Spread betting introduces many new betting options for the informed gambler, but for those new to spread betting, the array of markets can be daunting and unfamiliar. One of the most popular, and innovative, bet types is ‘Shirt Numbers’. This article explains the Shirt Numbers market and more importantly, what to consider in order to maximise profits.

Shirt Numbers Explained

As ever in spread betting, a market which seems a little daunting is actually frighteningly simple. The Shirt Numbers spread market is simply a total created when the shirt numbers of all the goal scorers in a match are added together.

For example, Manchester United might win 1-0 at home. Wayne Rooney gets the goal, wearing his traditional number 10 shirt. The final make-up of the Shirt Numbers market would be 10.

The next week, United hammer Bolton 4-1. Rooney gets a hat-trick, again wearing 10, and Valencia came off the bench to complete the rout, wearing 25. Bolton grab a late consolation through Kevin Davies who wears the number 14.

The Shirt Numbers make-up would then be;
Rooney x 3 (So 10 x 3 = 30) + Valencia 25 + Davies 14
30 + 25 + 14 = 69

So the 4-1 romp would have seen a final ‘make up’ of 69. The final total is made up of all goal scorers, regardless of the team they play for.

Following the same logic, a goalless draw would see a make-up of zero.

Shirt Number Strategy

Successful Shirt numbers betting requires a great deal of discipline and research, regarding both squad numbers and team news. United strikers Rooney and Berbatov wear 10 and 9, and a punter might feel they are coming up against a solid defence, and ‘Sell’ Shirt Numbers with market at 21-24. Suddenly the team news is in and Macheda (27) and Hernandez (14) are partnered up front due to injuries – one strike from Macheda and the bet would already behind.

The advent of large squads and specific squad numbers has meant some strikers wear pretty big numbers and it is always worth bearing these players in mind when betting – both if they are in the team, and if they have been left out. Carlos Tevez wears 32 for example, Gervinho at Arsenal wears 27 and Nicolas Anelka has a squad number of 39 at Chelsea. Wayne Rooney would need to score 4 goals to outstrip a single strike from Anelka.

These high number anomalies exist in most squads, and grow in likelihood as the season goes on, because the starting eleven at clubs tends to evolve through the months. Goal scoring midfielders also need to be monitored, plenty will have shirt numbers in the high 20′s.

Of course the opposite can be true as well. Low shirt numbers and two stubborn defences can prove lucrative with a few shrewd ‘Sells’. Luis Saurez at Liverpool for example, wears 7, so if the Reds face a tough away trip, and Kenny Dalglish goes with one up top, a sell might represent value. Bear in mind the spreads tend to be slightly higher than true value would suggest, because 95% of Spread bets will be ‘Buys’ regardless of the spread – Gamblers are generally optimists, after all.