Handicap betting: meaning and use

Aizat Chew
April 8, 2024

Handicap betting is one of the most popular sports wagering. It provides a unique opportunity for individuals to bet not only on a team’s or player’s victory but also on the goal or point difference between the participating teams. Let’s examine what handicap betting means, its advantages and disadvantages, and how to use it.

What is handicap betting?

Handicap betting equalizes the chances of teams or players with different levels. Its essence is that one side gets an advantage through a fixed number of goals or points, and the other receives a corresponding negative handicap advantage.

So, how does handicap betting work in practice?

  • Team A is more potent because they have won all competitions in the season. The bookmaker gives it a handicap of -2.
  • Team B has not won all the competitions and is generally inferior to Team A. The bookmaker assigns it a handicap of 2.

Thus, team B starts the game with an advantage. A player who bets on team B’s victory will win, even if the team loses by a difference of one goal.

There are several varieties of these bets. The European handicap uses integers and allows betting on three outcomes. The Asian handicap contains decimal numbers and excludes the possibility of a draw (In this article I described the Asian Handicap in more detail).

Some bookmakers also offer alternative handicap betting, explained as a wager different from the standard one. For example, the regular line is +/-1.5 goals, while the alternative one is +/-3.5.

How to use handicap betting in practice?

Once players understand the meaning of handicap betting and select the event they want to bet on, they can move on to placing the wager directly. To do this, they should take the following steps:

  1. Studying the opponents. Analyzing the participants in the competition is essential to understanding the possible game outcomes. 
  2. Assessing the chances. Players should evaluate the probability that the team that receives a positive handicap will win or lose, considering the given.
  3. Selecting a bet. The players should now decide whether they are betting on the team winning or losing. In the case of a European handicap, it is possible to bet on a draw.

Finally, the bettors can set the bet amount and confirm the wager.

Advantages and disadvantages of handicap betting explained

Like any other form of sports wager, handicaps have some peculiarities.

Let’s start with their positive aspects:

An opportunity to bet on an underdogIf the favorite is known to be weak compared to its competitor, a bettor can still bet on it and win under certain conditions.
Variety of possibilitiesIt is possible to bet on different outcomes, which makes the betting process more engaging.
Better oddsBecause the outcomes of handicaps are less predictable, they tend to have higher odds, allowing bettors to profit more if they win.

Despite all its benefits, this type of betting may not suit everyone because of its disadvantages.

Higher riskSince it is more difficult to guess the game’s outcome, there is a high probability that the bettor will incur losses.
Not all sports are availableHandicaps are traditionally available for sports with goals or points, such as soccer, basketball, tennis, etc.
Confusing to understand for newcomersBeginners should carefully study how handicap works, as it differs significantly from traditional bet types.

Which bookies offer handicap betting?

I recommend 20bet. You can find my review and registration link here.

Other types of bets

If you are interested in other types of bets, please refer to the other articles.

  1. Goal No Goal Betting – what does it mean?
  2. Over and Under in Sports Betting

In addition, handicap betting is closely related to the term “Spread betting.” Both involve using a “spread” or “line” to equalize the odds between two teams or players with different skill levels.

Handicap Betting: сonclusion

Handicap bets have gained popularity among bettors in different markets as they offer more exciting pastimes. They also allow experienced bettors to significantly increase their chances of winning. However, beginners should consider the specifics of these bets and use strategies so that this type of wagering will bring them only fun and profit.

Author Aizat Chew

My name is Aizat Chew. I specialize in sports betting and frequently share insights on my website regarding gambling companies, wagering strategies, and online casinos. I have prepared a guide to the world of gambling. Thanks to my enthusiasm and expertise, I strive to offer readers up-to-date details and top-notch recommendations.