See All Countries


Betting Guide     Betting

Spread Bet


During the 1940's, a Chicago bookmaker and former maths professor invented the spread bet in order to create additional betting opportunities for wagering on financial developments. Spread bets require bettors to wager on the difference between an actual result and the selection made by the bettor.
By now, this type of bet has gained popularity in various sports categories as well, especially in Great Britain and North America. The general principle was transferred almost unaltered to the realm of sports betting.


How does it work?

Spread can also be described as scope or range with regards to sports betting. The bookmaker establishes a certain range for the possible outcomes of a sporting event or competition. The bettor may then choose whether he believes that the final result will be below or above the range predefined by the bookmaker.
Thus, a spread bet is all about the bettors estimation whether a certain event or situation will occur with a predefined frequency during the course of a game. These situations can be points or goals to be scored, cards and warnings to be issued or fouls to be committed. The actual frequency of the occurence of theses situations is then called the spread. If the bettor opts for a frequency above or below the range provided by the bookmaker, then the bet can be placed accordingly.
Here is an example for the calculation of the figure of a spread bet.
Successful bet (above the range)
Figure = wager x (sum of actions – upper limit)
Lost bet (below the range)
Figure = wager x (upper limit – sum of actions)
If the bettor chose to opt for a number below the range predefined by the bookmaker, the calculation works like this: 
Successful bet (below the range)
Figure = wager x (lower limit – sum of actions)
Lost bet (above the range)
Figure = wager x (upper limit – sum of actions)

Variants and Areas of Application

Theoretically, spread bets can be made available for almost any event or situation within a sporting competition or race. For example, in soccer a spread bet could be made up on the number of goals, corner kicks, yellow and red cards or even for such things as the sum of all the jersey numbers present on the pitch. For tennis games, spread bets could be placed on the number of aces, unforced errors and so on.
Apart from soccer and tennis, spread bets are hugely popular for American Sports as well.


Examples for spread bets and how the figure is calculated

→ Corner kicks in a soccer game: A bookmaker offers a spread of 10-11. If a bettor chooses to wager 100 Euro on a number of corner kicks above the spread, then the calculation of the figure may look like this:
Case 1 : After the game is over, 14 corner kicks were realized. 
Figure = wager x (number of corner kicks – upper limit) = 100 x (14-11) = 300 Euro
Case 2 : After the game is over, only 8 corner kicks were realized.
Figure (loss) = wager x (number of corner kicks – upper limit) = 100 x (11-8) = 300 Euro
→ Moment of the first goal in a soccer game: A bookmaker places the spread for the first goal to be scored in a game between the 24th and 26th minute. Hence, bettors may select to place a bet on an earlier or later first goal than within the span of these two minutes.
If a bettor places a wager of 10 Euro on the 24th minute, then the bet will be counted as successful if the first goal will be scored prior to the 24th minute of the game. The bet will be lost if the first goal is scored later than that. The figures are calculated according to the above mentioned example, with the only difference being that this time, the difference in time between the selection of the bettor and the moment that the goal is actually scored will be used to determine the figure.
It is important to note that many bookmakers use decimal numbers for describing their spread limits. An example of this can be found with regards to handball. Let's assume a bettor wagers on the total number of goals to be scored during a game. The bookmaker determines a spread of 22,4 to 22,7 goals. Here bettors are required to select whether less than 22,4 goals or more than 22,7 goals will be scored.