1. Option Spreads: Introduction
  2. Option Spreads: Selling And Buying To Form A Spread
  3. Option Spreads: Vertical Spreads
  4. Option Spreads: Debit Spreads Structure
  5. Option Spreads: Credit Spreads Structure
  6. Option Spreads: Horizontal Spreads
  7. Option Spreads: Diagonal Spreads
  8. Option Spreads: Tips And Things To Consider
  9. Options Spreads: Conclusion


By John Summa, CTA, PhD, Founder of OptionsNerd.com

Too often, new traders jump into the options game with little or no understanding of how options spreads can provide a better strategy design. With a little bit of effort, however, traders can learn how to take advantage of the flexibility and full power of options as a trading vehicle. With this in mind, we've put together the following options spread tutorial, which we hope will shorten the learning curve.

The majority of options traded on U.S. exchanges take the form of what are known as outrights (i.e. the purchase or sale of an option on its own). On the other hand, what the industry terms "complex trades" comprise just a small share of the total volume of trades. It is in this category that we find the "complex" trade known as an option spread.

Using an option spread involves combining two different option strikes as part of a limited risk strategy. While the basic idea is simple, the implications of certain spread constructions can get a bit more complicated.

This tutorial is designed to help you better understand option spreads, their risk profiles and conditions for best use. While the general concept of a spread is rather simple, the devil, as they say, is always in the details. This tutorial will teach you what option spreads are and when they should be used. You'll also learn how to assess the potential risk (measured in the form of the "Greeks" - Delta, Theta, Vega) involved with the different types of spreads used, depending on whether you are bearish, bullish or neutral.

So, before you jump into a trade you think you have figured out, read on to learn how a spread might better fit the situation and your market outlook. If you need a refresher course on the basics of options and option terminology before you delve any deeper, we suggest you check out our Options Basics tutorial.


Option Spreads: Selling And Buying To Form A Spread
Related Articles
  1. Trading

    Debit Spreads: A Portfolio Loss Protection Plan

    There are ways to control risks, reduce losses and increase the likelihood of success in your portfolio. Find out how spreads can help.
  2. Trading

    S&P 500 Options On Futures: Profiting From Time-Value Decay

    Writing bull put credit spreads are not only limited in risk, but can profit from a wider range of market directions.
  3. Trading

    Trading Calendar Spreads In Grain Markets

    Futures investors flock to spreads because they hold true to fundamental market factors.
  4. Trading

    Vertical Bull and Bear Credit Spreads

    This trading strategy is an excellent limited-risk strategy that can be used with equity as well as commodity and futures options.
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What's the Best Way to Contact Warren Buffett?

    Learn how to contact Warren Buffett and what kinds of contact is most likely to receive a response from him or from his company, ...
  2. What is the Financial Services Sector?

    A diverse group of companies, beyond banks and credit unions, comprises the financial services sector.
  3. Who are Whole Foods' (WFM) main competitors?

    Whole Foods' main competitors are Sprouts Farmers Markets and Trader Joe's. However, the recent acquisition by Amazon my ...
  4. What caused the Stock Market Crash of 1929 that preceded the Great Depression?

    Find out what led to the stock market crash of 1929, which in turn led to the Great Depression. It sparked a nearly 90% loss ...
Trading Center