What is sports spread betting?

Spread betting is a form of betting that’s very different to fixed odds or even tote betting. More frequently associated with the financial markets rather than sports betting it enables you to place a bet whereby instead of winning / losing a fixed amount your wins / losses are calculated based on the result.

How does spread betting on sports work?

When you place a sports spread bet the bookmaker offers a result and you wager on whether you think the actual result will be higher or lower.

This is referred to as ‘Buying’ if you think the result will be higher and ‘ Selling’ if you think the result will be lower.

Once the final result is known your bet stake is multiplied by the difference between the actual result and the result offered initially by the bookie.

An example of sports spread betting

This is easiest to understand if we consider the total goals market on a football match.

Let’s imagine that the bookie is offer ing total goals of 2.5, you can wager on the total number of goals being higher or lower than 2.5. If you think there will be more than 2.5 then you ‘buy’ if you think it will be less than 2.5 you ‘sell’.

For the purposes of this example let’s assume that you think there will be more than 2.5 goals so you ‘buy’ with a £10 stake.

If there was 3 goals, you would end up with £5 profit: 3 – 2.5 x £10 = £5

If there was only 2 goals you would end up with a £5 loss: 2 – 2.5 x £10 = -£5

Where spread betting differs is that if the match ended 0-0 you’d be looking at a £25 loss (0 – 2.5 x £10 = -£25) but if it turned into a 7 goal thriller you’d be looking at a nice £45 profit (7 – 2.5 x £10 = £45).


You can clearly see that both wins and losses can grow very quickly when the number of goals is a long way from the bookies offering.

What is a spread?

Bookies profit through introducing a spread into their offering, in the example above instead of allowing you buy and sell 2.5 goals they might let you sell 2.4 goals and buy 2.6 goals this is a subtle change which builds a margin into the odds.

Compare the two tables below, the first shows no spread with the bookie allowing both buy and sell at 2.5 as you can see if bets are spread evenly over buy and sell the bookie will make no money.


If we now look at what happens when a spread is involved. In the table below we can see what happens when the bookie allows you to buy at 2.6 and sell at 2.4


Here you can clearly see that if bets are evenly spread over buy and sell the bookie will make a consistent profit of £2 per £10 staked.

A smaller difference between the buy and sell prices is often referred to as a tighter spread and essentially means the odds are competitive!

How to profit from Sports Spread Betting Offers

For those who are familiar with matched betting concepts this may be obvious, but just in case it’s not I thought it worth including a short section on how to profit from sports spread betting offers.

When Matched betting we aim to cover all potential outcomes normally through backing and laying, then rely on bonuses to generate a profit. Spread betting is very similar. The main difference is Instead of backing and laying we’re buying and selling.

By buying a result at one site and selling it at another we can guarantee the same outcome whatever the result. By doing this with our qualifying bets and again with our bonuses we can guarantee profit.

Let’s use an example, it just so happens that Stoke are playing Swansea tonight so I’ll use that for illustrative purposes.

Here we can see that at Spreadex we have the option to buy at 3 and sell at 2.8


Where as at Sporting Index we have the option to buy at 2.95 and sell at 2.75spreadex-stoke-v-swansea

Lets compare what happens for each of the different possible total goal outcomes.


We can clearly see that the difference in odds gives different results as we’d expect, the important thing is to look at what the overall result across both sites.


Here we can clearly see that buy buying at Sporting Index and Selling at Spreadex we get a tighter spread (2.8 – 2.95) than visa versa (2.75 – 3.0) giving larger profits / smaller losses.

As a general rule the tighter the spread the better.

What are the best markets to place sports spread bets on?

My personal preference is always to stick to the totals goals market (where an offer allows it) as it’s easy to understand and the the spreads tend to be fairly tight.

Some promotions require you to bet on specific markets so sometimes this is not possible. If I have a choice of markets (which you often do) I start by following the general rule that lower odds tend to generate smaller qualifying losses.

There are too many different bet types to go through all of them here. What I’d recommend is check the ‘I’ next to each of the bets to see a detailed description of what the bet covers.

Be warned there are some bets that can lead to massive wins and losses for instance total goal minutes (where the minutes each goal are scored in are added together), where it’s not that unusual for this to end up in the 100’s.

Calculate stake amounts

Calculating how much to buy and sell can be more complicated than using a standard calculator.

To simplify the process I’ve put together a basic excel calculator. Simply click the link below, download the file and click enable editing.

You then just need to populate the event details, available odds and the minimum risk required (for bonuses). It will then work out the amounts you should stake to the nearest penny. – To avoid being labelled a bonus abuser I’d recommend rounding the stake amounts.


This calculator only works for qualifying and free bets it doesn’t currently work for refund % offers. These are more complicated to calculate so building the calculator would be more time consuming. Please leave a comment below if you think this would be useful. If enough people do I’ll build it!

 What sports spread betting sites and offers are there?

In the example above you’ll see I’ve used 2 specific sites, although there are other UK based spread betting sites these are the only ones I use as the others are less trustworthy in my opinion. I’ve made 4 figures of profit from these 2 sites alone so can’t recommend them highly enough.

I’d recommend you focus on Spreadex (Click for £400 welcome offer) and Sporting Index (Click for £100 welcome offer)

The sign up bonuses are excellent as are the ongoing emailed offers (especially from Sporting Index).

Spreadex £400 welcome offer

Although this offer is up to £400 this is only if you place the bonus on LIVE Tennis set betting.LIVE betting is always risky due to the speed of odds moving so I’d tend to place the freebet on one of the other markets, I’d personally choose the Supremacy market (basically how many goals the favourite will win a football match by) but by exploring the other available markets you may be able to find something more profitable.

To qualify for the first freebet simply place 5 bets each risking £20, once you;ve used the free bet you can then place another 10 bets, again each risking £20 in order to qualify for another freebet.

You can use my calculator to calculate stake amounts.

Sporting Index £100 welcome offer

The sporting index welcome bonus is a £100 account credit that is available for 7 days following sign up. There are ways to maximise profit from it but my personal approach would be to use Sporting Index to match all the spreadex bets that you place, if at any point in the first 7 days you lose the £100 at Sporting Index stop placing bets.

When the £100 loses at Sporting Index it will have won at Spreadex, if you stop at this point Spreadex will be +£100 and Sporting Index will be at 0 (NOT -£100 as the cash ws a free bonus).

When the 7 days is up Sporting Index will remove any remaining bonus (hopefully £0) at which point you can redeposit to complete the Spreadex offer


Sporting Index send fairly regular promotional emails offering a % of losses back over a period (normally 7 days) these can be an extremely profitable ongoing source of profits.

Credit Checks

You need to be aware that when you open a spread betting account you are opening an account that enables losses that are greater than your initial deposit. As long as you’re placing equivalent bets at the other site this is not a problem but it does mean that both companies will run a ‘soft credit check’ on you as part of the sign up process. This will appear on your credit record in the same way as when you request a car insurance quote.s. It’s nothing to be concerned and only you should be able to see it. Having said that I’ve always avoided signing up within 6 months of a mortgage application. Probably overkill but that’s my cautious approach for you!

Hopefully I’ve covered everything but if anyone has any questions just leave a comment below and I or one of the regulars will respond as soon as possible.