How to enjoy cricket and make money

The current betting scandal engulfing international cricket shouldn't put you off as a spread better. Here, Tim Bennett explains how to put legitimate spread bets on cricket.

Cricket has been back in the headlines again but for all the wrong reasons. No sooner had the last Test match finished than some members of the Pakistan team were accused of involvement in a betting scam.

Suddenly, Mohammed Amir was back at centre stage but this time not for the quality, or otherwise, of his bowling. Or at least not the way he would like. Everyone, from fans to the MCC, has been debating whether he deliberately, or accidentally, bowled a series of 'no balls'.

Sadly, cricket has been the victim of various betting scams over the years indeed centuries but that shouldn't put you off as a spread better. These days you can place bets on just about every type of international match plus many of the county games.

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There are several ways to bet on the outcome of, say, a single game, but perhaps the most obvious is based on the total number of runs scored.

So, for example: England might be quoted at 300-330 for an individual Test match. If you think the team will easily hit more than 330 runs you could place an up bet ('buy the spread') at 330 runs for, say, £10 per point (a point being a run). If England eventually bat their way to 350 runs, you make 20 runs (350-330) at £10 each, or £200. The downside is that should England score just 305 runs, you will owe your broker 25 runs (330-305) at £10 each, or £250.

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But the options don't end there. You could also bet on the highest team score; the number of runs you expect an individual player to score; the number of wickets you think a particular bowler will take; or even the number of fours and sixes that will be hit.

You could even use spread betting to hedge your emotions. By betting on the opposition to do well, you have it both ways: if your team wins, you lose a bit of money, but get to celebrate; and if the opposition wins, keep quiet and pocket a profit!

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.