The Open is one of the most important events in the golfing calendar, stretching right back to 1860. The tournament is held annually at different venues and this year marks its 14th time at Royal St. George’s, some 117 years since it was first hosted there. Although a somewhat genteel sport, golf is particularly well-suited to spread betting.
Spread betting was invented in the 1940s by mathematician-turned-bookmaker Charles K McNeil in Chicago; however it didn’t start to gain popularity in Britain until the 1980s. Since earning a favourable reputation, there are now almost a million spread betting UK participants. Although gambling in its various forms is common, especially on sporting events, spread betting is rather unique and is especially different from fixed odds gambling.
The differences are rather stark: in fixed odds gambling you place a bet and if you win, you gain your bet multiplied by the odds, so odds of 10/1 with a £10 bet would result in £100 winnings. If you lose, you only lose the money you put down. This makes it a safe form of gambling in that you cannot lose more than you are prepared to bet. In spread betting, though, you can win, or lose, a bit more. Spread betting is predicated on the accuracy of a bet; the spread will give a particular number and the loss or win will be determined by the eventual outcome's proximity to that spread.
If, for example, the bookmaker puts the spread of there being 11 tries in a rugby match, the gambler may think there will be more. The gambler will buy points at a fixed fee, which for this argument will be £20. If there are actually 15 tries then the outcome is four over the spread, so the gambler will win £20 multiplied by four, and so will have £80 in winnings. Conversely, if there are only seven tries, which is four under the spread, then the gambler will lose £80, which means he will have lost more than the bet. While some may deem it unfair to lose more than the value of a bet, the very principle of spread betting is that the returns and losses can far exceed the bet, and that is what draws people to it. The danger, however, is that people may see the potential for higher returns without evaluating the increased risk, so it is especially important to gamble responsibly with spread betting. If you want to learn more about spread betting before having a flutter, it would be best to have sports spread betting explained to you in detail before putting any money down.
There are many ways spread betting can be applied to golf. For example, the most obvious would be selecting a player and the bookmaker putting a spread on how many shots it will take them to sink the ball. The gambler can then place a bet on how many shots either side of the spread he thinks it will take. There can also be bets on the duration of time spent on any given hole or, for a strong favourite, how many holes he will hit under par.
Due to the fact that golf is different to football in that football has a fixed duration of 90 minutes and golf continues until each hole has been played, more types of bets can be placed throughout the tournament’s duration. Betting on a particular person also leads to another point: whereas fixed-odds betting makes it unfavourable to bet on the underdog, spread betting opens the doors to making money even if the person does not win. For instance, there can be spreads on how many strokes a player will be from the winner, which is a punt simply unavailable with other forms of gambling. This allows for more interesting and daring bets.
If you like a flutter but find fixed-odds too restrictive in terms of the bets open to you, spread betting may be just what you are looking for.