How to enjoy the footy and make some money

Ever wondered how you could profit from your love of the beautiful game? Well, sports betting works a lot like spread betting. Tim Bennett explains how you could score.

Football season has kicked off again in Europe. And that means lots of opportunities for spread betters.

The principles behind most sports bets are the same as financial spread bets in many respects. When you contact a broker (well-known names in this field are and you will be quoted a bid to offer spread (a price at which they are willing to let you buy or sell) and you will need to decide the size of the bet you are prepared to make.

Let's take an example. Say you want to bet on the time the first goal is scored in a game between Arsenal and Liverpool. The quote you are offered is 45-47 minutes. That means your broker currently thinks the first goal will be scored after 46 minutes (the mid price) and the spread istwo minutes. So you buy 47 minutes at £5 per minute (or, to put it another way, your opening stake is £5). You are betting on the first goal being scored later than your broker thinks. Let's now say the first goal is scored after 52 minutes. You win 52-47, at £5 per minute. That's £25.

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However had the first goal been scored after 40 minutes, you would have lost 47-40, at £5 per minute. That's £35, orseven times your opening stake.

The beauty of sports betting is the sheer range of bets available. Here are two more:

1.Shirt number of goal scorers. This is the accumulated total of the shirt numbers of the players who score. So, for example, if the number ten scores twice, that's 20. If your broker has set a buy price of 15, you could makefive times your original stake for an upbet.

2.Goal minutes. Here you are betting on the cumulative total minutes when goals are scored. So say a goal is scored in the 12th and 50th minutes of the first half and the result is 2-0, but your broker quoted a buy price of 65, you could makeseven times your stake (72-65) with an upbet.

Some of these bets take a bit of getting used to so keep bet sizes low initially and take a careful look at your broker's online training tools before diving in.

MoneyWeek Ltd receives commission from for accounts opened.

Tim graduated with a history degree from Cambridge University in 1989 and, after a year of travelling, joined the financial services firm Ernst and Young in 1990, qualifying as a chartered accountant in 1994.

He then moved into financial markets training, designing and running a variety of courses at graduate level and beyond for a range of organisations including the Securities and Investment Institute and UBS. He joined MoneyWeek in 2007.