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Dan Fitch
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A spread bet is a type of wager where you make a prediction on what will happen in a sports event. The more correct you are, the bigger the reward, while the more incorrect, the bigger the potential loss. We’re going to fully explain the question of what is a spread bet in this article.

How to Place a Spread Bet on Sports

A good place to start is to show you how to place an online spread bet. In this example we will take you through how to put on such a wager on with Spreadex, who are one of the leading spread betting companies around.

  1. Visit a Spread Betting Platform

    Go to the Spreadex website. Of course, there are other spread betting platforms available, which you can use instead and will operate in much the same manner.
    Visit a Spread Betting Platform
  2. Sign Up for an Account

    Click on their Sports Betting Option, rather than the Financial Trading link. If you haven’t already set up an account, click on the Join button in the top right corner. Add your personal information to set up your spread betting account.
    Sign Up for an Account
  3. Make a Deposit

    Once your account is set up, go to My Account and then Deposit Funds, to add some money. Choose your payment method, the amount that you wish to deposit and confirm.
  4. Place a Spread Bet

    With money in your account, choose an event and a market that you wish to bet on. Choose whether to BUY or SELL, decide on your stake, add a stop loss to set your level of risk and confirm your bet.
    Place a Spread Bet

Popular Sports Spread Bet Markets

There are a wide range of markets when it comes to sports spread betting, so here are some of the most popular that you will be able to find online. Look out for these at your spread betting provider of choice:

  • Point Spread Bet – With this popular form of spread betting, you are not just attempting to predict the result of a sporting contest, but also the margin of victory. So with a point spread bet on a basketball match where the spread is set at 10.5-7.5, you are either betting on the margin of victory being over 10.5 and you Buy, or you Sell because you think that the margin will be below 7.5, or that the opposition will win.
  • Total Goals Spread Bet – When you spread bet total goals your aim is to predict the total number of goals in a football match. So if the spread is 2.9-3.1, it means that the in-house prediction is that there will be around three goals in the game. You then have to decide on whether there will be more than three goals and Buy, or if there will be less than three goals and Sell.
  • Winning Favourites Spread Bet – This is a popular market for spread betting on horse racing meetings. You bet on how many favourites will win their races at a particular course on a set day. So if the spread was 2.8-3, you could Buy if you thought that more than three favourites would win, or Sell if you considered it likelier that less than three favourites would win.

Spread Bet Example

You’ll get a better idea of how this type of wagering works and the benefits of spread betting, if we give you a practical example.

Imagine there is a One Day International cricket match between Australia and England. The Aussies are considered the favourites and England the outsiders.

The spread is set at 10-20. That means that it is being predicted that Australia will win by a margin of 10 to 20 runs. The winning margin is based on either one point per run won by or 10 points per wicket won by.

If you think that they will win by more than 20, you can Buy. Should you think that the England cricket team will at worst lose by less than 10 runs and may even win, then you Sell.

Let’s say you place £4 on Australia. If Australia beats England by 60 runs, the market will make-up at 60. So a £4 buy at 20 in this instance will result in a £160 profit ((60-20) x £4 = £160).

Or, if you bet £4 on England and they won by one wicket, the market would make-up at -10 and the £4 buy at 20 would result in a £120 loss ((-10-20) x £4 = -£120).

Difference Between Sports Spread Betting & Fixed Odds

spread bet markets on Spreadex

When it comes to the difference between spread betting and fixed odds betting sites, the clue is in the name of the latter. With traditional sports betting the odds are fixed as in set by traders. A price is available for your wager before you place the bet. You click on it, select your stake and confirm. You then have a bet where the odds and in turn what you can win, are firmly fixed.

So, if you £10 on Chelsea to beat Tottenham at 2/1, you will win £20, regardless of whether they win 1-0 or 5-0. With a spread bet, the bigger the victory, the more that you would receive in winnings. The flip side of that is, the larger the loss, the more you would lose.

Spreadex fixed odds markets

It all comes down to how much risk you want to take. With fixed odds the initial stake is the most that you can lose, but that stake multiplied by the market price, is also the most that you can win. The nature of spread betting sees a greater potential risk, offset by a bigger possible reward.

Common Sports Spread Bet Offers

Any sports spread betting firm that are looking to attract and retain customers through the medium of a spread bet offer. Here are a couple of our favourite offers and bonuses that you can take advantage of.

Spreadex – Two Free £5 Bets and £300 Cashback or iPad For New Accounts

New account holders at Spreadex can access a range of welcome bonuses. Sign up and place a fixed odds bet of at least £10 at odds of 1/2. You will receive two free fixed odds bets and two £5 Total Goals Spread bets. In addition, if you stake £300 or more on sports spread betting markets in your first 28 days, you will receive either £300 in cash, or should you prefer, a brand new iPad.

Spreadex – Spread-Free Bets

With a spread bet, you either make your wager at the top or the bottom of the spread. This offer from Spreadex, gives you the opportunity to bet at the middle of the spread, giving you a better buy or sell price and potentially boosting your profits from spread betting. Find a market that you’re interested in and then place three spread bets on the same sport’s qualifying markets within ten minutes. You can then place a fourth bet on the same market, spread-free. This offer can be enjoyed as often as you’d like.

Pros & Cons of the Spread Bet Explained

The are a lot of advantages when it comes to spread betting and some disadvantages too. Here are the pros and cons as we see them.


  • Unique form of betting
  • Level of winnings can be much more than with fixed odds equivalent
  • Can control bet level and risk with loss limits
  • Minimum spreads are quite small


  • Possible to lose large amounts if not careful with original stake sizes and loss limits
  • More complicated than fixed odds

How to Spread Bet Successfully on Sports – Tips & Strategies

Now it’s time to drop a few hints and tips. If you want to profit from spread betting, follow this advice this is recommended by successful gamblers.

Understand the Risk

Something that puts people off spread betting is the fact that it is possible to lose a lot of money. With fixed odds betting, only your stake is at risk. The more that spread bettors are wrong in their predictions, the more they can lose. It is therefore very important to understand the risk. Use a spread bet calculator to play around with different single stake amounts and possible results, so that you can see the possible level of losses. Set loss limits, so that you can only lose an amount that you are comfortable with.

Start Carefully

As well as the above measures, it makes sense to start carefully when you are beginning your spread betting journey. Limit your bet sizes to ensure that it’s not possible to lose too much. Start off with markets such as Total Goals, where the result is unlikely to be too different from the original spread. Should you find that a bet is going against you, don’t be afraid to cut your losses and cash out of your position early.

Always be an Expert

An astute gambler does not place bets on sports or events that they do not follow and fully understand. Even when an expert bettor has a favourite sport, there are certain competitions that they will avoid betting on, if they do not know anything about them. The best spread bet advice is to start off with sports and events that you know really well. Over time, as you learn the complexities of spread betting, you may wish to try and build up some expertise in a less familiar competition, through plenty of research.

The Best Spread Bet Site in the UK

When it comes to placing a spread bet UK punters have plenty of choice. We would always suggest having bet accounts at a number of spread betting operators, but if you asked us to point you towards one in particular, it would be Spreadex.

They have a great welcome offer and plenty of other regular bonuses for their users. As well as spread betting on sports and financial markets, they offer a full fixed odds service, giving you the best of both worlds. With live streaming and plenty of other features, Spreadex are a great choice.


By now you should fully understand how to spread bet meaning that you are ready to place such a wager yourself. It’s a fun and exciting method of betting, where you have the chance to make some serious money. If you follow the advice that we have given, then it needn’t be a big risk, so get involved and start spread betting today.


What is a point spread bet?

Can I lose more than my stake with spread betting?

What does buy and sell mean for spread bets?

Do tight spreads mean less profit?

How do you calculate the spread on a bet?

Dan Fitch

A writer and editor for some of the top names in the gambling industry for nearly 20 years, Dan also works as a freelance sports journalist for publications and websites such as ESPN, FourFourTwo and LiveScore.