Carl Hughes


Carl Hughes


Carl Hughes is a leading expert on sports and casino betting. Carl began his career with a BSc in Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences from the University of Birmingham before working within the industry for some of the bigger names (GVC and Bet365) and has been praised as being "a leading sports betting commentator".