guide to spread betting on golf

The Basics

Spread betting can initially seem complicated but once understood it adds a fascinating new dimension to your golf betting. With roots in financial markets, spread betting asks you to take an opinion on whether you think a selection will perform better or worse than a spread price, similar to buying or selling a stock price.


Sporting Index's Introduction to Spread Betting


In simple terms, BUY a position and go above the spread, SELL to go below it. See below for an example of the Finishing Position market for the Shell Houston Open.


Sporting Index's Finishing Position market for the 2015 Shell Houston Open

sporting index example golf tournament



A SELL on Jordan Spieth (below the spread price of 23-26) means that if he finishes better than 23rd then you profit, if he finishes worse you lose.  Spieth finished the tournament in a tie for second with Johnson Wagner, which meant a finish position of 2.5*.  A SELL would have meant a make-up of 20.5 (the higher value of the spread price (23) minus the make-up (2.5))  The profit or loss is then the make-up multiplied by the initial stake.

 * dead-heats apply in spread betting, the make-up is the average of the places covered.  So two tied on 2nd is 2.5 ((2 + 3) / 2)


A BUY on Rickie Fowler (above the spread of 35-38) means that if he finishes worse than 38th then you profit, if he finishes better you lose.  Fowler began the tournament well but fell away over the weekend to finish 71st, his make-up was 70 (maximum make-up* on the market was 70) giving a make-up of 32 (70 minus the BUY spread price of 38)

* maximum make-up is the limit you can lose on a market so anybody in this tournament missing the cut would have a make-up of 70.



Spread Betting Markets

Spread betting companies offer a multitude of markets on golf tournaments, here's the main ones.

(i) The leaderboard/winner market rewards high tournament finishes. The leaderboard market assigns values to the top 8 positions; 1st=80, 2nd 40, 3rd=30, 4th=25, 5th=20, 6th=15, 7th=10 and 8th=5 (all other positions are zero)


SpreadEx's Leaderboard market

spread winner spreadex


For example Rory McIlroy would have returned a value of 25.  So given his spread price of 17-20, a BUY would have produced a profit of 5 times the stake (25-20) and a SELL, a loss of 8 (25-17)

The Leaderboard market is the closest to fixed-odds' win and each-way betting as it rewards high finishes (albeit graduated over the positions)  It's also a good market to oppose players close to the head of the market who you don't believe will play well.

(ii) The finishing position market allows you to bet on where a player will finish in a tournament.  For most tournaments the maximum make-up is set at 70, so any position greater than that will be settled at 70 (including missed cuts) - The Masters is an exemption to this due to the smaller than normal field.


SpreadEx's Finish Position market

spread fp spreadex


For example a BUY (to perform worse than the spread of 30-33) on Lee Westwood who finished in a two-way tie for 46th (a value of 46.5) would have produced a profit of 13.5 times the stake (46.5-33)

Finish position bets put much less emphasis on winning and more on performance.  This can mean backing a player (SELL their position) without necessarily believing they will contend or win, which brings into play the whole field and presents a different challenge to predicting a player to win or achieve a high finish.

(iii) Match betting involves the pairing of two players over an individual round or whole tournament.  The market is then settled based on both the result and the shot difference between the two players.  A popular match bet is "10-3" 18 hole matches where the bet is settled on the result (awarded 10pts) and the shot difference (x3)


Sporting Index's 18-hole matchups

18h sporting index spread betting example

For the Henley/Clarke match-up above, their first-round score difference was 6 shots in favour of Henley (68 Henley, 74 Clarke) so the make-up was 28 points (6 shots x 3pts + 10pts for winning)  The spread price was 10-13 which meant a BUY would have produced a profit of 15 units (28-13), a SELL would have meant a loss of 18 units (28-10)  Should Clarke had shot the lower score, the make-up would have been the negative of the make-up (for example if scores had been reversed then the make-up would have been -28)

Match bets are also available for 72 holes of a tournament and can be a great opportunity especially when you find a pairing involving two players that you have contrasting opinions on.


Be aware of potential losses : Always be aware of potential losses as spread betting losses can exceed initial deposits.  Deposit accounts and market stop-losses can mitigate against this but you should always be aware of the risks.  If you feel you have a problem gambling use the resources available from the GAMCARE and Responsible Gambling Trust.


Advantages Of Spread Betting


The righter you are, the more you win : In some ways spread betting gives you a fairer return as the better your prediction, the more you win (although also the wronger you are, the more you lose!)  Spread betting rewards (or penalises) your judgement based on the accuracy of your prediction.


Will it be a good or bad week? : Being able to take a positive or negative opinion on a player (BUY or SELL on the spread) gives you the added dimension of not only being able to predict that a player will perform well but also badly.  If you fancy a player won't play well, spread betting gives you the opportunity to oppose them.


Have an interest through the tournament : Spread betting selections will often give you an active interest through all four days of a tournament.  Back a player at fixed-odds and they may never be in contention but in a Spread Betting market like Finishing Position, if your player makes the cut you'll have an active interest through until Sunday afternoon.


Change your mind during the tournament : As golf tournaments stretch over four days, you have time to change your opinion on a player and either take a profit or a loss.  Spread betting allows you to close-out existing bets, meaning you can take a profit or limit a loss as well as backing new players.


Spread Betting Accounts

Sporting Index are an established name in both sports and financial betting who offer a wide range of markets for the top tournaments.  Join and receive a free £100 credit to start betting with*;


*New clients get £100 (non-withdrawable) to bet with. Keep what you win. Any losses over £100 are your liability. Market restrictions & 7 day time limits apply. Click for full T&Cs. Account opening status subject to suitability checks. Spread betting involves risks. Losses can exceed deposits.


SpreadEx are unique in that they offer both spread betting and fixed odds betting on the top golf tournaments.  Join and receive up to £300 cash-back or a free iPad*;

*Bet on qualifying spread bet markets and get cashback after 28 days matching your stakes, up to £300 max. If you hit £300 you can instead choose an iPad Wi-Fi 32GB 2018 model. 18+ New customers only.

Spread betting risks can exceed initial deposits.  18+ Please gamble responsibly.


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