Psychology of Spread Betting

Spread Betting Psychology

The shrewdies sell and the mugs buy. That's the rule of thumb anyway, and while it may not be as true now given that spread punters have evolved and become more canny in the main, it is still largely the case that the successful punter will sell more often than he buys.

This is almost certainly due to two things.

Firstly, many spread punters trade sentimentally, backing what they hope will happen rather than what they think will happen. Take shirt numbers. The quote is 40-43. Do you really want to sell and have to sit through a match you want to watch hoping attacks break down on the halfway line, players go down injured and the referee fails to allocate sufficient injury-time and shots soar into row Z rather than bursting the back of the net?

Secondly, many spread punters are scared of an unlimited downside. If you sell the shirts at 40 you know the most you can win is 40 points. You also know you could, however implausible the threat, lose 250 points. For the cold, calculating spread punter, this is not a risk he cares remotely about because he knows that statistically it is virtually impossible that he will suffer this fate.

For the less dispassionate spread punter, the danger plays on his mind. The last thing he wants is to sell at 40 and spend the last hour of the match in a state of panic following early goals from number 25 and number 15.

This is why, spreads are frequently pitched artificially high.

Nothing illustrated this better than when Sporting Index issued the first ever corners spread. They did not have stats to hand and came up with a feel price of 23-26, more than double what the average corners quote is now. And guess what. They saw far more buyers than sellers.