chapter 2.18 - Spread Betting


Sports spread betting is essentially for the more adventurous punter out there.

With spread betting, the potential exists to see far greater returns on your stakes when you call it right, but also, it has to be factored in that the losses increase based on how inaccurate your bet turns out to be. In its simplest form: the ‘more wrong’ you are with any given bet, the more you stand to lose.

As such, you should be familiar with spread betting rules before you dip your toes into this particular water. Use a spread betting calculator to ensure you know exactly how much you are liable to lose, as well as how much you stand to win.

Spread Betting Calculator
Once you’ve mastered the basics, spread betting is an exciting way to test your knowledge and hopefully turn some profits!


Spread betting on sports is much the same as spread betting on financial markets, stocks and shares etc.

In the financial world, spread bets involve predicting how much a given stock price may rise or fall during a period of trading. The wins or losses are dictated by the closing price of the stated share and what you have predicted.

In sports spread betting, you are more likely to be predicting how many goals/points will be scored in a given match, how many red/yellow cards will be issued in a soccer game or how many points a team will accumulate over a season.

As spread betting is closely linked to stock markets, when placing a spread bet you are technically ‘buying’ or ‘selling’ in a particular market based on what the bookmaker has set as the spread.

Based on your opinion, you elect to buy or sell if you feel the spread is likely to come in over or under the benchmark that has been set.

Spread Betting Examples

Overs and unders is often one type of spread betting market that is available on sporting events. For instance, in an NBA basketball game, the total points spread might be set at 156-160 (the combined total to be scored by both teams in the game).

NBA spread Betting Example
If spread betting in this market, you would sell at 156 or buy at 160.
If you choose to sell, then you are betting that the points tally for both teams in the game will be UNDER 156.
NBA spread Betting Example
The greater the margin that you are proved correct by, the more you stand to win. If the total number of points scored turns out to be 150, you are right to the tune of six points (156-150 = 6). In this instance, you would win six times your initial stake.
NBA spread Betting Example

On the other hand, if you had bought this spread bet at 160, you would be wrong by ten points. In this case, you would lose ten times the initial stake you placed.

(160-150 = 10).

Similarly, if the total points in the game turned out to be 170, you would lose 14 times your initial stake had you decided to sell at

156 (170-156 = 14)

Had you bought the spread on total points in this game at 160, a 170-point game would result in a ten-point spread bet win

(170-160 = 10)

and so you would gain a ten-fold return on the initial stake.

In football betting, an often used market involves the total number of red and yellow cards issued during a game.
Yellow card + Red Card
To form this market, a value is assigned to each card type. For example, a yellow card may be 10 points and a red card 30 points.
The spread might be set as follows for an English Premier League match Sell: 50 points, Buy: 80 points.
spread bet on  English Premier League match example

If you sell in this market, you are predicting that there will be few cards issued. For example, if there were three yellow cards and zero red cards, that would mean only 30 points. In this instance your spread bet wins

(50-30 = 20)

and so you would win two times the initial stake.

If there were 2 red cards (60 points) and three yellow cards (30 points) in the game that would equal 90 points. Having sold at 50 points, your spread bet is now a loser by 40 points, meaning you would lose four times your initial stake.