Spread betting is a term often over-looked by the casual punter. In fact, many bookmakers do the same, choosing not to highlight it on their website or include it in any advertising campaign or betting offers. It goes without saying that betting has links with finance, money is won or lost after all, however, spread betting in-particular, has strong links to the world of finance.
History of Spread Bets
Spread betting first began in the financial sector in the 1970’s, with people working within that sector in London, seeing it as a clever way to invest money.
It was a man named Stuart Wheeler who is credited with introducing the idea to his friends. The 1980’s failed to see much growth in spread betting, mainly due to the lack of technology, information and general understanding of the concept from the public.
However, in the 1990’s this began to change and with the rise of the internet, spread betting was becoming more popular as investors had the information required to use the technique. 
Spread betting within the world of sport did not hit the United Kingdom until the 1980’s, having been used in North America for many years prior to this.
The basic premise of spread betting in sport, was to place a bet on the difference between the scores of two teams, rather than simply bet on which team will win.
For example, the bookmaker will specify a spread of a number of points, such as 6 and the punter is required to place a bet on whether the scores between the two teams will be more or less than this number . Spread betting is just one of the types of betting available for cricket and to be a successful bettor a punter should know when to apply a certain bet type.
Basic Spread Betting Example
Using the spread of 6 points, as mentioned above, you, the gambler can bet on the underdog and will win if the underdog’s score, in addition to the spread, is greater than the favorite’s score. Please see the example below:
The final score is Underdog 8, Favorite 10 and 8 + 6 is greater than 10, so you, the gambler wins
The final score is Underdog 6, Favorite 13 and 6 + 6 is less than 13, so you, the gambler loses
Using the spread of 6 points, as mentioned above, the gambler can bet on the favorite and will win if the favorite’s score, minus the spread, is greater than the underdog’s score. Please see the example below:
The final score is Underdog 5, Favorite 12: 12 – 6 is greater then 5, so you, the gambler wins
The final score is Underdog 8, Favorite 10: 10 – 6 is less than 8, so you, the gambler loses.
The two examples above are very basic and provide an overview of how spread betting works, within the sports industry.
Basic Cricket Spread Betting Examples
The general example above, highlights how simple spread betting can be. The same, basic principles apply, when spread betting on the sport of cricket. In essence, you win or lose your initial stake, multiplied by the difference between your prediction and the actual result. The following example shows an uncomplicated way to start with cricket spread betting.
It’s the first day of a test match between England and Australia at Lords. Alastair Cook comes to the crease and the bookmaker offers a spread of 42 – 48 for how many runs he will make in the innings. Having conducted the necessary research, (link to previous article I wrote) you come to the decision that Cook is not going to trouble the scorers today and therefore you ‘sell’ at 42 for the price of £1 per run.
This means, that if Cook is bowled out for 20 runs, you have just made £22 from your £1 bet. However, if Cook turns the form book on it’s head and proceeds to make 128 before being dismissed, you face a loss of £80.
The same theory can be applied to runs scored by the two teams in a cricket match and this is commonly referred to as a Supremacy or Match bet.
The example above, shows the the margins that cricket spread betting can produce. What seems like a small, £1 bet, can easily turn in to a big pay day or a huge loss and this is always worth keeping in mind, especially when spread betting on cricket.
It is also possible to place a spread bet on the outcome of a cricket tournament, such as the ICC Cricket World Cup. This is commonly known as a Performance or an Index bet. In this instance, using a betting company such as Sporting Index, will enable you to bet on the final outcome, not just for the winner but for all teams in the tournament.
Points are awarded, depending where the team you are betting on finishes in the tournament, ranging from 100 points for the winner, to 0 points for going out at the group stage.
Therefore, looking at the outsiders for the tournament, you see that Scotland are on offer at 0 – 1. You decide, based on your research, that Scotland actually have a chance of progressing from their group and ‘buy’ Scotland for £1. If Scotland make it to the quarter-finals, which is worth 25 points, you make £25. If Scotland go out at the group stages, you lose £1.
A further example and Australia are priced at 54 – 58 and you believe they can go on and win the tournament, therefore you buy Australia for £10 at 58. If Australia win the tournament, you will receive winnings of £420 because 58 deducted from 100 leaves 42 and this is multiplied by your initial stake of £10, to work out your profit. However, if Australia are eliminated in the quarter-finals, worth 25 points, you will lose £290, as 25 deducted from 54 leaves 29 and this is multiplied by your initial stake of £10, to work out your loss.
The two examples above, are great ways to get started with and accustomed to cricket spread betting. Having said that, do be aware of the potential losses that can be made, from what seems like a small bet.
The Importance of the Conditions and Equipment
The conditions, that is the weather and the state of the pitch, should be something every punter takes in to consideration when placing a bet on a cricket match. In terms of spread betting, this information can become even more significant, as can the playing equipment being used.
One famous incident highlights this point perfectly. It came during the 1999 Cricket World Cup, when a betting company produced a spread betting market for the total number of wides to be bowled during the tournament. However, the company in question, failed to take in to consideration the use of the white ball in English bowling conditions and severely under estimated the total number of wides that would be bowled. They predicted between 260-280 wides, when in actual fact there were 979. 
A similar incident occurred when Brian Lara scored 375 runs against England in 1994, when spread betting companies had predicted he would score between 75 and 80 runs over the two innings. 
It is vital to check the weather forecast and if possible, wait for the morning pitch report to come in before deciding what to bet. Furthermore, make a note of the equipment that is being used, if there is a mix of elements, such as a bowling team using a specific type of ball in a country for the first time, this can change the outcome dramatically.
If an unfamiliar set of circumstances arises, do not place a bet for the sake of it, wait until you can make a fully informed decision. On the other hand, if, as in the example above, you notice something that the bookmakers have not, be ready to take advantage of it. Not only will you have a superior chance of succeeding, you will also have more enjoyment from the cricket spread betting experience.
There are many little details that can mean the difference between a Value Bet and a terrible one. But don ´t get discouraged, as long as you follow the sport avidly and use the extra tips mentioned on our strategy guide to cricket to enhance that knowledge easily, you will have no problem in selecting Value Bets.
In-play Cricket Spread Betting
As with other forms of betting, it is possible to spread bet on cricket whilst the action is unfolding. This is great, because firstly, if you were to ‘buy’ England at 320 – 340 runs prior to the match and they were on 60/5 at lunch, you can limit your loss by closing your bet early. It is vital to keep up with how the play is developing, especially if trying to minimize a loss.
The majority of Test Match cricket spread betting markets run, in-play, for the entirety of a match and some can also run for a whole series. These markets include Total Player Runs, Total Team Runs, Session Runs, First Wicket Runs and Series Performance Index. Due to the fact these markets run throughout a match or series, it is possible to close your bet on them early, if it is to your benefit.
The following, is a great example of a time when you would choose to close your bet early.
Australia are playing England in a test match and Australia runs are quoted at 300 – 315. Having done your research, you buy at £1.
As the match develops, Australia are 180/2 and their new spread betting price is quoted at 380 – 395.
At this stage, you can perform what is known as a ‘sell to close’ bet. So, by selling to close for £1 at 380 runs, you have a set profit with the difference between two bets, which comes out at £65 (380 minus 315 leaves 65).
The guide and examples above, provide a good basis for which to start your cricket spread betting adventure. When doing so, please keep the following points in mind at all times because you will be pleased that you did in the long term.
- Always bet within your means and work out the worst case scenario for each spread bet you place.
- Make sure you have a good understanding of the cricket spread betting market you are using
- Check the wide range of statistics that are available prior to the match
- Check the weather and pitch conditions, as well as the equipment being used prior to the match
- Learn how to close your bet and take the profit that is available
References and Sources:
1. financial-spread-betting.com.com, History of Spread Betting, 2005
2. wikipedia.org, Spread Betting Wiki, 2015
3. standard.co.uk, Spread Betting Tips, 2010
4. news.bbc.co.uk, 1999 Cricket World Cup, 1999