How Does Sports Spread-Betting Work?

I first came across the concept of spread-betting watching the movie “Casino” where there was a lot of talk of “beating the spread” in regards to Robert De Niro’s character’s betting prowess.

I’d heard of it before but now it was the age of the internet. So now I could Google it and find out more.

At the time I dismissed it as over-complicated and geared towards high-scoring games like American Football and Basketball.

Recently, I’ve been looking into sports spread-betting again as part of my review of SportingIndex, who are one of the longest-standing spread-betting sites.

So, I thought I’d take what I discovered and turn it into an article for beginners like myself.

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In this article on sports spread-betting, I’ll be looking at:

• What is Sport Spread-Betting?

• How does Sport Spread-Betting Work?

• What are the Benefits of Spread-Betting?

• What are the Risks of Spread-Betting?

• Summary

What is Sport Spread-Betting?

To try and keep things simple, for my benefit as well as yours, lets describe spread-betting as it compares to fixed-odds betting.

With fixed-odds bets you are given odds on a result, you place a bet, and if the result comes in you get the fixed amount back. You either win the fixed amount or lose the amount wagered.

With spread-betting you bet an amount on a result and the amount you get back, or lose, depends on how right, or wrong, you are.

That probably sounds weird.

It’s a form of betting that attracts punters with a good knowledge of specific sports and teams.

Basically, if you think there will be more than 10 corners in a football game, then the more above 10 the corner count goes the more you win.

If there are less than 10, you lose. If there are no corners, you lose big.

It depends how much you bet on each corner.

Clearly, as I first thought after watching Casino, the spread-betting sports that are most attractive are those with big numbers of goals, points, runs etc.

But because they can easily track things like corners, booking etc and allocate them a points value (say 10 points per corner), then you can start to see how you can win big even on sports with low scoring, like football.

How does Sport Spread-Betting Work?

I’ll use an example from SportingIndex’s own training centre for cricket.

Lets say you are watching a cricket match and on team is on 70 runs when they lose their first wicket. So they are 70 for 1. SportingIndex reckons they will lose another wicket within the next 28-32 runs. So they give a “spread” of 98-102 for 2.

Now you think the partnership now batting are going to go on a big run.

So you “buy” at 102 – you are betting they will score more than 102 before losing the next wicket.

If they go on to score 132 before they lose the next wicket you have beaten the spread by 30 points. So you get 30 times your stake back.

But if they lose the next wicket at only 72 you have lost 30 times your stake.

Of course you might have thought that they would lose the second wicket quickly (maybe the new bbatsman is on poor form) so you bet the other way. Betting that the wicket will fall before the 98-102 mark.

It’s all up to your knowledge of the sport. As I said earlier, the more right you are, the more you can potentially win.

The specifics are a bit complicated at first glance but once you try it out you can quicjly get to grips with it.

That’s why SportingIndex give new customers £100 up front to experiment with. And they have a great training centre too with lots of examples for every sport.

What are the Benefits of Spread-Betting?

The benefits of spread-betting are obvious.

Not only is there the option to turn your expertise into big wins, but there are lots of options to bet on, especially in-play.

So, your potential winnings can be huge and the events are made more interesting and interactive.

It is especially attractive to punters who pride themselves on having in-depth knowledge of their chosen fields. And of course people into investments and trading.

Spread-Betting is basically like trading shares and stocks but where the value is a score, or the number of fouls etc

Even just practising with the free £100 from SportingIndex is fun.

What are the Risks of Spread-Betting?

The risks are clearly the amount that you are exposed to if you lose.

Your exposure is the maximum amount you stand to lose if you are totally wrong.

In the cricket example used above, the exposure was 30 times the stake. So I you staked £10 a point, the most you can lose is £300. Whereas the winning margin could be anything from 2 times to 100’s of times.

So, you must always understand the amount you could lose if things go badly.

And be prepared to cash-out if things go south.

The other risk is that, because the exposure may be more than you have in your account, it is common that sites like SportingIndex will offer customers an account where they can basically bet now and pay later.

This may sound great, and many customers enjoy it, but it means you can end up in debt rather than just losing your stake.

Betting on credit is not the best idea for everyone.


I hope this article has given you a bit of insight into the world of sports spread-betting.

If you have never tried spread-betting because it sounds too complicated then I’d suggest giving it a try. Maybe you will like it, maybe not.

Like most new things, like the first time you play poker, the best way to learn about it is to do it.

So with £100 of free bets to try out sports Spread-betting, you should give SportingIndex a try.

Anything you win over the £100 mark is yours to keep so you can earn while you learm. Or at least not lose while you learn.

Good Luck If you feel like trying out SportingIndex then please use our links to help support the site.

About Alex M

Alex is our intrepid reviewer and article writer. He hopes that his reviews and articles will help readers when choosing a site to play on. He also hopes one day to grow a proper beard.

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