Intermediate Option Strategies: Spreads and More

Intermediate Option Strategies: Spreads and More

Welcome back, dear reader! If you've been following along with our series on options trading, you've already dipped your toes into the basics. We've covered the fundamentals in our Understanding Options Trading: A Beginner Guide and explored the differences between Call Options vs. Put Options. Now, it's time to wade a little deeper into the pool and introduce you to some intermediate strategies. Today, we're talking about spreads and straddles.

Understanding Spreads

In the world of options trading, a spread is a strategy that involves buying and selling multiple options of the same underlying security but with different strike prices or expiration dates. It's a bit like ordering a sandwich - you're not just getting bread (the underlying security), you're also choosing your fillings (the different options). For a more detailed explanation, you might want to check out Investopedia's article on Option Spreads.

Types of Spreads

There are several types of spreads you can use in options trading, each with its own flavor. Let's break them down:

  • Vertical Spreads: These involve buying and selling options of the same type (call or put) with the same expiration date but different strike prices. It's like choosing between a ham or turkey sandwich - both are sandwiches, but the fillings are different.

  • Horizontal Spreads: Also known as calendar spreads, these involve options of the same type and strike price but with different expiration dates. It's like choosing between a fresh sandwich and one that's been sitting in the fridge for a week.

  • Diagonal Spreads: These are a combination of vertical and horizontal spreads, involving options of the same type but with different strike prices and expiration dates. It's like choosing a sandwich with multiple fillings and deciding how long you want to savor it.

For more information on these and other options structures, check out our Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Options Structures.


A straddle is another intermediate strategy that involves buying or selling a call and a put option of the same underlying security, strike price, and expiration date. It's a bit like ordering a sandwich with every filling available - you're covering all your bases. For a more in-depth explanation, take a look at Investopedia's article on Straddle Strategy.

When to Use These Strategies

Choosing when to use these strategies depends on various factors, including market conditions and your risk tolerance. For instance, you might use a spread strategy when you expect the price of the underlying security to move significantly, but you're not sure in which direction. On the other hand, a straddle might be a good choice when you expect the price to stay relatively stable. For more insights on why you might choose to trade options, have a look at our article on Why Trade Options?.

In conclusion, understanding these intermediate strategies is crucial for successful options trading. They offer more flexibility and can help manage risk, but they also require a deeper understanding of how options work. So keep learning, keep experimenting, and remember - the world of options trading is as varied and exciting as a well-stocked sandwich shop.