Spread Betting – Your Handy and Comprehensive Guide

One of the most complex areas of gambling is known as spread betting. This is a system that should only be carried out by experienced bettors that have a complete understanding of how it all works.

In this guide, we will cover the question of what is spread betting and try to provide a comprehensive list of pros and cons to the practice. As we ask how does spread betting work, it can be both lucrative and volatile, so please read through this thoroughly.

Top Spread Betting Sites in the UK

# Bookie Advantages Markets Bonus Rating Review Bet
  • Live Streaming
  • 30,000+ betting markets
  • Fully licensed & certified
100+ Up To £30 in Free Bets
Betway ReviewClaim Now
  • Excellent betslip design
  • Good variety of promotions
  • A lot of youth tournaments and leagues
90+ Money back up to £40 + £10 Casino
Unibet ReviewClaim Now
18+ begambleaware.org. New customers only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first bet loses. Wagering requirements: all sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 50x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. Full T&C's apply.. #AD
  • Betting exchange
  • High betting limits
  • Competitive odds
100+ £20 Free Bet on the Exchange
Betfair ReviewClaim Now
  • Selection of bonuses
  • Cash-out function
  • Huge Range of Football Markets
110+ Up to £30* in Free bets
bet365 ReviewClaim Now
New Customers only. Bet £10* & Get £30* in Free Bets. Sign up, deposit between £5* and £10* to your account and bet365 will give you three times that value in Free Bets when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Registration required, T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply. #AD
  • Selection of bonuses
  • Competitive odds
  • 24/7 customer service
40+ Bet £10 get up to £50
Cooming SoonClaim Now
  • Fantastic odds
  • Plenty of daily promotions & free bets
  • 24/7 customer support
110+ 100% up to £50
10bet ReviewClaim Now
New bettors; Code SPORT; Wager deposit & bonus 8x; Max qualifying bet stake=initial bonus; Valid 60 days; Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply; T&C apply; 18+
  • Live streaming
  • Competitive odds
  • Plenty of daily promotions & free bets
60+ Deposit £20 to win up to £2 000
Cooming SoonClaim Now
  • Excellent betslip design
  • Competitive odds
  • High betting limits
50+ Get up to £150
Cooming SoonClaim Now
  • Cash-out in-play feature
  • Live streaming
  • Acca insurance
130+ Bet £10 and Get £30* in Free Bets
William Hill ReviewClaim Now
*New customers using Promo Code P30 only, min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15 (30 days expiry), free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply.
  • Fully licensed & certified
  • High betting limits
  • Betting exchange
40+ 50% back on your first bet up to £25
Cooming SoonClaim Now

Spread Betting Explained and Its Many Uses

Patent Bet explained

This is very different from conventional gambling, and the simple concept of win or lose is expanded. With a traditional bet on a single sporting outcome, a bettor may stake £10.00 and they know that this is the limit to their exposure. With spread betting sports, the UK football betting sites and other sportbooks could multiply that loss several times over.

Similarly, if we take that £10.00 bet and say that it’s been placed at odds of 2/1, the punter knows how much they stand to win. In this example, the potential return is £20.00 plus that initial £10.00 stake. Once again, with sports spread betting, that return can be multiplied.

Bear in mind any spread betting tax that might apply to your region.

The basic premise of this form of betting is to win or lose based on the accuracy of the wager, and it’s best explained by listing some examples.

All spread betting companies will publish certain markets that are similar to those found in traditional sports betting. So, for our first example, we’re going to look at total goals in a football match. Barcelona plays with Real Madrid, and the bettor decides that they want to enter the total goals spread.

The spread betting operator feels that the probability is for four goals to come in at the end of 90 minutes so, they set the spread at 3. The bettor then decides that they want to go Over that line, and they want to set a unit stake of £10.00.

Certain terminology is attached to spread betting so, by going Above the 3 line, the bettor is looking to ‘buy’. If they were going Under the line, they would ‘sell’.

As we now know from the basic spread betting meaning, this isn’t a simple case of win or lose. The bettor’s profits or losses will depend on the exact amount of goals that come in during the match.

Let’s say that the game finishes as a 3-3 draw: There have been six goals in the match and the spread bet has won. The £10.00 stake is a unit, and the win has exceeded the spread line by three goals.

Therefore, the return, in this case, is 3x £10 = £30.00

If, however, the game had finished with a scoreline of 1-0 to either team, the bet loses. There has only been one goal which is two points below the line. In this case, the bet has lost by two units, so if we use our simple spread betting calculator, we get the following equation:

Unit Stake of £10.00. Bet loses by two units, so the total loss is £20.00

A total goals equation is one of the most common examples of football spread betting. The exposure is lower and the wins and losses are unlikely to be too high in either case. However, spread betting can get far more volatile, and this is underlined by using other examples.

The best spread betting platform will have lots of options for their customers. So, for example, customers could bet on the number of goals that a player may score in a season. Here, the potential for high wins or losses is greater but, if we move into other sports, the figures can climb even further.

Spread betting companies may quote markets for total runs in a cricket match or the number of points that a specified driver may score in a formula one season. In both of these cases, there can be hundreds of points or runs involved. Bettors are interested because the returns can be very high but remember that the losses can quickly wipe out a bankroll.

For those reasons, anyone looking to get involved should carefully consider their betting strategies. All of the usual research into form and head to head results can be analysed, but this goes much further. This form of betting often relates to total goals, points, runs etc., so be certain to access statistics that specifically relate to goal scoring, run scoring and so on.


Up To £30 in Free Bets

Football Leagues


Money back up to £40 + £10 Casino

Football Leagues


£20 Free Bet on the Exchange

Football Leagues


Bet £10 get up to £50

Football Leagues


100% up to £50

Football Leagues


How Do I Place This Kind of Bet?

Spread Betting explained

The act of placing a bet with a spread betting UK company or any operator across the world is a relatively straightforward one. There are similarities with traditional sports betting, and we start with a website that provides easy to follow links to all of the available sports.

Next, we find an event and, for this example, we’ll use that total goals bet. Find a match, find the spread and decide whether you want to buy or sell.

Your bet slip will now open: You now have to decide on your unit stake, so type the figure into the box and hit the confirm or place bet button.

All spread betting companies will work a little differently, but they are all likely to follow this formula very closely.

Football Betting Offers at Betfair

  • Free bets and price boosts

    Various promotional offers
    Top rated by bettors and exprerts

  • Sign-up Offer

    100% match on first deposit
    up to £20.00

  • Welcome Bonus

    £20 Free Bet
    on the Exchange

  • Betfair Boost

    Daily Price Boosts to increase
    your winnings

Can I Use Spread Betting with a Common Formula or Other System?

The short answer to this is no: In other areas of this website, we have listed a number of common formulas such as Martingale, Fibonacci, Paroli and Reverse Martingale. We go into much more detail in these sections, but all of the systems should be used for simple bets.

A Martingale, for example, works best when we have a single bet at Even Money. Also, we need a single unit stake - let’s say £10.00 - rather than a unit which can be multiplied as it would for spread betting football or any other sport.

An important part of our spread betting tips is to outline that this is a complex practice and, as such, it really doesn’t work within one of these formula scenarios.

Back to Top