Sports Spread Betting Explained

Written by Steven Hubbard
Verified by BettingLounge team
Last updated 06/03/2024

What is Sports Spread Betting?

Sports spread betting is a type of betting in which you bet on whether the result will be above (Buy) or below (Sell) the spread.

A spread is a range the betting company predicts for the outcome of an event.

The spread consists of two numbers, a sell price, and a buy price.

If you think the final result of the market will be higher than the buy price, you can buy.

Conversely, if you think it will be less than the sell price, you can sell.

For example, Sporting Index - or the leading spread betting bookmaker Spreadex - will make predictions and you can decide whether that prediction has been put up too high or too low.

Spreadex Sports

Spreadex Sports

Spreadex is the leading spread betting site in the UK.


You can either buy to bet that the final result will be higher than the top prediction of the spread, or sell that the final result will be lower than the bottom prediction of the spread.

What you win or lose depends on the stake you choose and how right or wrong you are.

How to Place a Spread Bet

Football spread betting example: Total number of corners

The total number of corners at the end of a match is one of the simplest examples for explaining spread betting.

Say Manchester United are playing Manchester City, and the spread index is set at 7-(sell price)-9(buy price).

Now, you can sell 7 if you think the total will be under or buy the 9 if you think it will be over, but you cannot bet inside the spread.

Using this simple formula you can work out your returns/losses:

(Settled Price - Buy/Price) x Stake or (Sell price - Settled Price) x Stake

14 match corners with a £10 stake:

  • If you bought it at 9 you would have won. (14-9) x £10 = £50 profit
  • If you sold at 7 you would have lost. ( 7-14) x £10 = £70 loss

5 match corners with a £10 stake:

  • If you bought it at 9 you would have lost. (5-9) x £10 = £40 loss
  • If you sold at 7 you would have won. (7-5) x £10 = £20 profit

8 match corners with a £10 stake:

  • If you bought it at 9 you would have lost. (7-9) x £10 = £10 loss
  • If you sold at 7 you would have lost. (7-8) x £10 - £10 loss

How Does Spread Betting Differ From Fixed Odds Betting?

Fixed-odds betting offers you a win or lose scenario with your losses and wins calculated by how much you stake.

Meanwhile, how much you win or lose is determined by how accurate you are with spread betting.

The more right you are, the more you stand to win. But, the more a result goes against you, the more you could lose.

Fixed odds offer the security of knowing how much you stand to win or lose, but they can offer poor value with their high betting margins adjusting the odds in their favour.

For example: If you place a bet for over 12 match corners on a game at say 2/1 (3.00) on fixed-odds betting sites.

You will get £30 from a £10 stake (£20 profit) or stand to lose £10 if there are 12 or fewer corners.

Meanwhile, spread betting could be priced at 11 - 13, and you buy at the 13 price while staking £5 per point, you will be in profit for each corner over 13.

But, fixed odds will not increase your returns for each corner over 13.

Whereas, spread betting will increase your returns for every corner after the 13, and say they rack up a massive 20 corners in the game.

Instead of £20 profit from fixed odds, you are looking at a £35 return.

However, if the corners total is low, you could stand to lose a lot more than the fixed odds £10 stake. For each corner below 13, you would lose £5.

Say the game finished with nine corners, you stand to lose £20.

Of course, it can also be a lot riskier with spread betting, and you stand to lose a whopping £65 if you stake £5 per point and the game finishes without a single corner.

Steven is an experienced iGaming content writer who has been working in the industry since 2018. He is passionate about sports betting and enjoys writing about all aspects of the industry, including bookmaker reviews, betting tips and strategies, and news and analysis. If you have any questions about online gambling in the UK, please don't hesitate to contact him.