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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.

Guides 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 on Sporting Index.

Finishing Position spread betting market

Spread betting finishing position market

A SELL on Rasmus Hojgaard (below the spread price of 25-28) means that if he finishes better than 25th then you profit, if he finishes worse you lose - capped at 70 which for a full-field would generally mean any position if the player missed the cut.


A BUY on Yannik Paul (above the spread of 29-32) means that if he finishes higher than 32 then you profit, if he finishes lower you lose.


New customers only. Applies to selected spread betting markets up to £300 - pre-event. Bets must have a minimum spread of 2 at the point of placement Spread betting losses can exceed deposit. 18+  Full T&Cs apply.

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 by assigning a point value to a finishing position.

Spread Betting Leaderboard market

Sporting Index Leaderboard market

In the example positions are assigned the following points: 1st (80), 2nd (40), 3rd (30), 4th (25), 5th (20), 6th (15), 7th (10) & 8th (5)  A SELL on player means you are backing them to play well and finish in a high position, A BUY is backing them to play poorly and finish in a low position.

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), although a "no max" may be applied to some tournaments such as the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am (below)


New customers only. Applies to selected spread betting markets up to £300 - pre-event. Bets must have a minimum spread of 2 at the point of placement Spread betting losses can exceed deposit. 18+  Full T&Cs apply.

AT&T Pro-Am Finishing Position market

Spread betting finish position market

For example a BUY on Scottie Scheffler (16-19) would be a bet on him finishing worse than 19 and a SELL would be a bet on his finishing better than 16.

* ties in spread betting is the average position across those players in a tie (ie tied 62nd with 3 players gives a value of 63; (62+63+64)/3)

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)

Round 1 Match Betting market

Spread betting golf match betting market

For the Louis Oosthuizen / Billy Horschel match-up above, their first-round score difference was 4 shots in favour of Horschel (72 Oosthuizen, 68 Horschel) so the make-up was -22 points (4 shots x 3pts + 10pts for winning, a positive value on the first player, negative on the second)  The spread price was 0-3 which meant a BUY would have produced a loss of 25 units (-22-3), a SELL would have meant a profit of 22 units (22-0)  Should Ooosthuizen 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 BeGambleAware.

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.

Disadvantages Of Spread Betting


The wronger you are, the more you lose! : The flipside of one of the advantages of spread betting, that you win more the more right you are, is always something to be wary of.  Despite caps on losses, your main consideration when placing a spread bet should be how much could I lose.


Competition improves prices : With fixed odds betting there are at least a dozen bookmakers in the UK market which has the effect of improving prices as they are competing with each other for customers.  However in spread betting, there are only two sites (SpreadEx and Sporting Index), this has a negative effect on the competitiveness of the spreads they offer.

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