Spread Betting Systems: What is the Spread Betting Trading System?

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• Betting Systems

The point spreads betting

Spread betting systems are well worth understanding because they concern the ever-popular point spreads markets. Even if you had never placed a bet in your life, the chances are good that you will have heard of ‘the spread’ and that simply highlights its popularity.

Using spread betting systems isn’t a short-cut to success, and all bets involve risk. However, if you take the time to do your research you can often mitigate your risks without negating your chances of landing some useful winners.

About Spread Betting Systems

Spread betting systems allow you to bet the spread in a deliberate and purposeful way. Many bettors develop their own approaches over time. Those approaches can then be defined in terms of 'rules'. That makes it possible for others to bet in the same way according to the 'system' that has been shared.

There are spread betting systems for all kinds of sports, and there are even spread betting forex trading systems. We won't go into details about those in this brief article. However, we will cover spread betting systems in more general terms. We will also give you an example system to illustrate how they work.

How to Read a Point Spread

The whole purpose of a point spread is to create a betting market which looks equally attractive whether you want to bet on the favorite or the underdog. This is achieved by giving the underdog a theoretical advanted and the favorite a theoretical disadvantage. With the game now looking a lot more evenly matched than previously, similar odds can be offered for both teams.

For example, a sportsbook might assess an NFL match between the Raiders and the Jets. It might then conclude that the Raiders are likely to win by six points. It could then set a spread that looks something like this:


You should notice that the Raiders have a minus sign before their number, and the Jets have a plus. This means that the Raiders are considered the favorite, and the Jets are the underdogs. 

If you bet on the Raiders in this market, their score will be deducted by -6.5 points before your bet is settled. You would therefore need them to win by 7 points or more for your bet to win.

Similarly, if you bet on the Jets, their score will be increased by 6.5 points before your bet is settled. You would therefore need them to either win the game or to lose by 6 points or less for your bet to win.

The quotes end in .5 in order to avoid a 'push' scenario. If the sportsbook had quoted -7 and +7 or -6 and +6, it would be possible for the Raiders to win by 7 points or 6 points and effectively leave bettors on both sides without a winner.

NBA Spread Betting System

We have already seen how the point spread works using an example from American football. Now we'll explain the concept of spread betting systems using another sport - basketball.

One of the simplest spread betting systems in the NBA is to bet on the favorites whenever they are playing at home. This doesn't make it an effective system, necessarily, but it is still a system because it gives you a rule of thumb to work to.

Now look at the following market for a game that is expected to be fairly close:


To apply the simple spread betting system mentioned a moment ago, you only need to ask yourself if the Lakers (who are favorites) are playing at home or not. If they are, you bet the Lakers. If they aren't, you don't bet on the game.

Should you bet on the Lakers at -3.5, they would need to win by 4 points or more for your bet to succeed. If you bet on the Rockets they would need to win the game or lose by 3 points or less for that bet to win.

How Much Money To Wager

When betting the spread, you need to keep a close eye on how much money you are winning and losing. Initially, you probably want to know how much to wager in the first place. 

You do not have to 'bet big or go home' here. Small wagers can be very worthwhile when you win, so there is no reason to bet more than you are comfortable with. 

If you only have $100 to bet, don't use all that money on one bet. Consider betting a percentage of your available bankroll - say no more than 10% on any given game.

Calculating Potential Profits

The odds shown alongside an outcome allow you to calculate exactly how much a win would return. If odds are preceded by a minus sign, you need to stake that number of dollars to win $100. On the other hand, if the odds are preceded by a plus sign, you need to stake $100 to win the that number of dollars in profit.

For example:

Team A-110
Team B+110

If you want to bet on Team A, you would need to bet $110 to get a profit of $100. But if you want to bet on Team B you would only need to bet $100 to get a profit of $110. Team B pays slightly more because they are the narrow underdogs in this market, and slightly less likely to win.

Of course, you don't have to bet three figures if you don't want to. You could just as easily bet $11 on Team A for a $10 profit, or $10 on Team B for a profit of $11.

Using Multiple Sportsbooks

If you live in a state which has a number of legal sportsbooks, it can be useful to sign up with two or more. This would give you a greater amount of choice of both betting markets and odds.

Not all sportsbooks are the same. Some are of higher quality or have better incentives for their customers. These also might include sign-up bonuses or free picks. 

Join several sportsbooks and you could get several free bets or bonuses. This can be useful, especially at the beginning of your betting career, as it will give you more bang for your buck.

Spread Betting Systems: Research 

Our final piece of advice on the topic of spread betting systems is to do plenty of research. Just because a points spread market exists doesn't necessarily mean that you should bet on it.

Instead, consider specializing in your favorite sport and get serious about studying the teams, players and form. If you do this, your ability to forecast results will improve and you'll find it easier to spot potentially lucrative betting opportunities. The more a spread differs from your own opinion, the greater the opportunity, but only if you are right more often than the sportsbook!

When conducting your research, you should obviously look at previous matchups between teams and make good use of stats. However, you also need to consider more subjective things that can influence a game. These include fitness, injuries and - if the sport is played outdoors - the likely weather conditions.

Spread Betting Systems FAQ

How do I practice my spread betting system?
If you are ready to dive into placing a bet but do not want to wager any money just, you don't have to. If you have your system ready, then you can start by looking at a matchup of interest. Then you can write down your predictions and how much you would have bet. Don't actually bet on the game, however. Simply wait for the results. If the game didn't result as expected, look to see what happened and why. If the result was close to your prediction, you're on the right track! When you are doing well on paper, you can then choose you put some real money on the line. Start small and only increase your stakes as your skill increases.
Why do the odds change?
The odds are always going to be changing for events when they first come out. They are volatile due to market reactions and how people are betting. If you can form the habit of getting to them early enough, you can find good deals on teams to place your bets before market forces come into play. Also compare odds from multiple sportsbooks to find the best value.
Should I double down?
Another good way to practice your approach is to try to predict the odds before looking at them. TIn other words, if you were a sportsbook odds maker, where would you place the spread? Say you look at a matchup and believe that a team is a six-point favorite. Then you look at the odds and see that they are five-point favorites. This should play out well for you since you have done your research. Let us assume you place your bet now. You check back later and find out that the line moved, and it is now at -4.5. This is a good example of how the odds can change at any time. You now have the opportunity to double down your bet if you are confident and comfortable with it. If not, you can keep your original bet and keep it conservative for now.