Handicap Betting: A Comprehensive Guide

Handicap Betting Illistration

Struggling to understand the handicap betting? Unsure how it works or when you should be doing it?

No doubt the veterans amongst you will already know but for everyone else, we’ve put this article together to explain how handicap betting works and when you should or should not be doing it.

Now, let’s get into the details…

What is Handicap Betting?

Handicap betting is when a specific selection within a sporting event is assigned a ‘handicap’ to overcome, so that you may win your bet. Typically, this type of bet is attractive to users when there is a very strong favourite participating because the event markets odds are so low…

You may have also heard handicap betting referred to as line, points or spread betting.

Comparison between an event and handicap bet:

  • West Ham to win the match are 1.18
  • West Ham (-1) is 1.7

With the standard style of betting, your payout is minimal. With the handicap bet of (-1) your payout is far greater, although West Ham would need to win the game by more than one goal. This is because their handicap is -1.

Two Types of Handicap Betting:

Not everyone is aware, but there are two different forms of handicap betting, Asian and European. They share similarities, with some subtle differences as explained below.

European Model:

Think of two teams or players, one stronger and the other weaker. The stronger team or player starts with negative points or goals, while the weaker starts with the same number but positive points or goals.

For example, let’s say Liverpool FC are slugging it out against say Arsenal. The bookies assign Liverpool FC three goals (-3) down, while Arsenal starts the game with +3 goals head start. What that means is that Liverpool FC has to win the contest by 4 goals or more to cover the deficit or handicapped point. Simple.

If at the end of the match, the scoreline stands at 3-2 to Liverpool FC, the winner on the single handicap market would be Arsenal. This is because the game, according to the bookies, finish 3-5 to the underdogs.

Next, let’s look at three-way handicap betting. This is part of the European handicap model.

With three-way handicap betting, bettors have the chance to bet on the handicap tie option. If a bettor selects the handicap tie option, he is staking a victory for the team that starts with the virtual deficit by the exact winning margin offered.

For instance, let’s say Southampton will be playing Real Madrid. Southampton start with a +2 goal head start, while Madrid start with -2 goals deficit. The draw/handicap tie will effectively be -2.

If the game ends 1-0 to Madrid, staking Madrid to win will end in a bet loss as Madrid fail to cover the spread. The game effectively finished 2-1 to Southampton. If you’ve also placed a bet on the handicap, you also lose the bet as Madrid didn’t win by the margin specified in the handicap.

Bear in mind that placing a bet on the handicap draw means that you’re betting on the margin of victory and not the actual number of goals scored by the team.

That sounds a bit more exciting, right?

Now, lets consider ‘no draw handicap betting.’

Asian Model:

Handicap betting also has something the bookies call ‘no draw handicap betting.’ This model provides for a guaranteed winner by removing the option for a draw, regardless of the final scoreline is.

Under the Asian model, you can’t bet on a draw; you can only bet on either team winning. A draw means that you lose or your money is refunded back to you.

Look at this: in a game between say Atletico Madrid and Alaves, the draw no handicap market offers Alaves a +2.5 handicap and Atletico Madrid -2.5. This means Alaves are already leading 2.5 goals before kick-off. If the match ends 2-1, your bet on Alaves is won because the final score on the market is Atletico Madrid 2 Alaves 2.5.

However, if the game ends 2.5-1, the scoreline is a tie.

The Asian handicap betting also offers another model but with lower odds…

Here if Atletico Madrid with -3 deficit win Alaves by 3-0.5, the result is drawn; the bet is cancelled, and your money is refunded.

The last model offered by the Asian handicap betting is the split line bet. It is a combination of the first two Asian models. In this case, your wagers are on Atletico Madrid of -2.5 and -3. It means that your bets win if Atletico win by more than 3 goals.

Handicap Betting Options:

So there you are, all of the different types of handicap betting explained.

It’s not that one style is generally better than the other, but knowing the different options available to you is imperative.

After all, it could be the difference between winning and losing!

Related: Beginners School – the No.1 FREE Resource to Start

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