Last updated: 02/04/2024

Understanding Spread Betting: A Beginner’s Guide

Understanding Spread Betting: A Beginner’s Guide

Whether you’re interested in starting sports betting or looking for a unique way to elevate your wagers, spread betting could be your next step. 

But what is spread betting? And how does it differ from other types of sports betting? In this blog, we’re looking at sports spread betting, how it works, and if it’s the right option for you. Let’s get started!

What Is Spread Betting?

Spread betting in sports is a fast-paced alternative to fixed odds sports betting. Rather than wagering on a win or a single outcome, you bet on a “spread.”  

While often used for sports, this betting technique is also used as a financial trading method. Here, bettors speculate on whether asset prices will rise or fall. 

What Does Spread Mean In Betting?

A “spread” predicts what will happen in a specific market for a game or sports event. This is usually expressed as a sell-buy range. 

For example, a spread could be “1.5 – 2.0” total goals in a football match. If you think the outcome (or market) will be higher than this range you would buy. However, if you think it will end up lower than the range you’d sell. 

What Does Point Spread Mean In Sports Betting?

A point spread is another term for spread betting. It also refers to the sell-buy range in which you can bet. This term is more common in American sportsbooks.

How Does Spread Betting Work?

As stated above, spread betting involves looking at a specific market rather than a fixed outcome for a sports event. You can then buy or sell depending on your predictions for the outcomes. 

But there’s more to how spread betting works than choosing to buy or sell. The more accurate your bet, the more multiples of your stake you can win. This goes both ways, though. The more wrong you bet, the more you stand to lose.

Typically, you stake per point movement. If you bet £5 on total goals, you would win or lose £5 per goal scored. So, consider how much you want to stake depending on the specified betting market.  

Where Is Spread Betting Used?

If you’re looking up “What is sports spread betting,” you may also need to know which sports use this betting technique. 

The strategy originated in the UK, and you’ll find it in most popular British sportsbooks and independent bookmakers. Typical spread betting sports include football, American Football, rugby, cricket, and basketball. 

Advantages Of Spread Betting

Now you know how to do spread betting, it’s time to look at the advantages of this method over traditional fixed betting. 

1. You Can Bet Against Favourites

In fixed betting, you can only back the favourites. However, after you learn how to read a betting spread, you encounter the chance to bet against the favourites. For example, in horse racing betting not on GamStop you can wager against the favourite horses, rather than staking on the underdogs.

2. Accurate Bets Are Rewarded

The more accurate and correct your bet, the more winnings you can receive. If you’re fed up with the “right and wrong” nature of fixed betting and want to show your knowledge of the sport, this is a more rewarding way to bet. 

3. In-Play Betting Is Available

Once you know how to read a spread for betting, you can even start betting on in-play spread odds. Yes, you can also do this with fixed odds. However, spread betting was the original in-play betting method, as it provided a more flexible way to bet on live sports.

4. Ability To Bet On Whole Tournaments Rather Than Races/Matches

Do you prefer looking at the big picture? Spread betting might be better for your style. Rather than betting on race winners or winning distances, you can bet on a whole competition or a player’s predicted goal for an entire season. There are thousands of new ways to wager with this technique.

5. Thousands Of Worldwide Markets

Though UK punters love spread betting, it isn’t limited to British sports. There are thousands of markets for hundreds of sports. Just make sure you choose a reliable sportsbook before you get started. 

6. Chance To Bet On Specific Sportspeople

Forget betting on goals or scores. Spread betting allows you to place player performance bets or jockey performance bets. Perfect for punters invested in the skill and strategy of individual athletes. 

7. Flexibility & Potential For High Returns

If you’re sick of fixed winnings and fixed odds, spread betting could be a better pastime for you. Unlike fixed betting, spread betting allows variable winnings depending on your wager. 

8. Available On-The-Go

Thanks to modern innovations, most new non-GamStop betting sites allow mobile-optimised spread betting. This means you can bet via your phone or tablet wherever and whenever, as long as you have Wi-Fi, of course!

Risks Of Spread Betting

We strive to give a balanced and honest picture to help you choose the best route. So, before you learn more about what a spread means in betting, look at the potential risks below.

1. Lack Of Understanding Can Be Dangerous

Spread betting is a great way to show off your betting skills and niche sports understanding. However, if you make a bad judgement call, you may lose more than in fixed odds betting due to the nature of the spread. So, it’s not a great choice if you’re not familiar with the sport or confident in your knowledge. 

2. You Must Understand Market Volatility

Some markets are more volatile than others. This is great if your spread bet wins, but unpleasant if you miss the mark. You must choose your market wisely to ensure the best returns for your wager. 

For example, total goals in a match is less volatile than total goal minutes. Typically, markets that require specific knowledge or more detail are more volatile. 

3. You Need To Consider Potential Losses

To build on the last point, since some markets are more volatile, you should workout your potential losses before betting. This can take up more time and some bettors may find it takes the excitement out of the experience. 

In the case of total goals vs total goal minutes, a bettor stands to lose much more when it comes to goal minutes. So, working out potential losses must be done to protect your bankroll.

4. More Complex Than Traditional Odds

If you’re new to betting in general, learning how to spread bet may take a little longer at first. This is because you need to become familiar with the odds first. So, if you aren’t an experienced bettor, you might want to practise with fixed odds before diving in.

5. Impulsive In-Play Betting

Spread betting is a great tool for in-play betting. However, it’s important to note the impulsive nature of in-play betting. Punters are more likely to take risks without research while betting on live sports.

Choosing A Reputable Spread Betting Provider

There’s no point in learning how to win at spread betting if you’re not playing with a reputable provider. 

Unfortunately, there are a range of unsafe sportsbooks online, meaning you need to be vigilant when choosing a bookies. Here are some factors to look out for to ensure you pick a reputable website. 

Licensing Information

Not every sportsbook is licensed, so examining each potential provider for reputable licensing information is critical. While the UKGC is a leading British provider, it’s not your only option. Many trustworthy spread betting websites use overseas licence providers like the MGA or Curacao. 

Wide Variety Of Spread Betting Markets

There’s no point in signing up for a sportsbook with limited spread betting options! Before you make your decision, you must check the website’s sportsbook. Look for a variety of markets, sports, and the possibility to spread bet. If you can’t see your favourites, it’s a sign to move onwards. 

Legitimate Payment Options

Payment options are a vital part of any gambling experience. A good website should offer a range of options to make sure all players have one that suits their bankroll. 

Common payment options on independent sportsbooks include:

  • Credit cards
  • Debit cards
  • Digital wallets
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Bank transfers

Always check the withdrawal and deposit options. Sometimes, sportsbooks allow more deposit options than withdrawal ones. You don’t want to be limited when it’s time to cash out your winnings!

Sports Bonuses & Promotions

Alongside checking betting markets, licences, and payment methods, you should also check out the sportsbook’s “Promotions” page. Reputable sports betting websites should offer welcome bonuses, sports bonuses, free bets, and existing player promotions. This way, you can elevate your first few bets and make your funds go further. Nice.

Reliable Customer Support

Hopefully, you won’t need to rely on customer support. But you still need to consider it when finding a spread betting provider. In the case of an emergency, you’ll want a reliable team with multiple contact methods and good English skills. So, check whether the website offers 24/7 support and how to get in touch. 

Mobile Spread Betting Opportunities 

Last but not least, you may also want to look out for mobile optimisation. This might not be so important for desktop players. But if you prefer mobile phone or tablet betting, you need to look for a mobile-friendly website. 

Some sports betting sites even provide dedicated apps. Ideal if you want downloadable content and a streamlined user experience.

Expert Tips For Successful Spread Betting

After finding the answer to “What is a spread in betting,” it’s time to take-on the sportsbooks. But don’t rush into it! Take note of these final tips to help you maximise your winnings.

Manage Your Bankroll

Managing your bankroll is necessary for success, no matter how you’re betting. However, it’s imperative in spread betting as markets can be more volatile and losses larger. 

The best ways to manage your bankroll include:

  • Setting a specific betting budget
  • Only betting as much as you can afford to lose
  • Setting small bets and not your whole budget
  • Betting during specific times or on certain days
  • Monitoring your finances as you bet

Staying on top of your spending is the best way to practise responsible gambling. 

Research Before You Bet

Before placing a spread bet, you must do your due diligence on the team, players, match conditions, and other sport-specific factors. The more knowledge you have, the better when it comes to spread betting. So, hit the books!

Start With Low Wagers

Starting small might not sound fun, but it’s the best way to learn the ropes and build confidence. Begin your spread betting journey with smaller stakes to earn experience. Only increase your bets when you feel ready, and make sure you research before submitting your wagers. 

Keep Learning

Alongside researching the sport you’re betting on, you should keep learning about spread betting and odds in general. There are always more tactics to learn, so don’t limit your success by only reading a few blogs. 

Other places to learn about spread betting include on YouTube, from player forums, and from online betting guides. 

Use Risk Management Strategies

Spread betting simply isn’t successful if you don’t have any risk management strategies in play. These strategies keep you safe and reduce the chances of unsafe gambling behaviours. For example, you may opt in for self-exclusion if betting becomes compulsive. You should also stop gambling once your allocated budget is used up. Keeping yourself and your finances safe should always come first.

Discipline & Practice

No one becomes a perfect spread bettor overnight. Yet, with discipline and practice, you’re more likely to achieve success than placing lots of bets at once. So, stick to your strategy, avoid emotional or impulsive decisions, and be patient. 

Conclusion: Is Spread Betting Right for You?

So, there you have it! Hopefully, this blog has helped you understand how a spread works in sports betting and how you can optimise your performance. 

Bookmark this page today so you can come back to it later. Or learn more about betting from the experts on the Non-GamStop Betting blog.

Meet Our Team Of Gambling Specialists

Hello! I’m David Goldblatt, the lead author at I’m an experienced sports journalist who transitioned into making online gambling content in the mid-2010s. It’s something that fascinates me and I’ve always loved the way sports betting can make any event more exciting!

When I’m not researching the latest non-GamStop bookies, I’ll be playing football in the park or watching the local cricket club with my mates. I’m a massive advocate for responsible gambling, so feel free to message me if you need help. Other than that, I hope you enjoy my stuff and can find some trustworthy betting sites to join!