England’s annihilation of the West Indies in the first test at Edgbaston provides the perfect context in which to explore the budding market for spread betting. This is a form of gambling unlike anything you have ever known and offers the potential to make a huge profit in a short space of time. You have to be careful, because you can also lose big, but if you mitigate the risks and devise a sensible strategy it can be great fun and extremely profitable.
First, for the uninitiated, a word on spread betting and how it differs from regular gambling. Regular betting is known as fixed odds betting, where you win or lose on an outcome and are paid out at set odds if you are successful. For example, you can take 2/1 on Bangladesh to beat India and you are paid out at those odds if your prediction is correct and you lose if India claims victory. Spread betting is a completely different approach and it represents a real game changer for sports betting. It starts with the bookmaker coming up with a prediction and you have to decide whether that prediction is too high or too low.
As previously mentioned, England v West Indies provides a great example of how you can make a killing via spread betting. Ahead of the test, sports spread betting specialists Sporting Index predicted that England opener Alastair Cook would score between 58 and 63 runs in the first innings. If you thought he would get fewer runs than 58, you would sell on 58. But if you thought he would record more than 63 you would buy on 63. The further the actual outcome deviates from the prediction, the more you win, as your stake is multiplied by the difference. Cook went into the test in excellent form, while the West Indies were a mess, on a long winless run and missing many key players due to various disputes with the cricket board, so it was certainly tempting to have bought on 63.
As it happened Cook put the West Indies to the sword with a magnificent double century and ended up with 243 runs in a marathon 10-hour innings. Had you bought on 63 you would have been laughing all the way to the bank. The difference between the prediction (63) and the actuality (243) is 180, so you would have seen your stake multiplied by 180, thus a £10 bet would have returned you £1,800 and a £1 bet would have made you £180.
This is a huge departure from fixed odds betting, where a traditional bookmaker would have set a total for Cook of 60 runs and paid out at around 10/11 on over and on under. Therefore if you bet on him scoring more than 60 runs, you would have only made £9.10 profit from your £10 stake rather than £1,800. It would not have mattered that you beat the bookmaker by a huge margin: you would have been paid out the same if he had scored 65 runs or 300. You can therefore view spread betting as offering a far greater reward for your expertise in cricket than traditional fixed odds betting.
However, you have to be careful. While the profits can be greater, so too can the losses. If Cook had been bowled out for a duck you would have been well below the prediction and your stake would have been multiplied by that difference to calculate the amount you lost. Had you bet on the West Indies scoring more runs than the prediction, you would have been sorely disappointed as they put in a dreadful performance and finished well below the threshold, so you would have lost a considerable sum. One way to mitigate against this sort of thing is to apply for a stop loss account. This will limit your exposure to losses by cutting the bet off at a certain point by applying a pre-determined maximum level, allowing you to enjoy the thrills of spread betting but have more peace of mind regarding potential losses.
But the key point to take home is that spread betting with Sporting Index offers far greater rewards for cricketing expertise and can allow you to turn your passion for the game into serious profit. The industry is enjoying explosive growth and it is worth checking it out for yourself.
Martin Green is an experienced sports writing and gambling industry correspondent.