Spread Betting Markets Guide

Total Goals

Market Overview

The total goals bet is an extremely popular market in spread betting. It allows a position to be taken on whether a game will be low scoring or high scoring. The market is not reliant on the performance of just one team in the match and can offer an entertaining betting experience.

As an example the market for total goals in an Everton Vs Sunderland Premier League match has an opening price of 2.55 to “sell” and 2.75 to “buy” as shown in image 1. The actual market price is 2.65 (i.e. bookmakers expect an average Everton Vs Sunderland game to have 2.65 goals) with the prices to buy and sell offered at 0.1 from this.

Total Goals Market at an Opening Price of 2.55-2.75 – Everton Vs Sunderland

Prices may move in the build up to games, as they do with fixed odds betting. If the price in the Everton Vs Sunderland game moved to 2.65 – 2.85 this would reflect the fact more money had been staked to buy, with bookmakers wanting to level their liability by encouraging people to sell by offering a higher and more appealing price to sell of 2.65 (instead of 2.55). As with fixed odds betting the price taken at the time of the bet stands and is not affected by price movements after this. The term opening price is specific to the time the individual customer places the bet with the profit or loss on the bet calculated from this.


If you believe there will be more than 2.75 goals (in reality more than 2 as you can never have 2.75 goals) you would “buy” for let’s suppose £10 a goal, at odds of 2.75 (As shown in Image 2). For each goal scored over 2.75 goals you will profit according to your stake per unit. If there are 3 goals in the match your profit would be £2.50 (£1 x 0.25 goals), if there are 4 goals in the match your profit would be £12.25 (£10 x 1.25 goals) and so on. However if there is just 1 goal in the match your loss would be £17.50 (£10 x 1.75 goals). Another way to look at the buy market is that at the price of 2.75 the total loss on a £10 stake is £27.50 if the game ends goalless. At the start this is the total liability that is held by the bookmaker and every time there is a goal £10 is paid back, the number of goals determines whether the breakeven point is passed (at 2.75 goals) and profit is returned, or a loss is incurred.

Buy Total Goals at £10 per Goal at 2.75 – Everton Vs Sunderland


Conversely if you were to take the view that there will be less than 2.55 goals (again in reality less than 3 goals as you cannot have 2.55 goals) you would “sell” for again let’s suppose £10 a goal, at odds of 2.55 (as in Image 3). For each goal scored under 2.55 goals you will profit according to your stake per unit. If there is 1 goal in the match your profit would be £15.50 (£10 x 1.55 goals). However if there are 4 goals in the match you would incur a loss of £14.50 (£10 x 1.45 goals) and so on.

Sell Total Goals at £10 per Goal at 2.55 – Everton Vs Sunderland

Image 4 shows an example of the potential payoffs from a total goals spread bet, demonstrating the range of payoffs depending on the number of goals in a game. As shown someone selling goals in a game with 2 goals would win £5.55 from a £10 stake, whereas someone buying goals in a game with 5 goals would win £22.25 from a £10 stake. This reflects that with a price of 2.55 to 2.75 buying goals when there are 5 goals is a better call than selling goals when there are 2 goals therefore the profit is far greater. Similarly if buying goals when there are 2 goals there would be less loss than if selling goals when there are 5 goals, as the later is an inferior call.

The Range of Payouts when Buying and Selling in the Total Goals Market – Everton Vs Sunderland

Stop Loss

In the goals market a stop loss account will limit profit or loss at 5 goals from the market price, to protect anyone from incurring a large liability on an unusual result. In this case buyers would win (and sellers would lose) up to 7.75 goals. If there was a 9th and 10th goal these would not count towards any more winnings/losses. As there cannot be less than zero goals, the stop loss for -2.45 goals does not come into play. The potential profit from buying exceeds the potential loss from selling in the total goals market, unless the opening price is above 5 goals (which is very rare).

Image 5 shows the stop loss capping the maximum win, if buying total goals in an Arsenal Vs Tottenham Premier League match. With a £10 stake per goal this means the maximum win of £50 would happen at 5 goals above from the opening price to buy of 3.4 goals (i.e at 8.4 goals). If buying the maximum loss would be £34 which would happen at zero, 3.4 goals below the opening price.

Total Goals Market - Maximum Win and Loss when buying total Goals - Arsenal Vs Tottenham

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Francois is one of Howtobet4free’s co-founders and has written many of Howtobet4free’s popular Betting Guides. Francois also helps run the @howtobet4free_ Twitter account

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