Massive in America, spread betting — including football spread betting — has crossed the Atlantic and is becoming increasingly popular across Europe too. While it is a brilliant way to change up from your usual bets and try something new, it doesn't come without its risks. So, read on to make sure you know everything you need about this fantastic market.

Football spread betting is another way to bet on the world's most beloved sport. However, it's definitely not for betting novices, and the best way to understand this type of bet is to first grasp how the market is represented.

Spreadex Football Spread Betting Screenshot
(Source: Spreadex)

As you look at this table, you're probably wondering: ‘What's the deal with all these numbers?' It may look daunting, but it's actually quite simple once you understand the concept.

For each betting market, a bookmaker sets a ‘predicted amount'. Using total goals as an example from the above image, Spreadex believes that between 2.15 and 2.35 goals will be scored in the match. You have two options:

Sell — If you think fewer goals will be scored, you can sell. Depending on how many fewer goals will be scored, your stake is multiplied. If one goal is scored, the calculation will look something like this: 2.15 (predicted goals) – 1 (actual goals) = 1.15, so your stake is multiplied by 1.15. If more goals are scored, you pay a multiple of the number of goals that are scored.

Buy — If you think the result will be higher than the prediction, you ‘buy'. If the game ends 4-4, i.e. with a total of eight goals, you win a multiple of your stake, as follows: 8 (actual goals) – 2.3 (predicted goals) = 5.7. Your stake is multiplied by 5.7. If no goals are scored, your bet is multiplied by 2.3 and you have to pay that much.

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  • Market leaders in spread betting
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MAIN FEATURES
UK Gambling Commission
Live Stream
VIP Programm
Cash Out
Bet Builder
Support 24/7
Native App
Cryptocurrency
Established in 1992
MAIN FEATURES
UK Gambling Commission
Live Stream
VIP Programm
Cash Out
Bet Builder
Support 24/7
Native App
Cryptocurrency
Established in 1992
18+ Spread betting losses can exceed deposit. Full T&Cs apply. Bet Responsibly. BeGambleAware.org #ad

Cash-Out

In regular fixed odds betting, a cash-out is made when a punter is on track to win a bet and decides to withdraw his winnings before the end of a match to avoid the risk of losing the entire stake at the end of an event.

In football spread betting, cash-outs are a crucial part of the spread and can make a big difference if timed correctly. Cash-outs are mainly used in cases where a bet can turn from a win to a loss very quickly. Here is a good example, using another form of spread betting — supremacy.

  • Let's say we want to bet that Milan will get more corner kicks than Inter; the bookmaker's predicted value is +3, which means that Milan will get 3+ more corners than Inter over the course of a match. This is a supremacy bet, where one team is tipped to beat another in a given market.
  • Where does cash-out come in? Imagine Milan dominates the first half and takes seven corners, while Inter only takes one. If you cash out, you'll win three times your stake, because 7-1=6(actual corner margin) – 3(predicted corners) =3.
  • You could continue the bet in the hope that Milan will get more corners, or, to your demise, Inter has come out swinging and has won six corners. This brings the total tally to 7-7, which means you lose three times your stake, as 0 (actual corner margin ) – 3(predicted corners) = -3.

The Difference Between Fixed Odds & Spread Betting

Fixed odds betting is the classic betting we're all used to — UK football betting sites set odds for a market, then you make your choice and bet ‘against' the operator in an attempt to win the bet.

A simple example would be a bet on Manchester City to win at odds of 1/1. The bookie sets the price and you bet £10 on City; if they win, you get £20, and if they don't win, you lose £10.

Spread betting is completely different, and wins and losses aren't set by the bookie. This essentially means that you can win a lot more money or lose a lot more than you originally bet.

Spread betting is much more volatile and can carry much greater risks. The main advantage is that with spreads, the more right you are, the more you're rewarded. If you bet £10 on Manchester City winning the league by 5.5 points, and they win by 10 points, you win £45. But if they win by three points, you lose £25.

The table below shows City’s winning margin and what it would mean for your stake:

Manchester City Winning Margin
Points12345678910
Winnings-£45-£35-£25-£15-£5£5£15£25£35£45

As valid a question as ever, spread betting can look very different, and the sheer volume of markets can make it difficult to distinguish between the different types of spread bets.

We believe that the best way to understand a tricky subject is by looking at examples. That's why we've put together four of the most common spread options with a detailed example to make sure there's no confusion.

Football Minutes

The first betting type is known as football minutes. In spread betting, there are a number of bet types that relate to the exact time of an event. The most common market measured by minutes is goals, i.e. in what minute a team will score a goal. Times are displayed in a range of a few minutes, as shown in the image below; if a team is likely to score early, their number will probably be lower.

Spreadex Football Minutes Screenshot
(Source: Spreadex)

For example, Everton faced Manchester City in a crucial game at both ends of the table. As heavy favourites, Manchester City's first goal is expected to happen between the 38th and 41st minutes, as indicated above.

  • If you buy ‘1st Man City goal' (38-41) at £1 per minute and they score in the 61st minute, you win 61-41 = £20. On the flip side, if De Bruyne decides to hammer one home in the third minute, that will add up to 3 – 41=-£38, meaning you have to shell out £38.
  • As we all know, City won the match three-nil, scoring their first goal in the 37th minute. This means if you sold, you would have won £1, and if you bought, you would have lost £4.

Here are a few more examples of a £1 bet, depending on when the goal is scored. The first table shows a buy bet, whereas the second shows a sell bet.

Buy Bet – £1 per minute

Time ScoredCalculationsWinnings/Losses
5′5 – 41 = -36-£36
15′15 – 41 = -26-£26
30’30 – 41 = -11-£11
45’45 – 41 = 4£4
60’60 – 41 = 19£19
75’75 – 41 = 34£34
90′90 – 41 = 49£49

Sell Bet – £1 per minute

Time ScoredCalculationsWinnings/Losses
5’38 – 5 = 33£33
15’38 – 15 = 23£23
30’38 – 30 = 8£8
45’38 – 45 = -7-£7
60’38 – 60 = -22-£22
75’38 – 75 = -37-£37
90’38 – 90 = -52-£52

This is the principle for all bets involving time. If you opt to sell instead, the reverse happens — you’ll lose money if a goal happens late, and you’ll win money on an early goal for ‘sell’ bets; the first number will be the deciding factor — in this case, 38.

The market is huge, and you can even bet on players scoring before or after a particular time. There’s real value in this, but it’s obviously risky to place a high stake.

Finally, an interesting market that could yield massive wins is cumulative goal minutes. Here, all goal times of a match are added up to create a final score. The predictions are usually around the 100 mark. If four goals are scored and all of them come in the second half, you could be looking at huge winnings. It's yet another high-risk, high-reward bet.

Supremacy

One of the more unique forms of betting, supremacy is a specialty of spread betting that is particularly popular in high-scoring sports/markets that can change very quickly.

Supremacy is about predicting the difference between the two teams in a particular market. In football, the final score, corners, and cards are the main markets for supremacy. Here is an example of corner supremacy:

Spreadex Supremacy Betting Screenshot
(Source: Spreadex)

Above are the Europe League semi-final corner supremacy odds — in both cases, the team named first is the favourite to take the most corner kicks. In the case of Juventus, it's predicted that they'll have 0.5 to 1.5 more corners than Sevilla. If you think they'll get more, you can opt to buy.

  • You decide to place a ‘buy bet’ on Juventus with a stake of €10, meaning you think Juventus will take at least two more corners. Let's say Juve takes eight in the match while Sevilla takes two.
  • The difference is six, so the total amount above the predicted number is multiplied by your stake: 6-1.5 = 4.5. £10 x 4.5 = £45 — that's your winnings. However, if both have five corners, you lose your stake plus the difference; so 0 (difference in corners) – 1.5 = -1.5. £10 x -1.5 = -£15 means you have to pay out £15.

It's a risky market but it can bring high rewards; some teams dominate on corners and cards. In the Brighton v Everton game, the corner statistic was 15:1 — huge winnings if you bet on Brighton.

Performance

Performance is similar in principle to card points, where instead of betting on the exact outcome of events, you can bet on an accumulation of points based on a set of criteria.

Football performance betting often involves points for the final score, number of goals, cards, corners, and more. The following image shows some performance markets. Each spread bookie adds the ‘i' symbol to show punters what the performance points are about. In this case, the red odds are Sell, and the blue odds are Buy.

Sporting Index Performance Betting Screenshot
(Source: Sporting Index)

We'll focus on the top two markets from the image as they're the most comprehensive, and if you understand these, you'll understand them all. Here are the criteria of the points for the first two markets:

EventPoints
Win25
Draw10
Goal15
Clean Sheet10
Corner3
Yellow Card-5
Red Card-15
  • An extremely risky market; anything can happen in this kind of bet. In a bet on Rome, the team could win 5-0, get 10 corners and 0 yellow cards, which equals 25 (win) + 75 (5 goals) + 10 (clean sheet ) + 30 (10 corners) = 140 points and thus a high pay out. Or Rome could lose 0-5, get two corners and a red card, which equals 6 (2 corners) + -15 (red card) = -9 points.
  • If you bet £1 per point in scenario one, you win 140 (points) – 45 (predicted) = £95. While in scenario two (Roma loss), your final score will look like this: -9 (points) – 45 (predicted) = £54 loss.

Binary

The last set of markets you should know about are binary markets. This type of bet is only available on spread betting, and limits total points to 0 and 100. That means if you're right, 100 points are counted, and if you're wrong, it's counted as zero. Every other calculation remains the same.

Sporting Index Binary Betting Screenshot
(Source: Sporting Index)
  • Take the top market: if you buy Roma to win for £1 per point for 49, there are two possibilities. If Roma wins, you get 100 points. 100 – 49 = 51. £51 won, Bosh! If Roma loses, you have 0 points. 0 – 49 = £49 lost. The opposite is true if you sell; if Roma loses, you win 100 – 43 = £57.

This rule applies to all binary bets, and it's important to remember that the lower the predicted number, the lower your chances of winning.

The shift from fixed odds betting to spread betting is so massive that many of the strategies used in regular betting are much less relevant here. Nevertheless, there are some universal tips that you should always keep in mind. Here are the best tips and strategies for football spread betting.

Take Your Time

There are literally hundreds of different betting options, and seeing them all at once can throw off even the most experienced fixed-odds bettor. We suggest that before you jump into the betting market, you take the time to go through the options until you find something you find interesting.

Taking your time is also the best way to find value in your bets. With so much choice, you are even more likely to find a market with more favourable odds.

Understand the Market

There is no getting around the fact that spread betting can get complicated. The best way to ensure you do not lose money on bad bets is to understand the market itself.

Our picks for the best football spread betting websites have handy information sections with a brief overview of how the bet works and the criteria for a successful bet. We strongly recommend that you review this.

Research, Research, and More Research

That's right! The most important part of any good bet is research. Although our gut may strike gold from time to time, pure facts and figures are the best way to go when betting.

Our amazingly varied and detailed football stats pages are a great introduction to so many areas to delve into. When you know what's going on, you can better assess the value of your bets and place more informed wagers.

Cash-Out Strategy

Nowhere is a cash-out more useful than in spread betting. With fixed odds you can avoid losing a bet by cashing out early, but with spreads there is so much fluctuation in a match that you can win the maximum amount possible by cashing out early.

This is especially true for supremacy, where you can make further profits depending on how right you are. If you bet on corner kicks and a team has already had six more corner kicks and it looks like they're taking it easy, it may be worth cashing out before the opponents start winning corners for themselves.

Keep an Eye on Your Stake

One of the strangest aspects of spread betting is the way your stake works. Traditionally, the stake is the maximum you can lose; in football spread betting, even your losses are multiplied, resulting in higher losses.

What you need to keep in mind is that if you place large stakes, you can lose much more than you originally bargained for. Make sure you do not bet more than the amount you are comfortable losing, and be sure you have enough funds in your account.

Spreadex

Spreadex Homepage Screenshot
(Source: Spreadex)

Spreadex is one of the best spread betting sites in the world. The UK-based bookmaker is the only one to offer both spread and fixed odds betting. This is an excellent advantage for those who want to dip their toes into the world of spread betting but also want to continue with fixed odds.

The site is clean and easy to navigate, each game has a large number of markets on offer, and the information tool is also very helpful. You can quickly navigate through the stats on specific markets thanks to the stats bars located on the right-hand side of most betting tabs.

Overall, the site is perfect for newcomers to football spread betting, and the FAQ page is ideal for learning more about the world of spreads. The platform is equally good for experienced spreaders looking for a new site to use.

Sporting Index

Sporting Index Homepage Screenshot
(Source: Sporting Index)

The market leader in spread betting, Sporting Index focuses solely on the spread, and it shows! With some of the most markets available, Sporting Index routinely offers over 400 markets per match, across the top leagues and competitions.

The website is a breeze to navigate and the focus on football is clear, with menus for the sport right on the homepage. Sporting Index does its best to make football betting as simple as possible, providing information on each market readily available. The statistics page for big games is also a bettor's dream.

Finally, this platform offers a generous 50% cashback on net losses up to £500. Any cumulative losses made in the first seven days are halved instantly — talk about a great way to start spread betting!

You may be thinking to yourself, ‘Should I just stick with fixed odds? Are football spread bets better than fixed odds?'

They're valid questions, and because there's such a big difference between the two, it can be difficult to decide which is best. To make it easier to choose, below are a number of pros and cons for both types of betting.

Pros & Cons of Football Spread Betting

Pros:

  • Another exciting way to bet on football
  • The more right you are, the more you win
  • The winning potential can be enormous
  • There is an incredible number of markets
  • Once you understand the concept, betting is pretty simple and exciting
  • Ideal for those who are high-risk, high-reward seekers
  • Betting can span the entire 90 minutes, keeping the game interesting for the entire duration

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to understand at first
  • You could lose more than your initial stake
  • Your winnings can change at any moment
  • The type of bet is often very risky

Pros & Cons of Fixed Odds Football Betting

Pros:

  • Your initial stake are the only funds you can lose
  • You know exactly how much you can win
  • Can be found in less popular football leagues or competitions

Cons:

  • Winning amount is fixed

There are many different markets, but it mainly involves betting above or below the spread of points in a particular match.

In our opinion, Spreadex and Sporting Index are two of the best sites for football spread betting.

Yes, in-play betting is a popular part of spread betting, and watching an event live can also be very helpful when placing spread bets.

Not only is it available, it’s encouraged! Finding the right time to cash out a bet could yield you the best possible results on your spread bets.

Football spread betting is another way to spice up your football betting experience. The nature of the bet is quite unique, and understanding it may seem daunting at first, but with this article, you'll have enough information to get started and become a proper spread bettor. Happy punting!

WRITTEN BY Jeremy Sant Fournier
View all posts by Jeremy Sant Fournier

If there’s one thing Jeremy loves, it’s sports. A football fanatic at heart, Jeremy can always been found watching, playing or talking about sports. It’s in his blood, and with a keen interest in sports betting, sports writing is a match made in heaven.

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