Handicap Betting

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Sports betting continues to evolve with new trends every now and then. With different sportsbooks trying to outdo each other, more betting types keep springing up every day. As a result, the average bettor out there is now spoilt with more than enough choices to pick from. One of those options that has to be popular across the globe is handicap betting. In this guide, we will be looking at handicap betting in detail, whilst exposing you to all you need to know about this unique betting type.

What is Handicap Betting?

Handicap betting is a betting option provided by sportsbooks that helps balance the competition between two teams that are of different forms and strengths. This option is usually provided for a match between a team that’s a strong favorite and another that’s the underdog. With handicap, bettors are allowed to wager on the underdog by giving them some points ahead to even out the playing field between both teams.

Different Handicap Betting Markets

Different handicap betting markets are made available by bookmakers. In this guide, we will be looking at some of them.

Handicap League Betting

The same way you can bet on which team wins a league, that same way you can carry handicap options for teams to win a particular league. The favorite is usually given a zero advantage while the presumed underdogs are given some points to give them an advantage over winning the league. The team’s handicap is set based on the possibility of them winning the league.

For example, let’s say you want to play Handicap League Betting for a league like the English Premier League, you will find an underdog like Sheffield United being given something like +50 odds while a team like Leicester being given something like +10 odds.

The odds show that they have been given some points advantage and to win the bet, the team has to make sure that they come up tops after the league ends, with their handicap advantage added to it. So what that means is that if the ideal winner of the league finishes with say, 99 points, Sheffield United will need to finish with at least 53 points for the bet to win.

If you follow the Premier League closely, you will see how hard it is for Sheffield to win the league even with the Handicap advantage. This gives perspective as to why the odds for these things could be relatively high in the first place.

This type of handicap betting is not for everyone. It is for risk takers that have a high degree of patience to wait for the outcome to be finalized. Not many people can do this. It explains why the option is rarely played by a lot of bettors despite how enticing the odds could be.

One last thing to note is that, as it is common with football season bets, the odds for this handicap league betting are set even before the league starts and experiences fluctuations as the league progresses. It is advisable to allow the league to take its course for a moment and understand the form of the underdog before wagering.

Asian Handicap Betting

This handicap betting market is reminiscent of its origin, Asia. It became so popular amongst Asian sportsbooks that European sportsbooks began to adapt to the market in their catalog. Over time, it has gained a large reception amongst bettors. However, there are still a lot of bettors that don’t look at the Asian Handicap Betting market because they simply do not understand it. Here, we will try to break it down as simply as we possibly can.

Asian Handicap betting is like other forms of handicap betting where a team is given some points advantage to level the playing ground. The only difference is that they don’t provide odds for when the outcome ends in a draw despite the handicap. With Asian Handicap Betting, when the outcome ends in a draw, that is after factoring in the handicap, the bet is termed void.

Different forms of Asian Handicap Betting that exists:

Level Asian Handicap Betting

In this case, the two teams playing are of equal strengths so the bookie doesn’t provide any Asian handicap advantage for any team. So whatever the match ends, the outcome is figured out and the payout is calculated. If the match however ends in a draw, the bettor gets his stake back.

Single Asian Handicap Betting

In this case, there is a known favorite and an underdog. As such, the favorite will mostly get handicapped to foster a level playing field between both teams playing. You will find the favorite starting with something like -0.5, -1, -1.5 goals, etc.

So let’s assume team A and team B are playing and the team A is the favorite. team A will be handicapped and given odds like -0.5, -1, -1.5, -2…If you wager on team A -1.5, this implies that team A needs to win with two goals difference for the bet to be valid. If team A wins 1:0, then the match will be surmised to end in Draw and the bet will be rendered void; hence, your stake will be returned to you.

Split Asian Handicap

This is a rather interesting handicap option and is found exciting by bettors who like to cushion their bets to give them some level of assurance of winning. As the name implies, the option allows the bettor to divide their stake on a team over two handicap options. There are different split handicap markets, an example is (-1, -1.5). For example, let’s say you are betting on team A which seems to be the favorite, and you are handicapping it at (-1, 1.5). In this case as already highlighted, your stake will be split between those two handicap options. To win the full stake, team A needs to win by a two-goal margin. If team A wins by a one-goal margin, that means the only successful bet there is the -1, hence the returns for the -1.5 will not be paid out.

No Draw Handicap Match Betting

This is another exciting handicap market that’s not so different from the regular handicap markets. The only particular difference about this market is the fact that it is designed to make sure there is one sure winner of the game regardless of the outcome of the game. In the handicap options discussed above, we have noted a case where a handicap might result in to draw and resulting in the bettor not getting his return. With this type of handicap, that is eliminated. There must be a clear winner and a loser of the game, no draw.

How are Handicap Bets Presented?

Home Team (-2)

Handicap Tie (-1)

Away Team (+2)

Handicap bet example

Most handicap markets on individual matches are represented as is illustrated above, the only exceptions being Asian Handicap betting, where the odds are represented in decimals and there is no provision for Handicap Tie.

So let’s assume this game ended at 1-0. If you placed a bet on Team A, that implies that you have lost your bet, because there’s a 1 goal deficit.

If on the other hand your bet was placed on Handicap Tie, your bet wins as the match practically ends in a draw, considering the handicap.

Lastly, if you placed your bet on the Away Team, what this implies is that your bet has won. Since the final score-line considering the handicap would be 1-2.

What is the Difference between Handicap and Spread Betting?

It is common for bettors to assume that Handicap is the same as Spread Betting, and the reason is not far-fetched. Both options are practically the same options called different names. Because at the end of the day, both options involve creating a level playing field for both teams playing.

Tips & Strategy Advice

  • Know the form of the teams playing

This is like the first principle to apply for anyone who wants to stake on handicap markets. You know that the handicap option depends greatly on one side having a better form than the other. So you need to do due diligence by checking the form of the team you are giving a handicap to make sure that you are betting right.

  • Lookout for injuries

Something as basic as the key players of the team you staked on having injured players could affect the overall performance of the team and generally, the outcome of the match. This means that you are in a better position just playing your game feel hours to the match starting because that’s when the lineup will be released. With the lineup released, you will ascertain better if it is smart to stake on that team or not.

  • Bet Handicap on Live Betting

This is probably the safest way to bet handicaps, especially after Half time. This is because after Half time, you could tell the possible outcome of the match at full-time. Asides backing the underdogs, you could also back the favorites to do a comeback as well and those odds could be exciting. For instance, if Schalke manage to race to a 2-0 lead against Bayern Munich in the first half. You can bet on the reigning Bundesliga champions to clinch a come-back in the second half.

  • Back strong favorites -1.5

While you are sure that the favorites more likely to win, backing the strong favorites anything below -1.5 could feel as though a waste of time, except you are taking very high. It is more rewarding when you explore higher handicap options for a strong favorite, especially when you are sure of their form and that their scoring records are commensurate to the option you backed.


Is there any difference between handicap betting and Asian Handicap betting?

There are just two major differences, the Asian Handicap originated from Asia and is a Handicap market that doesn’t accommodate Tie, while the handicap football betting has a vision that allows bettors to wager Tie.

Is handicap betting legal?

This question is a valid question considering not all betting markets are popularly allowed in most countries. Some countries place restrictions on some markets because of the controversies surrounding them. The handicap market is not like that. The market is one that’s approved to be played across different sportsbooks on different continents.

Do exchanges offer handicap bets?

Yes. Handicap bets are not only available on Sportsbooks. You also stand a better chance at making better returns on your investment when you play handicap at exchanges. The reason is basically that exchanges tend to offer way better odds than what is attainable in sportsbooks. Also, it would suffice to add that bettors get more control over the prices and markets available than they could get on sportsbooks.

Is football the only sport that offers handicap betting?

Contrary to what some people may assume, handicap betting is not only specific to football. Though, the option is not available for online sports. Some other sports that you can find handicap bets are American Football, Rugby, Basketball, Tennis, to mention but a few.

Is handicap betting profitable?

Profitability hovers on strategy. You can’t calculate profitability if your wins are one-offs. You want to devise a strategy that allows you to maintain a standard of winning. While betting is for fun to many, it shouldn’t be wasteful. If you focus your strategy on Handicap bets, it could be profitable for you in the long run if your strategy is well-thought-out. So, the ball is in your court like they say.

Is it possible to play accumulator bets with Handicap Betting?

This is very possible. The handicap betting market is just like any other betting market, where you are allowed to combine either the same handicap selection or stack it up with other selections for the sole aim of maximizing your winning potentials. Given the odds, the handicap is usually set at, and how realistic the option can be, it gives the bettor a higher chance at winning even if it is an accumulator. The bettor should just do due diligence to make sure the handicapped team has been well studied.

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