Sports Spread Betting Explained

What is Sports Spread Betting?

Sports spread betting is different from other kinds of sports betting in the sense that it involves wagering on the movement of a market and not necessarily the event outcome.

In other words, whereas in conventional sports betting you wager a stake on the result of a sporting event at fixed odds determined by a betting company, in sport spread betting you place a bet on a range, typically called a spread, of outcomes. Your success or loss will depend on whether you correctly predict if the final result is above or below the spread.

What Is A Spread?

A spread refers to a range of outcomes that bookmakers think are the most likely result in a sporting event. It is usually presented as 2 numbers containing a hyphen (-) between them. For instance, the spread for Arsenal points in one Premiership season might be 76-78. A spread is the same as a bookmaker’s prediction.

Sports Spread Betting

How sports spread betting works

The bookmaker or the spread betting firm selects the event and predicts what he supposes will happen and this is in the form of the spread. If you were betting on the Corner’s market, it might be something like 10-12. If you are betting on Bookings, it could be 30-33. Goals could be 2.4-2.6.

As a bettor, you then decide whether you BUY (bet higher) or SELL (bet lower) than the spread. You are therefore basically betting against the spread of the betting company. Unlike in Fixed Odds betting, you won’t win a predetermined multiple of your stake. What you win or lose in spread betting is computed based on two things:

1. Whether you predict correctly, lower or higher than the spread2. The difference between the actual result and your prediction.

Therefore, the more accurate you are with the prediction, the more you win. But the converse is that the farther you are from the prediction, the more your losses become.


A booking company may predict that Manchester City will beat Manchester United by 0.2-0.4. If you believe Manchester City will win, you BUY at 0.4 goals staking any amount you wish.

If it happens that Manchester City ends up winning the game 5-1, you have won and the winning margin is 4 goals. Your winning margin will be 3.6 (4.0-0.4). Your stake is then multiplied by this margin. If you staked $10, you win $36.

BUT if you had sold Manchester City 0.2, you lose (4.0-0.2) x 10 which is equivalent to $38.

What Can You Spread Bet On?

Sports spread betting generally applies to a majority of sports. However, the available markets tend to be quite different from the ones in fixed odds betting. In football, for example, popular markets include shirt numbers, goal minutes (minutes in which there are goals) and player goal minutes. The markets in horse racing tend to focus more on winning distances though performance betting is also offered.

Spread betting isn’t just popular with sports punters. It is also massively popular in Financial Spreads. It is similar to playing the stock exchange only that bets are placed against a spread and not necessarily against actual shares and stocks being traded.


Spread betting allows bookmakers to create an active market for both the sides of the binary wager. This is so even if the result of an event appears to favor one side or the other. For example, a strong team like Barcelona may be playing a team that is historically weaker, say Deportivo Alaves. In such a game, the strong team is the favorite while the weaker one is the underdog.

If the market is simply “Will Barcelona win?” then you can be sure that almost everybody will bet for the favorite team.

The spread here is basically a handicap towards the weaker team. The market then becomes: “Will Barcelona win by more than the spread?

How does spread betting affect you and your betting?

In traditional betting, your possible winnings and what you could lose is not only fixed but you know it at the time of placing the bet. But in spread betting, your winning or losses vary according to how close or far you are compared to the bookmaker’s prediction.

Therefore, unlike traditional betting, you win more if you are closer to the prediction and lose more if you are farther away from the prediction.


Spread betting is an exciting way to wager. Instead of backing a team to simply win, you can say that it will win higher or lower than a certain margin. What you win or lose depends not only on whether you choose the correct outcome but also how near or far it is from the actual result.

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