Handicap Betting Explained (Beginners Guide)

what is handicap in betting

What is handicap betting? A handicap in betting is a special type of bet that involves adding or subtracting points from the result of a team or player before the start of an event. This is done in order to balance the chances of winning between teams with different levels of skill or popularity.

what is handicap in betting

The purpose of a handicap bet meaning is to balance the chances of winning between teams or participants with different levels of skill or popularity. A handicap can be used in various sports such as soccer, basketball, tennis, and others.

Depending on the direction of the forfeit, it can be positive or negative:

Positive handicap (“+”)

This is when points are added to a team or player. For example, a +1.5 in a soccer match means that a team can lose by no more than 1 goal difference for your bet to be successful.

Negative handicap (“-“)

This is where a team or player is deducted points. For example, a “-4.5” in basketball means that a team must win by more than 5 points to win your bet.

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A handicap makes betting more interesting and profitable, as it changes the conditions of the competition and introduces an element of strategic analysis. It is popular among players who are looking for new ways to increase the probability of successful bets, especially in matches with unequal opponents.

handicap bet: Main types

handicap bet: Main types

In the realm of sports, there exist several types of handicaps that serve to level the competitive field and enhance the fairness of competitions. These handicaps cater to the diverse range of athletes’ abilities and skill levels, ensuring that everyone can participate and compete effectively.

Certainly, here’s the information you provided in a table format:

Handicap TypeDescription
Zero HandicapNo points added or deducted for any team/participant. Bet wins only if the correct outcome of the event is guessed
Plus and Minus HandicapPlus (“+”) adds points, minus (“-“) deducts points for a team/participant. For example, “+1.5” means the team can lose by no more than 1 goal difference for your bet to win. “-2.5” requires the team to win by more than 3 goals
Integer and Fractional HandicapInteger: Whole points added/subtracted, like “+2” or “-1”. Fractional: Half points added/subtracted, like “+1.5”
Normal/Classic HandicapInvolves adding/subtracting whole integer points, such as “+2” or “-1”
European HandicapA variation of regular handicap, using only integer values like “+3” or “-2”
Asian HandicapComplex and popular in Asia, allowing fractional values for flexibility. For example, “+1.25” means half the bet goes to “+1” and half to “+1.5”

Choosing the type of bet on a handicap sports betting depends on your knowledge, strategy, and understanding of how a change in points can affect the outcome of an event. Therefore, it is very important to choose the right type of bet:

  • Betting on halves or periods. You can bet on the results of specific halves in sporting events. For example, on the outcome of the first or second half in soccer, on the result of the first quarter in basketball and so on.
  • Betting on statistics. This type of betting involves predicting certain statistics such as the total number of goals, points, corners or cards in a match. For example, you can bet on “Total more than 2.5 goals” in soccer.
  • Corner bets. Here you bet on the number of corners that will be awarded in the match. You can predict how many corners will be in the first half, in the second half, or the total number of corners for the whole match.
  • Card rates. Similar to corner betting, you bet on the number of cards that will be issued in the match. This can be the total number of cards, the number of cards for a particular team or player, and so on.

These different types of bets provide players with a wide range of prediction and winning opportunities depending on their interests and analysis of events.

handicap examples for different types of sports

Handicap gambling is a popular form of wagering in sports, offering an alternative to traditional win-lose bets. It levels the playing field by applying a virtual advantage or disadvantage to teams based on their perceived strength. Let’s explore what is a handicap in sports betting across various sports with real team examples.

Handicap in Football (Soccer)

In the realm of football handicap betting, the bookmakers often set handicaps to level the playing field between teams. Take, for example, a match between Manchester United and Newcastle United. In this particular game, the bookmakers have presented two different handicap options, both set at (0).

With Manchester United at a (0) handicap, if you place a bet on them, you would win the bet if Manchester United wins the match. However, if the match ends in a draw, your bet would be refunded, as the handicap effectively cancels out. The same conditions apply if you choose to bet on Newcastle United with a (0) handicap. Your bet would pay off if Newcastle United wins, but a draw would lead to a refund.

This type of handicap, often referred to as a “level handicap” or “zero handicap,” implies that no team is given an actual advantage or disadvantage in terms of goals. It’s essentially a bet on which team will emerge as the winner, with the safety net of a refund if the match ends in a draw. This setup offers a straightforward approach to the meaning of handicap in betting, focusing primarily on the anticipated performance and outcome of the match.

Example of Handicap Bet in Football between Manchester United and Newcastle United
Example of Handicap Bet in Football between Manchester United and Newcastle United

Handicap Cricket

Cricket handicap betting often focuses on run handicaps. For example, in a One Day International (ODI) match between Australia and Bangladesh, the handicap might be set at Australia (-30.5 runs) vs. Bangladesh (+30.5 runs). A bet on Australia would require them to win by more than 30 runs, whereas a bet on Bangladesh would win if they lose by 30 runs or fewer, or if they win the match.

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Basketball Handicap Betting

Basketball’s fast-paced scoring makes handicap betting interesting. In a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, the handicap might be set as Lakers (-7.5) vs. Heat (+7.5). If you bet on the Lakers, they must win by at least 8 points. Betting on the Heat means you win if they lose by 7 points or fewer, or if they win outright.

Kabaddi Handicap Betting

Kabaddi, a sport gaining popularity, also features handicap betting. Imagine a Pro Kabaddi League match between Patna Pirates and Bengal Warriors. A handicap might be Patna Pirates (-5.5) vs. Bengal Warriors (+5.5). Betting on Patna Pirates requires them to win by at least 6 points, while a bet on Bengal Warriors would win if they lose by 5 points or fewer or win the match.

In summary, handicap betting adds a layer of strategy to sports betting, requiring an understanding of team strengths and the ability to predict outcomes beyond mere win or loss. It provides opportunities for profitable bets even in matches with clear favorites and underdogs.

Effective betting strategies with a handicap

BC GAME example of betting

Effective handicap gambling strategies involve careful analysis of team form, match statistics, lineups, and other important factors. Successful bettors take into account home and away status, analyze rotations, research past results and trends to select the most appropriate handicap values. Using Asian forfeits, combining them with other betting strategies and utilizing analytical tools also help to increase the likelihood of successful betting with a handicap. The key factor, however, remains sound bankroll management and knowledgeable and analytical decision making when selecting a strategy for a particular match or event.

Underdog betting

The fundamental allure of this strategy lies in the high odds that underdogs usually carry. Since these competitors or teams are not expected to win, bookmakers offer more lucrative payouts to entice bettors. This allows a gambler to wager a smaller amount of money with the possibility of winning big, thereby mitigating the risk associated with a larger bet on a favorite that offers a smaller return. Often, it’s the idea of ‘high risk, high reward’ that draws people towards this unconventional approach.

However, simply wagering on every underdog in sight would be reckless and ultimately unprofitable. A smart gambler knows how to pick their battles. It’s essential to undertake a careful analysis, diving deep into statistics, past performances, and other factors that could influence the outcome. Seasonal variables, injuries, team morale, and even the location of the match can have a significant impact.

Betting on the favorite

The strategy’s appeal lies in its straightforwardness and the psychological comfort of siding with a likely winner. Rather than diving deep into statistics or analyzing various unpredictable factors, bettors can rely on the basic premise that favorites are favorites for a reason. They’ve often demonstrated their prowess over the course of a season, and therefore, betting on them to win generally seems like a reasonable decision. For novice bettors especially, this can be a simple entry point into the complex world of sports betting.

However, while it’s generally safer, betting on the favorite is not without its pitfalls. Upsets can and do occur, and the lower odds mean that losing bets can quickly erode your bankroll. Plus, the marketplace often adjusts odds based on public sentiment, which means that favorites can sometimes be overvalued, offering less value for your money. Therefore, it’s crucial to exercise discernment even when taking the ‘safe’ route.

How a bet with a handicap is calculated

Calculating a bet with a handicap depends on the type of handicap and the size of your bet. To understand this process, let’s look at a -1.5 handicap in soccer. If you bet on a team with a -1.5 handicap, that team must win by two goals or more for your bet to be a winner. If a team wins by one goal or draws or loses, your bet loses.

The calculation of potential profit is based on the odds of the bet and the size of your bet. For example, if you bet $100 on a team with a -1.5 handicap and the odds are 2.00, then if your team wins by two goals or more, you will receive $200 including your bet.

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Advantages and disadvantages of betting with a handicap

The advantages of betting with a handicap include the possibility of increasing the odds and, as a result, the potential profit. This is especially useful when betting on underdogs or teams with low odds to win, as such bets can be more profitable in a successful outcome. The handicap also allows you to equalize the odds between teams, making the match more interesting to predict and follow. However, it is worth keeping in mind the disadvantages, which include a higher level of risk. Predicting the exact score difference can be difficult, so a successful bet with a handicap requires more in-depth analysis and evaluation of all factors. The odds on a handicap can change in the course of the game, being influenced by the dynamics of events and fluctuations of bets in the market.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a zero handicap differ from 1X?

Zero handicap (0) and 1X are different concepts in soccer betting. A zero handicap (0) means that you bet on one of the teams to win, and if they win, your bet will also win. While a 1X bet means you are betting on the first team to win or draw (X), meaning the first team to win or draw will win. These are different betting options focusing on different outcomes.

How to bet on forfeits correctly?

For successful betting on forfeits it is important to analyze teams and events thoroughly. First, study the history of team meetings, current form, injuries and lineups. Evaluate which outcome is more likely depending on the factors. Then choose the appropriate type of backdrop and determine the size of the bet. It is important to remember that a handicap changes the conditions of the game, so predict how the outcome of the match will change after adding a handicap. Be disciplined, manage your bankroll and don’t risk large sums on complex bets.

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About the Author

Born in London in 1986, Samuel Gray is a distinguished betting expert with a Master’s in Sports Analysis from the University of Leeds, obtained in 2011. From 2012 to 2019, he worked closely with multiple athletic federations, specializing in performance metrics across various common sports. Gray has authored 15 academic papers, predominantly on the optimization of training regimes and injury prevention. Transitioning from research in 2020, Gray began a journalism career. He now pens analytical pieces about the nuances of common sports and contributes regularly to several sports-focused platforms, shedding light on contemporary tactics and athlete assessments.

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