Last updated: 09/04/2024

Understanding Spread Betting: A Beginner’s Guide

What Is A Spread Bet

Spread betting is a cult classic betting technique. However, it can be confusing to jump in without previous experience. But fear not! We’re here to help you navigate this complex type of bet without stress.

Today, we’re looking at what a spread bet is, how this strategy works, and how you can get started. Ready to get started? Scroll down to explore the world of sports spread betting.

What is Spread Betting?

So, what is a spread bet?

Spread betting is a type of sports betting where you don’t only look at who wins or loses but also at how many teams win and lose. 

Betting sites and non-GamStop sportsbooks set a margin called the “spread,” and bettors can place wagers on whether they think the final outcome will be above or below the margin. The aim is to be as accurate as possible regarding the spread rather than predicting an outright win or loss. 

For many punters, this adds an extra layer of excitement and complexity to the experience. Perfect if you’re ready to take your analysis to the next level.

Which Sports Are Best For Spread Betting?

Spread betting is available for many sports, but some are more popular than others. American football, rugby, football, baseball, and hockey are commonly spread betting sports. From total points to total corners, there are plenty of different spreads and markets to choose from with these options. 

How Does Sports Spread Betting Work?

Wondering how to spread bet? Here’s the lowdown on how this popular betting technique works.

1. Bookies Set The Spread

First, the bookies set a spread based on their odds. This could be a margin for victory or defeat, depending on the likelihood of each for the event and teams. 

For example, in GamStop-free football betting, Chelsea might be favoured to win by three goals. Therefore, the Total Goals market might have a spread of 2.9 to 3.1. You would buy if you think they might score more than three goals. However, if you think fewer goals will be scored, would will Sell. 

Buying and Selling might initially sound complicated, but these terms simply refer to whether you think the final result will be greater or smaller than the spread.

2. Find A Reputable Sportsbook

Before you bet, you should shop around for different sportsbooks. Not all betting websites are built equally, so examine different ones to ensure you find the right one. We’ll provide in-depth information for finding a legitimate sports betting site later in the blog.

3. Choose Your Wager

Once you’ve assessed the odds and done some pre-match research, it’s time to place your wager. 

Always make sure you complete research and analysis before making a spread bet. Data-driven wagers are more likely to succeed, allowing you to bet confidently. Depending on your chosen sport, you should look at factors like long-term trends, player injuries, weather conditions, home advantage, and recent transfers. 

4. Monitor The Results

After you lock in your bet, you only need to wait for the results. Some sportsbooks allow you to watch games via Live TV functions. However, you can also follow along via TV or internet streams.

If the outcome aligns with the predicted spread, the bet is deemed a “push.” In a push, the bettor gets their wager back. If the result is above or below the spread, the punter either wins or loses. If you win, you’ll get back your wager and an amount of winnings decided by the odds.

Advantages of Spread Betting

Sports spread betting is an extremely popular pastime, and it comes with plenty of benefits. We’ve outlined the most prominent ones to help you learn more about this unique technique. 

1. More Betting Markets

Tired of only being able to bet on wins, losses, and draws? Sports spread betting offers various markets, such as player performances, total goals or points scored, total goal minutes, and much more.

2. Engaging Experience

Many punters find spread betting brings extra excitement to sports betting due to its complex nature. Spread betting also allows you to still have a stake in the final margin, even if the game’s outcome is decided. 

3. Chance To Bet On Both Sides Of Market

You can profit from both sides of the market depending on your prediction. For example, if you correctly predict one team will outperform the spread, you’ll profit. You can also profit if the team underperforms the expected spread. This comes with practice and good research.

4. Flexible Betting Amounts

With spread betting, you have lots of flexibility in your wager amounts. Rather than fixed bets, you can stake amounts per point or goal. This gives you more control over your bets, minimising risk and maximising rewards.

5. Lack Of Fixed Odds

Traditional sports betting deals in fixed odds, but spread betting looks at the accuracy of your wager in relation to the sportsbook’s spread. This allows more wiggle room for success and provides a more interesting betting experience.

6. Available For Most Sports

Spread betting is easily applied to a range of sports, meaning once you’ve learned the strategy, you’re not limited to one specific game. You’ll find it in football, rugby, basketball, American football, and cricket not on GamStop.

7. Live Betting Opportunities

Spread betting focuses on many markets that are compatible with live betting, meaning you can continue betting while the game or event is in progress. This takes spread betting to the next level and offers a very immersive experience. However, concentration is needed for in-play spread betting.

8. Chance To Use Skills

While research and good sports knowledge are needed for all types of betting, spread betting requires lots of experience and in-depth knowledge to navigate the spreads. This is great for bettors who want to use their understanding to an advantage with skill-based betting.

9. Adjustable Positions

When live spread betting, you can adjust your positions as the game progresses through cash-out tools. This is ideal if you want to secure profits while the odds are in your favour or to minimise losses if something unpredictable happens.

10. Available On Plenty Of Sportsbooks

From famous bookies to new non-GamStop betting sites, spread betting can be found on most reputable online betting platforms. This makes it easy to sign up and get started. No fuss needed!

Risks of Spread Betting

Having a balanced view of spread betting is critical before getting started. So, our experts have compiled a list of potential sports spread betting risks to help you decide if this strategy is right for you.

1. Potential Complexity 

Unlike more straightforward bets, spread betting is more complex, requires thorough research, and requires higher skill. To successfully predict a spread bet, you must understand team dynamics, the sport, and other factors affecting the game.

So, new or less-experienced bettors might need to practise before achieving spread betting success.

2. Leverage

Sports spread betting uses leverage, which allows punters to amplify their profits. However, leverage can also increase the risk of big losses. If you want to experiment with spread betting, you must understand and use leverage carefully. 

3. Volatility

All sports betting can be unpredictable. However, unexpected changes in a game can lead to rapid market changes and unexpected losses. You can mitigate the volatility risk by carefully managing your bankroll, observing the game, and being prepared for sudden shifts in the betting market.

4. Potential Significant Losses

Unlike fixed-odds betting, spread betting has the chance of unlimited losses. If the final outcome is far from your prediction, you might lose more than expected. All spread bettors must utilise risk-management strategies and limits to prevent significant losses.

Is Spread Betting More Risky Than Other Types Of Sports Betting?

Like any sports bet, the risk depends on your steps to minimise risks. For example, placing an under-researched or impulsive spread bet would be risky. However, doing your due diligence and making an informed decision is less risky.

The risk also depends on the individual match odds. Higher odds come with better payouts but more risk. Conversely, lower odds are more likely to happen and come with less risk but don’t pay as well.

How To Minimise Risk In Sports Spread Betting

Here are some popular steps you can take to minimise risk while spread betting:

  • Pick less volatile markets – Some markets are less volatile than others. For example, in football, Total Goals rarely see an end result that’s hugely different from the spread. On the other hand, Total Goal Minutes could deviate from the spread in either direction.
  • Choose a niche – Betting on a sport or market you know well also helps to minimise risk. The more you know, the more accurate your wagers are likely to be.
  • Manage your bankroll – Bankroll management is also an essential step for protecting yourself against significant losses. This includes setting a measured betting budget, monitoring your wins and losses, and readjusting your spending in response to your wagers.
  • Make small and consistent bets – Though small bets might not seem as exciting, they minimise losses and help you gradually build up your winnings.
  • Cut your losses – If you’ve placed a spread bet that hasn’t turned out how you wanted, it’s sensible to cut your losses early and cash out before it gets any worse. 

Choosing a Spread Betting Provider

If you’re searching “What is a spread bet?” you’ll likely need to find a spread betting platform to get started. 

Finding a betting site isn’t always easy, as some bad actors are posing as legitimate betting platforms. However, our in-house experts frequently review sportsbooks and have devised a list of criteria to examine before you sign up. 

You should also consider dedicated sports spread betting companies, like SportsSpread, Sporting Index, and Spreadex. 

Here are some key factors to check when choosing a spread betting provider:

  • Look at the sportsbook’s licence – Choosing a sportsbook with a legitimate licence means you have a regulatory body behind you if anything goes wrong. Popular licences include the UKGC, MGA, and Curacao betting websites.
  • Check spread betting is available – While spread betting is a popular option, it’s not available on all sportsbooks. Double-check before you sign up to save time.
  • Browse the available sports – Similarly to the above, look at the sports, events, and market options. Check if your favourites are available before creating an account.
  • High-value promotions – Bonuses and promos elevate your betting experience and make your money go further. Top promotions to look for include generous welcome packages, free bets, and event-specific bonuses (e.g. World Cup bonuses).
  • Mobile optimisation – Thanks to smartphones and tablets, it’s easier than ever to bet on the go. However, not all sportsbooks are mobile-friendly or offer smartphone apps. See whether your chosen website is compatible with mobile betting before you start – you’ll usually find this information on their FAQ page.
  • Cash-out times – Would you prefer to wait two hours or a week for your cash? If you prefer lightning-fast payments, check each website’s potential cash-out times.
  • Read real reviews – Alongside professional reviews, explore real user reviews to see what other players thought of the website.
  • Varied payment options – Never sign up for bookies without checking their payment options. Ensure there’s at least one method you can use (e.g. a debit card), and make sure it’s available for deposits and withdrawals. Some websites don’t allow certain payment methods for both. 
  • Deposit and withdrawal minimums – Finally, examine whether there are minimum limits for deposits and withdrawals. While these aren’t always a bad sign, sometimes they’re very high. If you don’t want to make big deposits in one go or wait until your winnings reach a high amount, give these options a miss. 

Tips for Successful Spread Betting

After learning how to spread bet, it’s critical that you memorise some expert tips. Find the best tips for successful spread betting below. 

1. Avoid Chasing Losses

Chasing losses is where you up your wager amounts or place more bets to try to regain previous losses. This is never a good idea, as deviating from your bankroll management or betting strategy puts you at a higher risk of a big loss. 

If you experience a string of losses, stay calm and remember that spread betting can be unpredictable. A consistent strategy is the best way to reduce the risk of significant problems.

2. Keep Learning

The next tip might seem obvious, but it’s one to remember when developing your spread betting skills. Alongside learning how to spread bets and how to choose a good sportsbook, you should continue reading betting guides and conducting sports research. The more you know, the better your bets will be. So, don’t stop the educational journey! 

3. Learn To Adapt

Spread betting is dynamic, especially when compared to traditional fixed-odds betting. Be flexible and learn to adapt your strategy based on last-minute news and in-game developments. This might feel uncomfortable at first, but after a few practice bets, you’ll develop a natural feel for when to adapt your wager. 

4. Track Your Wagers

Keeping a record of your bets helps to identify patterns and what works well over time. Things to keep track of include the rationale behind your betting decisions, outcomes, and what you would and wouldn’t do again.

5. Diversify Your Bets

Once you know how to spread bet, focusing only on spread betting can be tempting. However, using one type of wager is never advised, leaving you more at risk of a significant loss. Instead, you should diversify your bets across different markets, events, and sports.

6. Remember Home And Away Performance

There are plenty of factors to consider when betting, including home and away performance. Unlike other factors, home advantage often gets overlooked by new punters. So, before you cement your wager, look at where the teams are playing and whether the home team performs significantly better on home turf.

7. Manage Your Bankroll 

Bankroll management is something you can’t ignore when sports betting. We’ve mentioned it once, and we’ll mention it again – don’t forget to set a dedicated budget and plan your wagers carefully.

8. Watch Spread Betting Tutorials

Are you a visual learner? After reading guides and researching, you should watch a few online videos to help you really understand this betting technique. Sites like YouTube offer plenty of tutorials to ensure you know what you’re doing before you jump in. 

9. Begin With Low Stakes

Lastly, if you’re new to spread betting, you should begin with low wagers and gradually work up to higher bets. Low-stakes betting allows you to practise without significant risk, giving you a feel for how spread betting works and if your strategy is viable.

Conclusion: Is Spread Betting Right for You?

Spread betting is a thrilling step up from fixed odds betting. But it comes with extra risk, so ensure you’ve researched well before diving in! Hopefully, this guide has answered your spread betting questions. If you implement these tips and tricks, you’ll build consistent winnings in no time.
Continue learning today. Read expert-approved sports betting content 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!