How to spread bet on the Ashes

There are plenty of ways to spread bet on the Ashes series. Here are just a few.

England cricket fans will have been delighted to watch Alistair Cook belt over 200 runs (not out) in the first Ashes test against Australia. But they won't be alone.

Some cricket spread betters will have been laughing all the way to the bank too. Anyone who placed an up bet on Cook at even £1 per point (one run) will have walked away with a tidy profit from any spread betting site. His second test century wasn't a bad effort either. So now everyone (perhaps not the Australians) is looking forward to the third test. There are plenty of ways to make money and lots of factors to weigh up before placing a bet.

As Nathan Smith at notes, Cook's spread will be raised sharply after these performances. But given these were some of "his best performance for some time" a better might consider going short this time round. Perhaps you fancy under-fire Australian captain Ricky Ponting to come good his first test spread was just 52-56 (roughly his career batting average).

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Away from individual batsmen, many will feel the home side must put on a big performance in the next test to quell a tide of disappointment sweeping Australia. So Australians desperate for a home win and keen to make some money to pay for the beers afterwards may place up bets on the Australian run rate.

England fans sensing blood, on the other hand, might buy the England 'supremacy spread' and reckon on the Australian's putting on another poor batting display. After all, the last few wickets fell pretty fast in the second test and the Aussies have precious little time to ring the changes.

Throw in opportunities to bet on the number of fours and sixes hit, the number of wide balls bowled - and more exotic bets such as the 'ton-up' (the number of runs above 100 scored by any batsman) and the third Ashes test offers lots of opportunity for cricketing spread betters.

One word of warning though to avoid sleepless nights, keep your bet size small, and keep a close eye on how bet spreads are moving before placing a bet. Also, as a novice, find out something about cricket first unless you are really prepared to take a random punt!

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.