For most of the year I'm satisfied to follow games without mercenary incentive, but that changes in the fall, when foot meets ball. There's something about soccer spread betting that makes it irresistible especially the Premiership variety. I take rating the teams as a personal challenge, one that spices my every week from the beginning of August. Sometimes people ask me how much I bet on a game - 'None of your business', I reply, but I add that it's not nearly enough to alter my standard of living, win or lose.
How many times have you witnessed a goal in the last few minutes of a match just when you were about to pick some nice winnings from a big bet? In such circumstances, would you have settled for 94% of your winnings before the goal was scored? If your answer is YES, then sports spread betting may be your answer!
You see with spread betting you are betting on a range of outcomes referred to as the spread, and you bet whether you believe the outcome will fall above or below the spread. The value set by the bookmaker is known as 'the spread'. In sports gambling, a bookie might predict that Ireland will beat Argentina in the forthcoming rugby World Cup by 10 points. A punter who bets on Argentina is said to 'take the points' and will win their bet if the South American team's score, plus the 10 point spread, is greater than Ireland's score.
And their winnings increase with every additional point. The patriot who gambles on Ireland is said to 'give the points' and wins if Ireland's score minus 10 points is greater than the Argentinian's total. Of course, the reverse holds true as well, and losses clock up for every point in the other direction that the final score adds up to. The principles are very much the same as in financial spread betting, except that in financial spread betting there is no bookie setting the odds or the spread. In effect, the markets dictate this. The market sets the price and the spread betting firm sets the spread around this.
The more popular markets remain supremacy along with the total number of goals - Football is now a very much developed market, for instance Sporting Index commonly offers more than 100 different bets on any live televised match!
Spread betting is by no means a new phenomenon. It has been an integral part of American sports betting for at least a century. Indeed, it is probably its association with the first betting sports scandal involving baseball almost 90 years ago that gave it something of a disreputable aura for many years on this side of the Atlantic.
In sports spread betting a punter can bet on the difference in the scores of two teams playing against each other and whether this will be less or greater than the value specified by the bookmaker.
Sports spread betting is predominantly for punters who are passionate about sport and can back their judgement against bookmakers. Adrenaline and entertainment combine with live sport and 45% of our business takes place during the event. We are the emotional bet. - Richard Glynn
Video footage scenes of Spreadex's Offices - Trading floors and Interviews with Key Personnel
My favourite football bets are;
How many yellow/red cards will there be in a football match. 10 points for a yellow and 25 for a red.
Example: 3 yellow cards and one red the final make up (result) would be 45. If you bought bookings at 36 for £2 you would win 9 times your stake or 18 quid.
Total Corners in a football match. Simple this one, if you buy corners at 11 and there are only 8 you lose 3 times your stake.
This is a sick one, basically it is the accumulation of the goal times of each scored. For example a result is 2-1. The goals are scored in the 30th min, 60th min and the 82nd min the make up is 172.
Ok another sick one, (look it's all sick which is why it's such fun) this is the accumulation of the shirt numbers of the scoring players. For example Man United unfortunately score twice and win 2-0. Tevez and the winker Ronaldo score. Their shirt numbers are 32 and 7 respectively so the make up would be 39.
The difference between financial spreadbetting and sports betting (for example fixed odds) is that with sports betting you are taking a punt on a specific event with a specific duration. As a rule once the bet is placed you can't change it. Whereas with financial spreadbetting you have the same basic indefinite period as you would have with a normal investment. You can choose when to end the bet. This is a simplification, because even fixed odds bets can be hedged in-running under certain circumstances, and most spread bets have some sort of underlying duration, but it gives the general idea. Other than that betting on sports or financials are almost identical - you can even use stop losses/limit orders with your sports spread betting account!
Whether or not this sort of day trading is fundamentally any more or less risky than betting on horses depends on the expertise of the person doing it, and isn't a question of whether it's done using real trading or spreadbetting: it is certainly possible to make a very good living betting on sports if you know what you're doing better than the bookies. Horses for courses, possibly?
It is another way to bet on the outcome of things. How many things can you think of that you could have a bet on? What time will it rain tomorrow?
Spread betting companies select something to bet on ---- football, cricket, a horserace etc., and they weigh up each event themselves. They try to judge the outcome, not only on the result of an event, but other things that might happen during the event. After much studying, the company will decide what they think is the likely outcome and take this as their position in the event, and then offer bets either side of this position.
Obviously it isn't an exact science, so they give themselves some leeway. This leeway in their position is called the Spread. You could say, it is the middle ground, but it doesn't necessarily have to be in the middle.
The idea was based on how stocks and shares fluctuate in the stock market. Some broker might have said -- 'I bet that 'particular' stock will go down in price in the next hour'. Another said it will go up and yet another might have said that the price won't change. So they probably had a bet on it between themselves. This idea was then expanded upon and developed into what is now called Spread betting.
You can bet that something will do well, or you can bet on it doing badly --- the choice is offered to you in spread betting.
The companies offer a huge choice of bets, even on a single event. One of the first sports they became interested in was cricket because of the wide range of possibilities in a cricket match.
How many runs will a team score? How many wickets will a bowler take in the match? What will be the total runs in an opening partnership? - Most spread bets are based on totals. Also they take bets on the winning margin in events where the result is obvious. You can bet on a match between two players in a competition, disregarding all the other players. Bet in-running on live events, where you can stop a bet and take your winnings(profit), or cut your losses at that time if your original bet is not doing well. You don't have to lose all your money waiting for the final result, you can get out early with a loss. You can even open a new bet while the event is in progress.
The list of bets, especially in sports, is growing all the time. Before I show you examples of spread betting, I will give you information on some of the types of spreadbets available in different sports.
An attractive feature of spread betting is that you don't need to wait until the end of an event or season...etc to close your bet and claim your money. The spread keeps changing and the number at which you bought goes up or down.
For instance, suppose that the team you had bet on was winning 1-0 and you had placed a bet on a 1 goal margin in the football game. The trade that you bought at is likely to have gone up in the interim. The opposing team is putting up a good fight and you are afraid that they may score at any moment, the consequence of which you would end up with less winnings - so you close your bet early and sell at a higher price securing an early profit. Should your team then score another goal you won't make any additional profit, but if the other team scores you wouldn't lose any either. You can even use this method to close out losing bets to cut your losses short.
Trading Hours are generally 10.00AM - 10.00PM, Monday to Saturday, and 12.00PM - 6.00PM on Sunday, though it's obviously best to check, especially if you want to place a bet as soon as the market opens. If you ring up the trading desk when it is closed, there will generally be a message telling you at what time it will be opening. Often it can be difficult to get through at the exact time the market opens, because a lot of people will be trying to get on at prices they consider gives them an edge, but it is worth persevering.
If there is a major event happening overseas out of hours to the Ashes cricket tests in Australia are the classic example, then the firms will generally stay open, but specifically for taking trades on that event.
With over 70% of the sports spread betting market in the UK, Sporting Index is the main site for anyone interested in sports spread betting. It's come a long way in its 16 years of existence too:
'In 1992 Sporting Index was founded with just 5 members of staff and 50 clients. The company now caters for well over 40,000 spread bettors with an expanded team of some 180 staff, all based at its London HQ, and about half of which are based on the trading desk.'
But it took another eight years before the world saw the kind of sports spread betting that everyone wants to see:
In the early days of Sporting Index, bets were taken via the phone but since the launch of Sporting Index's online website 80% of bets with Sporting Index are now placed online. The launch of the Sporting Index website also offered the spread betting public the first truly interactive sports spread betting website.
Four years later they also launched the first spread betting games online. For players who want to bet for real two types of accounts are offered: Deposit and Credit Accounts. A Credit Account allows you to start betting as soon as the account is open, a Deposit Account requires you to deposit funds before you can bet. If you select a Deposit Account you can always switch to a Credit Account at a later date.
Today, Sporting Index makes thousands of markets on upwards of 500 events every week, offering the sports enthusiast the possibility to bet on a multitude of sports events as well as political and showbiz ones, as well as on a portfolio of unique virtual games.
How Sporting Index works is that, if for instance, England are playing Germany at football and on the first goal scorer market Sporting Index predict that the first goal will be scored on the 38th minute they will set 37 - 39 minutes as their range and customers then decide to back under or over this mark, this is known as 'buying' and 'selling'. To then work out your potential wins or losses, firstly depends on your stake and the time of the first goal. If the goal was scored in the 27th minute a bettor that went LOW and 'sold' the price would have won 10 times their original stake, the punter that was sure the goal would be scored later than Sporting Index's prediction, however would stand to lose 12 times their original stake.
I have accounts with all the main sporting outfits - they are all differently run and here is each one through my own experience.
Spreadex - Very easy to use and I have found them to be friendly when I needed to do a telephone trade. My favourite at the moment. Again, they will be pretty quick to limit bets if they think you know what you are doing and winning a hell of a lot. On the plus side they do not insist on you having the funds to cover a bet. This is good when you have a few accounts and switching money around. As long as you have a few pounds in they will let you have a decent bet. They are usually the lowest also when it comes to total points, total goals, not sure if they do this so they get all the customers Sporting Index don't but again good for getting a price if you want to buy. Their trading room is open 24/7 now for sports as there are events to bet on round the clock.
Sporting Index - Owned by a private equity firm; HG Capital and are sports specialists with no financial betting arm. Very user-friendly site. Quite polite, takes plenty for them to even think about limiting your betting and have plenty of markets out there. Also they like to be on the high side of every market, i.e. points on rugby, total goals etc...They probably know they are inflated but people like to buy so it works for them. However, it is great to have them if you want to sell a market as 75% they are the highest. They are not bad with you needing a certain amount in to bet, usually half what you can lose is sufficient with them if betting on the phone, internet you would need it all.
SportsSpread - This is an Irish outfit and I had an account with them for quite a while. It seems that Sportspreads is experiencing payment problems lately (2015) which is bad. Here's what one punter told us 'They have openly admitted to me that they have payment problems which, combined with their ongoing trading and touting for business amounts to fraud and theft. They are aware of the legal position in Ireland with regards to gambling debts. I have had a reply back from the Department of Justice, no less, advising me that they cannot help me. I will continue to seek to get the money owed to me but feel it is important to try to get them off line to stop thieving from others.' So better steer clear and overall there are far better competitors out there.
Do however remember that if you do bet on sports you should to treat sports spread betting as entertainment. Also with sports spreadbetting work out what your maximum loss could be and make sure you can afford it! In other words if you say backed the favourite at 15 for a fiver and they come nowhere your maximum loss is limited to £75.