What is Spread Betting? | Spread betting explained for Sports and Esports

Posted on December 1, 2020 - Last Updated on March 18, 2021

Welcome to our guide to spread betting. Here we’re going to have spread betting explained in a way that even complete betting newbies will be able to understand. You’ll get to see how traditional sports spread betting works, and then see how spread betting works for betting on esports. A great way to make better wins from your online betting.


What is spread betting?

Spread betting is something that originated in the financial industries. Simply put, it was a kind of bet that predicted whether the price of something like a stock would rise or fall. Such was the popularity of spread betting that it quickly made the transition to the sports betting world and now you can also enjoy spread in esports betting.

The basic spread betting meaning is that you’ll be betting on whether an event happens more or less than a number specified by the bookmaker. If you get this prediction right, you’ll stand to get a return on your bets. If you don’t, you’ll lose your bet.

A spread bet differs from a normal fixed odds betting. This is because you always know how much you will win or lose when you bet on fixed odds. But your returns from a spread bet will get better the more accurate that you are, while your potential losses can increase the further out that your prediction is.

  • Bet on whether something will happen more or less than a number set by the bookmaker
  • ‘Buy’ a bet to predict that the number will be higher
  • ‘Sell’ the bet to predict that the number will be lower
  • Make bigger wins or losses by putting down a spread bet

An easy example:

Let’s have spread betting explained with an example from Premier League football. Imagine that you wanted to try a spread bet on where Liverpool would finish in the Premier League table. Here you might find that a bookmaker will suggest that Liverpool pick up between 88.5 and 90 points in their Premier League campaign. It would then be your job to bet on whether Liverpool would get more or less points than this.

If you think that Liverpool will get 90 points or more, you would be ‘buying’ the bet. But if you think that Liverpool will get less than 88.5 points, you would ‘sell’ the bet. How much you win or lose will depend on the difference between your buy or sell prediction and the end result, multiplied by your stake.

Let’s imagine that you bought the bet with a £10 stake that Liverpool would get more than 90 points in their Premier League campaign. So if Liverpool finished with 92 points in the season, you’d win your bet. This would mean that you would win £20 (Two points difference multiplied by a £10 stake). If Liverpool had finished with 100 points, you would have won £100 (10 points difference multiplied by £10). All of which shows that spread betting can be very valuable.

Advantages of spread betting

The above example of a spread bet on sports shows that spread betting can be very lucrative. This is because it can open up potentially larger returns from your bets. Plus it’s a great way to get more from backing the favourite. In addition to this, you’ll probably find it a little more interesting than just putting down endless match winner bets.

  • Potential for making larger wins with your bets
  • Good way to get better odds for betting on the favourite

How does esports spread betting work?

The above example shows that you could try esports bets on a spread that features a league format. This means that you could try spread bets on the Overwatch League. For example, you could bet that London Spitfire would finish with a higher number of points than a number set by a bookmaker.

Imagine that the bookmaker said that London Spitfire would finish with between 38 and 40 points. You opted to ‘buy’ this bet with a £10 stake by saying that London Spitfire would end up finishing with 45 points.

However, the Overwatch team didn’t end up doing as well as you’d predicted and only got 35 points. This would mean that you’d lose your spread bet and would lose £100 (10 points difference multiplied by your £10 stake).

Disadvantages of spread betting

Having spread betting explained reveals the important fact that you could make some big losses if you were way off the mark with your bets. Plus you might not find spread bets available for certain betting options like virtual sports.

Spread bets might not be best suited for those who are just started out with their online bets. We should note that many betting sites won’t include spread bets as they focus on traditional fixed odds bets.

  • Could leave you facing big losses
  • Spread bets not available for certain markets

Simple spread betting tips

While spread bets might have a different approach to regular fixed odds bets, it’s something that should be fairly easy to get used to. Make sure that you follow these tips to make a solid start with your spread bets.

  • Identify the worst-case scenario – It’s best to know what the worst-case scenario for a spread bet will be. For example, a football team isn’t going to end the match with less than zero goals. Knowing this will mean that you’ll get an idea of how much you could lose.
  • Pick low volatility markets – When a betting market has lots of points like the Premier League table, it has much higher volatility than something like the correct score of a CSGO match. Betting on low volatility markets means that your potential losses won’t be so severe.
  • Keep your betting stakes modest – Finally we should just remind you to only put down small bets when trying spread betting. The wins might not be quick so impressive here, but at least you won’t be faced with devastating losses.
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