Handicap betting is where a bookmaker will turn a sporting event with varied odds into an even money contest. This bet is made by giving a virtual advantage or disadvantage to individual competitors. This placement is to even the field. It is a common practice in points-based sports such as tennis and rugby. It is also commonly used in events racing. It exists to make one-sided sporting contests a more exhilarating, alluring proposition for those who enjoy betting.

Sometimes, it happens that the competitors in the event you are placing a bet on are deemed by the bookmaker to be evenly matched. This means that you may see the term 'scratch' (which is at times presented as 'scr' by bookmakers) instead of a handicap. When this happens, it will mean that there are no handicaps applied to the game. The actual winners will be viewed as the market winners by the bookmaker.

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In handicap betting, the handicap will only apply to the selection that you are betting. When you bet on a handicap tie, what matters is the margin of the win rather than the number of goals scored.

Handicap Betting odds Explained

Advantages and disadvantages of handicap betting

  • Depending on the type of handicap you place your money on, you may still win even if the team you bet on loses the game
  • Secondly, with the elimination of the draw result, the odds of winning are increased.
  • Also, when used in an accumulator, there are fewer possible outcomes, which means the chances of winning are higher.

For the devotees, they have the possibility of improving on the already reasonable odds.

  • For a lot of people, Asian handicaps are tough to get by at the beginning.
  • The underdogs have better odds on fixed-odds in comparison to Asian handicaps .

Types of handicap

The regular handicap is just like the one mentioned above. Here, you have the option of whether to either back a team to overcome a minus handicap or defend a positive handicap in a match to win the fixture.

Alternative handicaps add in half points in rugby matches. For instance, you might see Gloucester -7.5 handicap. The half-point eliminates the possibility of a draw. Therefore, Gloucester would have to win by at least eight points for the bet to be successful.

There also exists a split handicap. Here, your stake is split over two different handicap possibilities, such as 0 and -0.5 in one bet. It is a useful option that is available on games where there is not much quality difference between the participating teams. This handicap bet means that it could, therefore, be a close match. In this case, if the game produced a draw, the 0 handicap part would be reimbursed. The -0.5 was not covered and thus would be lost.

A level handicap is when the bookmaker cannot see any perceptible difference in the quality of the two teams. So he may offer both starting at a level 0 handicap. So essentially, then it is a matter of selecting the winning team. This is, in essence, the same as a draw. No bet as if the game is drawn, the stake is refunded.

NFL handicap betting

Opposing NFL teams will differ in strength. Therefore, to counter the perceived partiality in abilities, bookmakers offer a point's handicap to level the playing field. This is commonly referred to as "the spread." The handicap market is prevalent with more progressed bettors as it balances each team's chances and offers more value. Thus, it is used as the standard reference point for referring to relative chances in a game.


Using a hypothetical example, let us explain how betting on handicap works. Both teams are offered associated odds on either a plus or minus points score. Case in point, Indianapolis Colts might be provided at -6 1.909 against the New York Giants at +6 2.020.

Any bet made on Indianapolis would win if the Colts win by six or more points, and likewise, a bet on the Giants would have paid if they win the game or lose by less than six points.

However, the result was 29-17 to the Colts, the bettors who bet on the Colts to win -6 1.909 would have a winning bet as the point difference is 12—six more than the handicap offered.

Totals NFL betting emphasizes how both teams will score many collective points during the game. Bookmakers propose an option to bet on whether or not the total points will be either over or under the totals mark. The reason for This is this form of betting. It is often referred to as the Over/under, meaning one team has an advantage over the other. When a team exceeds the required points for a successful bet, it is called 'covering the bet.'

Rugby handicap betting

The team that starts on a negative handicap is required to win by more than the stated figure. For a bet on them to win. In rugby, it primarily refers to the advantage that the bookmaker gives to one team to even the game. 


What is the difference between handicap and spread betting?

Spread betting is a form of betting where the bettor will lose or win money depending on the margin by which the value of a precise outcome varies from the spread of expected values quoted by the bookmaker.

In comparison, a handicap betting is when one team in an event is given a handicap to overcome to win. This kind of betting is more common when great favorites are playing. Instead of placing a match bet, This means that you could put a stake at longer odds.

What does the +0.5 handicap mean?

A bet on the home team will mean that you win if the team wins by one or more goals. If the match ends in a draw, you lose 50% of your bet stake. The remainder of the stake is refunded.

What does the +1 handicap mean?

This gives one team a one-goal head start. This head start means that the rival team will start at -1. For the results to come through, this opposing team has to win by two goals. For this bet to lose, the under team will have to lose by two goals.

What is a +1.5 Asian handicap?

For example, New Castle +1.0, +1.5

This handicap dictates the half of your bet goes to the opposing team to win, lose or draw by less than one goal. The other half bets on the opposing team to win, lose or draw by less than 1.5 goals.

What does the (-0.5, -1.0) and (+0.5, +1.0) handicap mean?

With a -0.5, -1.0 handicap bet on the home team, you will win if the team wins by two or more goals. If the team wins by one goal, half your stake is a winner at the odds taken, and half your bet is restored.

With a +0.5, +1.0 handicap bet on the away team, you win if the team wins or the match ends in a draw. If it loses by one goal, half of your bet is reimbursed.

What is the difference between a handicap and an Asian handicap?

Asian handicap betting is a relatively new wager. This bet is made by creating an even money contest by adding points on the side estimated to be the underdog. The main difference between Asian handicap betting is the possibility of split handicaps. This is where your selection can have one handicap that is a whole number, and one that is a half number.

Final Thoughts

However, Asian handicap betting is a form of betting where the tie result or draw is removed. It is highly valuable to the client. It poses a slightly less risk compared to the conventional "Win-Draw-Win" style betting. You have to pick the team rated as the favorite to beat the handicap (framed in goals). Otherwise, you must oppose the considered team favorite with the handicap.

A high handicap betting in Asia involves handicaps with whole and half numbers. In this way, no draws are possible, alike to no draw handicap match betting. The critical difference with Asian handicap betting is the possibility of split handicaps, whereby your selection can have one handicap that is a whole number, and one that is a half number.

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