Most sports fans have found that betting on their favourite teams or players makes them enjoy the games even more. Take EPL fans as an…
If you’re a punter who likes to get a bit more value from your bets, the handicap betting market is certainly one to be considered as it allows you to boost your match result bets by adding a fun and exciting twist.
The handicap market is one of the biggest offered by online bookies and we’re huge fans of handicap betting here at Which Bookie.
Below, you’ll find all you need to know about handicap betting, including what it is and how it works.
|What Is Handicap Betting?||Handicap Betting Example|
|European Handicap Betting||Betting On The Handicap Draw|
|Asian Handicaps||Sports To Place Handicap Bets On|
|League Winner Handicap Bets||Rugby Handicap Betting|
|NFL Handicap Betting||Alternative Handicaps|
|Where To Bet On Handicaps|
Handicap betting is a type of bet on the winner of a match but with a slight difference, they have a handicap which they also must overcome.
What it basically does is give a team a head start against their opposition, with the odds then being adjusted accordingly. The aim of a handicap will often be to give an underdog an initial advantage to begin with, which the more favoured team will be required to overcome.
For example, if you were to bet on England vs Iran at the 2022 World Cup, England would be a heavy favourite as they are ranked much higher than Iran. You may not fancy a bet on Iran as they’re unlikely to win. However, with handicap betting, you can give Iran a head start of 1, 2 or more goals which makes the bet a lot more appealing.
A bookmaker may offer a market which will give England a -2 handicap. This effectively means they start the game 2-0 down and therefore in order for you to win the bet they must beat Iran by three or more goals.
Handicaps can be whole numbers or non-whole numbers with some of the more common handicap advantages available at bookmakers shown below.
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The betting term ‘Asian Handicap’ is well-known but the term ‘European Handicap’ is used a lot less frequently.
So what is European Handicap Betting?
With European Handicap betting, there is the option to back the draw with a handicap applied. These bets are often not referred to as ‘European Handicaps’ and you’ll most likely see them on bookmaker websites simply as ‘Handicap’ or ‘Handicap Result’ markets.
Below, you’ll see an example of a European (or standard) handicap market for the match between Leicester and Southampton.
There are three betting options:
Leicester -1: For this bet to win, Leicester must win the game by two or more goals as they are starting with a one goal disadvantage.
Southampton +1: For this bet to win, Southampton must not lose the game as they are starting with a one-goal advantage.
There is also the option to bet on the draw with a handicap. With these bets, you are essentially betting on the winning margin.
In the example above, a bet on the handicap draw would win only if Manchester City won by exactly two goals as Brighton are given a two goal lead at kick-off.
Asian handicap betting is a market you’ll also find with bookmakers and works in a similar way to above with the main difference being that draws, when possible, are refunded by the bookmaker and so there are only two betting options – A home win or an away win.
Let’s look at the Asian Handicap market for the Leicester v Southampton match on Bet365.
As you can see, there are only two options with the the draw handicap removed.
The handicap betting options are:
Leicester -0.5 : Leicester are starting with a 0.5 goal disadvantage. For bets to win, Leicester must win by one or more goals.
Southampton +0.5 : Southampton are starting with a 0.5 goal advantage. For bets to win, Southampton must either win or draw the match. As they started with a 0.5 goal advantage, if they draw 2-2, they would essential win the match 2 – 2.5.
Below, is another example of an Asian handicap market for the match between Wolves and West Brom.
Again, the option for a draw is removed so there are only two options which this time are:
Wolves -1 : Wolves are starting with a 1 goal disadvantage. For bets to win, Wolves must win by two or more goals. If Wolves end up winning the match exactly one goal, it will be classed as a draw as they started 1-0 down. Therefore, stakes will be refunded by the bookmaker.
West Brom +1 : West Brom are starting with a 1 goal advantage. For bets to win, West Brom must either draw or win the match. If West Brom lose by exactly one goal, it will be classed as a draw and stakes would be refunded.
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You can bet on many different sports when it comes to handicap betting with this bet type most commonly being found on team sports.
In American sports you may find that they are referred to as pointspread bets, but they ultimately work in the same way. Among the best sports to back the handicap markets include:
As well as placing handicap bets on individual sporting events, you can also often find them for outright bets such as for the winner of the Premier League. These are season-long bets where a handicap is applied to each team in the league in relation to the number of points they will pick up throughout the season.
For example, a team such as Liverpool, who are one of the favourites to win the league, may be given a minus handicap of say -10 points whereas a team which is very unlikely to win the league such as Burnley, may be given a positive handicap of +35 points.
If you were to bet on Liverpool with a -10 points handicap, they would have to win the league by more than 10 points for your bet to win.
Similarly, if you were to bet on Burnley to win the league with a handicap of +35 points, they would have to finish the season within 34 points or less of the actual winner for your bet to win.
Handicap betting on Rugby Union & Rugby League works the same as with football in that you can bet on either team winning a match by a certain number of points.
For example, if you were to bet on South Africa -10 against England, South Africa would have to win by more than 10 points for your bet to win.
If you were to bet on England +10, England would have to win, draw or lose by 9 points or less for your bet to win.
The NFL is one of the most popular sports for handicap bets. Thankfully, handicap bets on American Football work exactly the same as with Rugby and Football.
Let’s say that you bet on the Green Bay Packers with a handicap of -7.5 against the Baltimore Ravens. This would mean that the Packers would have to win by 8 points or more for your bet to come in.
If you bet on the Baltimore Ravens with a handicap of +7.5, they must win the game, draw or lose by 7 points or less for you to win your bet.
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At many bookmakers, you will find alternative handicaps available. These are additional handicaps which you can bet on such as -1, -2, -3 or +1, +2, +3 etc.
There are alternative handicaps available for both standard handicap and Asian handicap markets.
With the alternative handicap markets above, you have a number of options.
Below shows some alternative Asian handicap markets.
You may notice that in the Alternative Asian Handicap options above, there are handicaps which contain two values such as:
With these bets, your total stake is split between the two handicaps.
With the -1.5 part of your bet, there is no chance of a draw and so Leicester must win by 2 or more goals for this part of your bet to win. However, with the -1.0 part of your bet, should Leicester win by exactly one goal, this half of your stake would be refunded as the match would be classed as a draw since Leicester started the match with a 1 goal disadvantage.
Here at Which Bookie we work with some of the biggest bookmakers in the UK and only bring you tried and trusted brands that have a wide range of markets, including handicap bets.
Head over to our bookmaker reviews category for all our favourite brands, while you can find some of our most recommended highlighted below…
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