Handicap Betting

Handicap Betting Guide

What is Handicap Betting?

Handicap betting is an increasingly popular form of betting, but it can be very confusing to people when they first bet on these markets. Handicap betting involves a team being given a “virtual” head start in a betting market, for example, a match result in football where a team is given a 1 goal head start. It is particularly popular when a stronger opponent plays a weaker one, and with the head start given to the weaker team handicap betting can make the odds for the weaker team more attractive.

In this guide we will look at the two forms of handicap betting:

Asian Handicap and European Handicap Betting


Asian Handicap Betting

Asian Handicap Betting, so-called due to its popularity in the betting markets in Asia, is only available on football matches. Asian handicap betting is designed to eliminate the possibility of a draw, reducing possible outcomes in match market betting from three (1 x 2) to two (1 2). This is the main difference between Asian Handicap Betting and European Handicap Betting where you can have a draw.

The handicap on a team will be indicated by either a decimal figure of 0.5, 1.5 etc or a whole figure of 1.0, 2.0 etc. If a whole number is used then there is the chance that the game would end in a draw due to the handicap. As mentioned earlier Asian Handicap betting is designed to not include the draw so if this does happen then the bet is called a push (voided) and the stake is returned to the bettor.

Example

Whole Line Asian Handicap

Whole Line Asian Handicap

In this market Team A are starting with a -1 goal deficit, essentially they are 1 nil down before the game kicks off. If you were to bet on Team A you would need them to win by 2 or more clear goals for the bet to win so 3-1, 2-0, 4-1 etc. If Team A wins by just 1 goal then the bet will be a push as the game would be seen as a draw due to the -1.0 handicap. If Team B wins by any score then the bet will lose.

If you were to back Team B with their 1 goal head start then you will win your bet if: Team B wins or if it is a draw. If Team A win by 1 goal then the bet will be a push and stake returned. If Team A win by 2 or more goals then the Team B bet will lose.


Half Line Asian Handicaps

Half Line Asian Handicaps

With half line Asian Handicaps there is no way a draw can happen as the handicap is set to a 0.5 decimal place. In this example, Tottenham have been given a 0.5 goal headstart over Liverpool, with Liverpool starting with -0.5 goals.

With this, if we were to place a back bet on Tottenham +0.5:

  • If it is a draw we win the bet as Tottenham have that extra 0.5 goal
  • If Tottenham win the game by any score the bet wins
  • If Liverpool win the game by any score then the bet loses

Conversely, if we were to back Liverpool with their -0.5 handicap:

  • If Liverpool win the game by any score the bet wins
  • If Tottenham win the game by any score the bet loses
  • If it is a draw then with this one we would lose our bet as Liverpool started -0.5 goals behind

Split Line Asian Handicaps

Split Line Asian Handicaps

Hopefully, you have followed this so far as this is where it gets a little bit more complex. You may notice at times two figures/lines against a team for Asian handicaps. These are known as Split Line Asian Handicap bets and with these, your stake is divided between the two lines so you are actually placing two bets in one.

With the above example if you placed a £10 stake on Ecuador U20 -0.5, -1.0 then £5 of your stake is placed on the whole line handicap of -1.0 and £5 is placed on the half line handicap of -0.5.

This means that if Ecuador were to win 1-0 then your half line handicap bet will win and your whole line handicap is a push meaning that your £5 stake for that one will be returned.


European Handicap Betting

You will often see this displayed as just “Handicap” or “Three-way Handicap” betting or markets and the premise works almost entirely the same as Asian with the exception that with European Handicap Betting the draw comes into play.

So with this, you can bet on the stronger team with a handicap disadvantage, the weaker team with a head start or the draw/tie.

European Handicap Betting

To allow for the draw market European Handicap Betting deals only with whole line handicap numbers:

  • Chelsea (-1) 4.00
  • Tie (Arsenal +1) 4.00
  • Arsenal (+1) 1.66

In the above example if you were to back Chelsea (-1) then Chelsea would need to win by 2 or more clear goals. If they win by 1 you lose, if they draw you lose and if Arsenal win you lose.

If you back Arsenal (+1) then if it is a draw you win, if Arsenal win then you win but if Chelsea win by any scoreline you lose.

If you back the Tie (Arsenal +1) then you will need the exact result to be a Chelsea win by a 1 goal margin. So a 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 for example. You will see this displayed in different ways on different sites but when you back the tie you are backing the team with the deficit to win by that exact margin.


How To Win When Handicap Betting

Handicap Betting can offer good alternatives to the bettor in terms of what appear to be good value odds. You may also go on long winning runs however long term the bookmaker will win through so if there a way that you can profit from betting? Well there is and it is called Matched Betting


What is Matched Betting?

Matched Betting is a way of taking advantage of the hundreds of free bet offers dished out by bookies. Although it has betting in the name there is no real gambling involved as, unlike normal betting, we cover all possible outcomes of an event. This means regardless of the result we can make profit and turn those free bets into real cash!


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For more info on what matched betting is, check out these articles: