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Spread betting allows you to wager on the price movement of an underlying asset without owning the asset itself. You are essentially betting on whether the price will rise or fall. 

This type of trading carries high risk, so educating yourself and having a plan in place before getting started is critical. Learn key concepts and proven strategies on how to spread bets successfully in this handy guide.


1. Choose the right markets to spread bets on

One of the keys to spread betting success is choosing the right markets to trade. The best markets for spread betting have these characteristics:

Liquidity: You’ll want a market with high trading volume and tight spreads, so entering and exiting positions is easy. Major stock indices, forex pairs, and commodities have good liquidity.

Volatility: Higher volatility provides more opportunity for spreads to widen and profits to be made. Markets like energies, cryptocurrencies, and small-cap stocks tend to see bigger price swings.

Trading hours: Consider how long the market is open each day and whether it matches well with your availability. Stock indices that cover major global exchanges can offer long trading hours.

Transparency: Opt for regulated markets where you can be confident in the pricing and execution quality. This tends to favour major exchanges over over-the-counter (OTC) assets.

Technical factors: Some markets exhibit reliable chart patterns, support/resistance levels, and trends that can inform spread trades. Forex pairs like EUR/USD are popular for technical trading.

It’s wise for beginners to stick with major stock market indices like the S&P 500, FTSE 100, and DAX 30. These have stable trading patterns that are easier to analyse. Commodity markets like gold, oil, and natural gas tend to trend well.

Forex pairs like EUR/USD and GBP/USD are good first markets, too. Prices tend to move smoothly on major currency crosses. Just be mindful of announcements that cause volatility, like interest rate decisions and employment reports.

Avoid penny stocks, smaller cap stocks, and obscure markets when you first start spread betting. The price movements are erratic and more challenging to predict. It’s better to master the major markets first. As you gain experience, you can gradually move into more advanced markets

Choose markets you understand well and strongly believe in the future price direction. Don’t spread bets randomly on markets you do not know of. Do your research and stick with what you know best when first learning how to spread bet successfully.

Consider giving this a look: Crypto Trading: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide


2. Use stop losses to manage your risk

Hand pull out a wooden block to prevent and stop falling domino.


Managing risk with stop losses is necessary to become a successful spread bettor. Stop losses automatically close out your position if the price moves against you by a pre-set amount. Determining where to place stops is both an art and a science. Here are some guidelines on using stop losses effectively:

  • Decide the maximum loss you’re willing to take on a trade. Never let a losing position run unrestricted.
  • Place your initial stop below recent support levels or moving averages for long positions.
  • For short trades, set stops above resistance. Use chart patterns to determine logical stop areas.
  • Start with wider stops further from your entry price, then trail to tighter stops as the trade moves favourably.
  • Consider using a trailing stop loss to lock in profits as the price moves in your direction. Trailing stops follow the price a set distance.
  • Adjust stop distance based on market volatility. Widen stops in volatile markets and narrows in quiet markets.

It takes practice to fine-tune your stop-loss strategy. Don’t overwhelm yourself at first. Focus on limiting the downside on each trade and trailing stops to protect any gains. Stop losses is essential for long-term spread betting success and keeping losses controlled.

If you want to try using a stop loss but are afraid to use real funds on your account, you can use a demo account. A demo trading account allows you to simulate actual trading conditions without risking your capital. With a demo account, you can practice using your broker’s platform, test trading strategies, gain experience analysing markets, and develop your skills as a trader. While not a full substitute for live trading, opening a demo account is a wise first step for beginners to build competency and confidence before going live.

Give this article a read for more details: How To Open A Free Demo Account


3. Develop strong trading habits

While knowledge and analytical skills are important, you also need proper trading habits and psychology to master how to spread bets successfully. Some habits of skilled spread betters include:

Patience – Don’t overtrade or chase the market irrationally. Wait for high-conviction opportunities.

Discipline – Stick to your trading plan and rules. Don’t get reckless or abandon your strategy.

Self-control – Don’t let emotions like greed and fear dictate your actions. Think rationally and be dependent on factual information. 

Acceptance – Don’t fight the market or cling to losing positions too long. Accept when you are wrong.

Continual learning – Review both your winning and losing trades. Keep improving your skills by adopting new trading concepts and methodologies. 

It’s easy to understand these habits, but harder to implement them consistently. Work on developing one habit at a time until it becomes ingrained. Keep a trading journal to stay accountable to your goals.

With the right mindset and habits, you can avoid mistakes like overtrading and not cutting losses quickly. Your mental game is as important as your trading strategy when learning to spread bets successfully.

This article may pique your interest: 5 Common Trading Mistakes To Avoid


4. Use prudent leverage and position sizing

Spread betting allows you to trade on margin, meaning you can put up just a percentage of the full value of your trade. This leverage amplifies both profits and losses. Use leverage conservatively, as higher leverage equals higher risk.

As a beginner, aim to use at most 10:1 leverage until you gain experience. Avoid the tendency to overtrade just because leverage allows you to control more money. In addition to prudent leverage, you need to size your positions appropriately for your account size. As a general guideline, risk is only 1-5% of total capital per trade. This ensures one losing trade won’t cripple your account.

Position size, along with stop losses, is vital for managing risk. It also helps neutralise the emotions surrounding any single trade, knowing the outcome won’t make or break you. 

Calculate the position size needed to risk a set percentage of your account on each transaction. Many spread betting platforms have built-in calculators to help with this. Get in the habit of determining position size before placing any trade.


5. Develop and backtest a trading strategy

Based on a proper trading strategy, the most successful spread betters have an edge in the markets. Establish your trades on signals from technical analysis indicators or a systematic approach - never trade randomly.

Some examples include trend following, breakout strategies, reversals, chart patterns, or algorithmic models. There are many proven strategies. Find one that fits your style and backtest it thoroughly.

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Backtesting involves using historical data to simulate how a strategy would have performed. This helps evaluate the viability and fine-tune the rules before risking real capital. Ideally, trade a strategy through various market environments to see how it holds up. Keep optimising until you see positive results. An edge with a backtested process is key for long-term spread betting profits.

You might also like to read: Day Trading For Beginners


To recap briefly

Spread betting provides a thrilling way to profit from your market views. However, like any leveraged trading, it carries substantial risk if not approached prudently. The key is managing risk above all else.

Use stop losses, moderate leverage, and proper position sizing to define and limit risk on every trade. Choose markets you understand and trade smaller to start. Develop sound trading habits with patience and discipline.

With education, proper risk management, and experience, you can become a successful spread better over time. It’s a challenging but rewarding endeavour. Spread betting is not suitable for all investors and traders, so consider your risk tolerance. But with the right mindset and strategies, you can consistently make a profit.


Learn more from about spread betting 

Spread betting is available on our trading platform based in the United Kingdom. We also offer a contract for difference (CFD) trading option. You may be wondering about the difference between spread bets and CFD contracts. Spread bets have fixed expiration dates when placed, and CFD contracts have none.

You can enjoy customising the platform on to fit your individual trading needs. From easy-to-use demo accounts for beginners to advanced MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 platforms for seasoned traders, we provide the resources you need at every step to enhance your trading expertise and self-assurance. 

Begin your financial journey today by creating an account and gaining immediate access to our services. Trade like an expert with our cutting-edge platform!


When considering “CFDs and Spread Betting” for trading and price predictions, remember that trading CFDs and Spread Betting involves significant risk and could result in capital loss. Past performance is not indicative of any future results. This information is provided for informative purposes only and should not be considered investment advice.”

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