How to bet spread in football action

How to Bet Spread in Football

By Dan Tracey - Nov 5th 2022

When it comes to the placing of sporting wagers, many ask just how to bet spread on football. Unlike fixed odds bets, spread betting works on a sliding scale. The more you are correct, you win. The more you are incorrect, you will lose.

While because of the ability to lose more than usual, such an outcome has the ability to put prospective punters off, and therefore, spread betting generates less popularity or at least, less understanding than its fixed odds cousin.

However, we are now going to demystify that lack of understanding and highlight the best practices when it comes to betting on the spread. To do this, we will use an example of a Premier League encounter.


Let’s assume that Chelsea is playing Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, and this is the fixed odds point spread before kick-off:

Chelsea +1.5 – 1.89
Arsenal +1.5 – 1.89

A One Goal Win Could Make All The Difference

If you back Chelsea in this spread, the bet would be a winner for three reasons:

Chelsea beat Arsenal
Chelsea draw with Arsenal
Chelsea loses to Arsenal by a single goal.

If they win 2-0 on the pitch, that is an overall victory of 3.5
If they draw 0-0 on the pitch, that is an overall victory of 1.5
If they lose 0-1 on the pitch, that is an overall victory of 0.5

If you win you get your stake and winnings returned
If you lose your stake money is kept by the bookmaker

However, things are different when it comes to spread betting. Let’s take the same fixture but now look at this from a total goals perspective:

Sell 2.20
Buy 2.50

Here there are just two options for punters to choose from. We can either take the sell figure at 2.20 or the buy at 2.50. Before we take either, we need to remember one important thing – these values do not constitute odds.

We are not staking £10 at odds of 2.20 to then return £22. Instead, the two figures constitute the total number of goals between Chelsea and Arsenal. This means if we believe there will be less than 2.2 goals, we are ready to sell. If we think there are going to be more than 2.5, we buy.

Of course, football has not evolved to the point where Gabriel Jesus or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can score one-tenth of a goal. However, this metric is the exact sliding scale that is used for the purposes of spread betting.


While there are three factors that will determine how much money is either won or lost on a bet of this kind:

The value that was either bought or sold

The stake placed

The total number of goals

Spread Betting, Is Very Much A Numbers Game

With this in mind, the final score at Stamford Bridge is a 2-1 win for Chelsea. A good result for the Blues and an even better one if you decided to buy the spread. With a total of three goals being scored, that is 0.5 more than the buy value.

This means if we bought 2.5 goals with a £10 stake, the win would be equal to £5

The reason for this is that 3 goals were scored, you bought 2.5 before and 0.5 are left in the bank. £10 * 0.5 = £5

If Chelsea beat Arsenal 3-1, the winnings would be even greater:

The reason for this is that 3 goals were scored, you bought 2.5 before and 1.5 are left in the bank. £10 * 1.5 = £15

As mentioned before, a losing bet does not just mean the permanent possession of your original stake, it also means a decrease in your spread account.

If the score between Chelsea and Arsenal was 1-0 to the hosts, the loss would be £15

The reason for this is that 1 goal was scored, you bought 2.5 before and 1.5 is now in your overdraft. £10 * -1.5 = -£15

If Chelsea and Arsenal drew 0-0, the loss would be even greater:

The reason for this is that 0 goals were scored, you bought 2.5 before and 2.5 is now in your overdraft. £10 * -2.5 = -£25

While the same principle would be in place from a selling point of view, only you would operate with the inverse calculations.

If you sold 2.20 goals and the game ended in a 0-0 draw, you would win £22

The reason for this is that 0 goals were scored, you sold 2.2 before and 2.2 are left in the bank. £10 * 2.2 = £22

If you sold 2.20 goals and the game ended in a 2-1 Chelsea win, you would lose £8

The reason for this is that 3 goals were scored, you sold 2.2 before and 0.8 is now in your overdraft. £10 * -0.8 = £8


Once you can understand this basic concept, spread betting should become far easier and can generate more profits than just backing the over/under goals market. Although this comes with the caveat that more money can be lost as well.

While it is not just total goals that spread bets can be placed on, you could apply the same logic to markets such as corners, bookings, and offsides. As long as there is something with a numerical value attached to it, you should have the ability to either buy or sell.

Losses Can Also Be Higher When It Comes To Spread Betting

Ultimately there is no right or wrong method of betting and it may even make sense to use both approaches at times. As always though, there are some additional points to consider when it comes to bet spreading.

With pay-outs not being fixed, it can be difficult to stay on top of bankroll management and for those who are looking to make long-term profitability, this is something to take into consideration. While it can also be harder to even place a spread bet in the first place.

This is due to fewer companies offering a spread compared to fixed odds and unlike the more high-profile bookmakers, there will rarely be bonuses or rewards offered to any prospective or returning punters.

However, even with these potential pitfalls, a spread bet is still a highly exciting and interesting way to place a wager. Now that you are armed with all the necessary information, why not try a different approach to your weekend bookie bashing?

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