BEGINNER’S GUIDE to SPREAD BETTING
by Alex Deacon of
The Racing and Football Outlook
While never likely to match the popularity of fixed odds betting, or, for that matter the betting exchanges, Spread Betting has since its arrival on the scene a decade or so ago slowly become part of the football betting landscape.
They also differ in the way that one actually bets. Whereas with fixed odds betting, the bookie’s quote is a price which works as a factor by which he will multiply your stake if you win, Spread Betting firms quote two figures with represent their view of how often something will occur or how much of something might happen. If you think they have underestimated you “buy”, while if you think their quote is too high, you “sell”.
For example, if you think that there'll be a lot of corners in a game, it is possible to buy the number of corners at the quote offered. Similarly if you don't think there'll be many you can sell the quote. The quote might look something like this; 11-13. What this means is that those wanting to sell will be doing so at 11 (i.e. they think there'll be less than 11). Alternatively those buying will be purchasing at 13 (they think there'll be more than 13).
In the event of there being less than 11 the successful seller's return is calculated by subtracting the actual number of corners, for example six, from the original selling quote 11 and then multiplying by the stake; 11-6 = 5 multiplied by original stake of £10 per corner = £50 profit. However, the seller loses when the number of corners goes above the 11 mark and that loss is multiplied according by the stake value. Thus a game with 15 corners would see the four corner difference resulting in a £40 loss: 15-11 = 4 multiplied by original stake of £10 per corner = £40 loss.
To those first coming to spread betting, many of the conventions are so different from the Fixed Odds format that many simply find it too confusing or alien relative to their usual fare and return to the comfort of 12X betting. However, that is to ignore a form of betting that can be just as profitable as the fixed odds game although one that, given its volatile nature, is best approached having thoroughly acquainted yourself with the way the markets work and with the conventions employed by the firms. The fundamental differences in spread betting are the type of markets offered and the ways that they are not expressed as odds. They are though just as easy to understand.
To bring in more customers, spread firms have now introduced all manner of products and promotions and it is possible to have a spread bet through firms like Bethilo (part of Sporting Index) for as little as 1p per bet. There really is no reason for any punter, once armed with the facts, to hold back from exploring the spread-betting world.
So approaching Spread Betting sensibly means making sure you understand the nature of the bet that you're making plus the extent of the potential risk and staking accordingly. Spread Betting disasters arise out of unlimited make-ups and a misunderstanding as to how to stake a spread bet.
With fixed odds, we decide what we wish to bet on, then how much of our hard-earned we're going to stake on it, never going beyond what we can afford to lose. If the worst comes to the worst, as it sometimes will, all we lose is our stake and we move on to the next punt relatively unharmed and ready for the next battle. The problem for many with spreads is that the stake (in the sense that we are used to in fixed odds) becomes a multiplier by which all manner of financial chaos can be wrought.
While it's likely that a conservative staking plan will reduce potential profit, staying rigid in your staking plan and only betting when you have a clear view of your largest possible loss will significantly reduce the chances of a disaster. The type of market that punters coming fresh into the game should look to avoid if they are in anyway cautious are the more volatile markets. In particular, a wide berth should be given to the likes of multi-corners or shirt numbers.
Multi-corners works, for example, by simply multiplying the number of first half corners by those in the second half. Simple enough, but a cruel market if ever there was one. Take two not untypical games as an example. The first sees ten first half corners and none in the second half which make up a final total zero (10x0=0), while the second game sees five corners in the first half and five in the second making up 25 points (5x5=25). Thus we have the same number of corners but markedly different payouts. Ok, so some punters might like that sort of excitement but excitement isn't what betting is about: making money is.
EDITOR’S NOTE: At the moment, SoccerLotto.com does not offer Spread Betting advice, nor do we have plans to, unless we encounter someone whose expertise matches that of the Racing Post’s Kevin Pullein whose recommended Spread Bets have made a profit, I believe, every season for at least ten years. A key element of Kevin’s armoury though is his “Recommendation: No Bet”. It’s a neat paradox that a form of betting originally devised to help separate what Alex calls “City types” from their £1 million Christmas bonuses and thus make their lives more exciting, poor lambs, should attract as its main guru someone who succeeds by being innately cautious.