What is Handicap betting?

HANDICAP BETTING

What is Handicap betting?

Handicap betting is where you place a bet on a team/individual prior to an event and give them a handicap (or deficit) to overcome. Alternatively, it can also work the other way and you can give the team/individual a head start. This market is usually used to give you better odds on a heavy favourite for an event.

For example, if Manchester United were playing Accrington Stanley in a cup game, their odds would not be worth backing, but if you gave them a handicap (e.g. start with -1 goal) then it would increase the odds and make it a more attractive bet with stronger potential returns.

Example:

Chelsea (-1)

Handicap tie (-1)

Arsenal (+1)

If Chelsea played against Arsenal and won 3-1 then anybody backing Chelsea -1 would win as when you take away the one goal handicap, Chelsea would still have won the game 2-1. If you backed Arsenal +1 then it would be deemed a losing bet because adding one goal on for Arsenal would mean they still lose the game 3-2.

You can also bet on the ‘Handicap Tie’ which is effectively backing the team with the deficit, in this case Chelsea, winning the game by a single goal. If Chelsea won 1-0 then the handicap tie bet would win because if you take one goal away from Chelsea then the result would be a 0-0 draw.

How it looks on a bookmaker website:

Below is an example of how handicap betting looks on the Sky Bet website.

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Source: SkyBet

Asian Handicap

This is similar to the normal handicap betting, but eliminates the draw outcome and thus makes it nearer a 50/50 chance of winning. It once again handicaps a team so that their opponent effectively has a head start, but in this case instead of -1 it would be -1.5.

As with handicap betting it also works the other way (+1.5). You can also double up and have a bet that includes both -1 and -1.5, which effectively creates a -1.25 scenario. These are sometimes known as Split Handicaps. The following table best explains all the permutations of an Asian Handicap bet:

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Source: Wikipedia

Explained further

Manchester United v Manchester City – (Manchester United -0.5, -1). If Manchester United win by 2+ goals, all selections are deemed winners. If Manchester United win by exactly 1 goal, half of the stake is settled at the price of the bet, whilst the other half is refunded to the customer (taking 0.5 away from them would mean they still won the match, but taking 1 away would mean they would only draw). If Manchester United draw or lose, the bet is deemed a loser.

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