Introduction to Spread Betting

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Article by Alex Buchanan

Spread Betting is an interesting alternative to the more traditional fixed odds methods, or indeed the phenomenon of betting exchanges which have revolutionised the way we gamble in recent years.

Sports spread betting is available in the UK via only a few companies, but if you were interested in Financial spread markets, your choice would be greater.

The principals in the sports arena are Sporting Index, Extrabet and Spreadex, and I would guess that the order I’ve listed them probably reflects the share of the sports spread betting market they enjoy. Sporting Index provide more market choice than the others, and are generally my first port of call if I’m looking to open a position.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, I can explain it briefly here, but I would recommend a look via this link, at the help and advice provided on the Sporting site…………

Spread betting refers to a bet on an unknown outcome, made at odds set by the spread betting company. The spread betting company takes an instrument and quotes two prices, which they call a spread, and are effectively a bid and offer price. A bet is made on whether the outcome will be above or below the spread, and the profit or loss depends on the level of the index at the culmination of the event.

If you are familiar with share dealing or financial spreads, then you will quickly understand the basic mechanics of sports spread betting.

The single most obvious thing to remember is that you can lose multiples of your stake, therefore it is crucial that you understand the risk involved in each trade. If you have difficulty with this, don’t spread bet, or at least not until you fully appreciate how this works.

The spread firms often have promotions available for new account holders, and we can advise on how to make these work best for you, and lock in a nice profit. Sporting Index almost always have a promotion running, of varying amounts, while the others are more variable in this regard.

Ideally, you should wait until two firms are running promotions at the same time, and this historically does happen more often than not, but check it out first. However, even if you just want to get started using Sporting, you can do it at minimum or no risk, and then cash out your free bet, or take the cash alternative normally on offer.

Now it is important to mention here that credit checks will be run on every applicant as a matter of course, so if you have a particularly low credit rating, you may be refused. Once you have your account, it is also important to check the criteria for the offer, as this can change from promotion to promotion. There may be a stop win, for example, for the free bet, which could impact your profit. You normally need to place 5 bets risking £20 at a minimum stake of £2 on 5 separate markets. This means 5 completely different markets, not for example, 5 total goals bets on different matches. So we need to find different markets, and thankfully that isn’t too difficult.

Moving on to the risk free bets then, and the trick with this is to place the necessary qualifying bets at no cost to yourself, then cash out the free offers. If you choose thereafter to continue spreadbetting, then that is your choice, but this will have given you a flavour of it, and an understanding of whether it’s for you.

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