Spread betting started about 25 years ago and was used as a way to speculate on the financial markets. Bets were placed on how much the stock exchange would go up or down on a certain day. This form of gambling has been adapted for betting on horse racing.
Instead of betting on individual horses winning or losing, it is betting on combinations of events like how the favourites will perform at a meeting, what the starting prices of all the winning horses will be and what the winning distances will be. The spread betting company will make a prediction about a particular event. You need to decide if their prediction is too high or too low. The more you’re right, the more you win and the more you’re wrong, the more you lose. Due to its connection with the financial markets, the terms buying and selling are used. Buying is betting higher and selling is betting lower.
It has a higher level of financial risk than traditional betting. With traditional betting you know beforehand how much you will lose if your bet loses. You simply lose the amount you stake. With spread betting it is possible to have huge losses. To restrict the amount you can lose, it is possible to place a stop order on a bet.
Spread betting on favourites
A spread betting company will give a favourites’ index at each meeting. This index is based on a Score given to favourites that are placed in a race. The scores given can vary but as a general guide a favourite is awarded 25 points for winning, 10 points for coming second, five points for third place and 0 points for finishing in any other position. If there are joint favourites, then the one with the lowest race card number is considered the favourite.
To place a bet, you need to decide whether to bet higher or lower than the predicted score. If, for example, the predicted score is 70 and you think the likely score is higher then you bet high (buy). If you think the predicted score will be lower then you bet low.
The payout is calculated on the basis of how much higher or lower the score is.
If you bet £2 high and the result is 85 then you win 15 times your stake: (85 – 70) X your stake = 10 X £2 = £30.
If you bet low and the result is 80 then you lose 10 times your stake: (80 – 70) X your stake = 10 X £2 = – £20.
Jockey performance index
This is a bet on how a jockey performs in a meeting. A jockey is awarded 25 points for winning a race, 10 points for coming second, five points for coming third and no points for any other position. The spread betting firm will quote an index for each jockey at the meeting. You need to decide if the result will be higher or lower than the predicted index.
At a race meeting a jockey is predicted as having a performance of 32-34 points. You can bet higher than 34 or lower than 32.
Suppose you bet £10 lower. If the jockey’s score is 25, you win £70: (32 – 25) X 10 = £70. If the jockey’s score is 80, you will lose £460: (80 – 34) X 10 = £460.
Starting prices (SPs) of the winners
This is a bet on the total of the starting prices of all the winners at a race meeting. A 4/1 winner is four points, 10/1 is 10 points up to a maximum of 50/1 or 50 points so a 100/1 winner will have 50 points.
The SP prediction may be 55-58. If you predict that the result will be higher, you bet high, if you think it will be lower then you bet low.
This is a bet on the distance between two nominated horses in a race. The maximum makeup on for flat races is 12 lengths and 15 lengths for national hunt. A short head is 0.1 of a length, a head is 0.2 and a neck 0.3, half a length 0.5, three-quarters of a length 0.75.
This is a bet on an individual horse. Bets are placed on whether or not a horse’s index will be higher or lower than the prediction.
The number of points awarded will depend on how many runners are are in a race.
For races with over 12 runners:
50 points for first
30 points for second
20 points for third
10 points for fourth
0 points for any other position
Races with up to 12 runners:
50 points for first
25 points for second
10 points for third
A horse is predicted to get 13-16 points. You bet £1 higher at 16. Maximum win is £34; maximum risk is £16.
The horse finishes sixth so has no points. The difference between the price and the result is 16 – 0 = 16. Loss = £1 x 16 = £16.
Double race card numbers
This is a bet based on the total of the winners’ doubled race card number at a meeting. For example, if the race card number of the winners of a meeting were numbers 2, 5, 11, 7, 3, and 6, this totals 34. The result would be 2 x 34 = 68.
If the prediction had been 75-79 and you had bet £10 low (sell), the difference between the result and the prediction is 75 – 68 = 7. Your wininngs would be £10 X 7 = £70.
Here the performance of the heavyweights is predicted.
Here the total winning margins for a meeting is predicted.