Trading spreads is one of my favorite things to do. Risk of loss is very low. As long as you choose the right positions between contracts. Especially when seasonals apply.
So what is your favorite?
I dont trade the spreads but would surely value your and other's opinion on this question.
is it any easier to pick the right pair to spread compared to the right direction to trade outright futures?
Yes,the risk of loss seems less mostly because the "rate" of loss is slower. And so is the rate of profit.
Dunno-is my perception of this too simplified?
Spreads became my "drug of choice" when I was actively trading. Less risk and lots of defense available.. But, I don't do much anymore. When the set up is right, I'll do a crack spread which, IMO, is the closest thing to a guarantee there is n this business.
You would be correct in the fact that spreads are usually slow to profit. A lot of that depends on how far out you set it up. The other factor is choice of contracts and the point difference. I usually set up for contracting spreads.
For instance, one of my current spread positions is: Lemail@example.com/Sfirstname.lastname@example.org. I expect that by the time the May contract comes to the front, that the two will be within 30pts of each other. You can do the math.