Have you heard of handicap betting in football before? If you haven’t, it might appear a little confusing on first glance. It is all about giving someone an advantage. This is unusual when it comes to sport.
However, we are going to explain it in much more detail, and what the various terms mean here, so you know how to do it effectively.
What is Handicap Betting?
When it comes to football, handicap betting is a variation on betting on particular events. It is a market which is offered by pretty much any bookmaker. It makes placing a bet much more enjoyable.
Effectively, it is giving one team an advantage – a headstart, as it were. If a premier league team, say Manchester City, for example, were playing a game against a Championship team – perhaps Birmingham City, then you would more than likely place your bet on Machester City.
They are the most obvious team to win, which makes it dull, and the odds are far from exciting.
However, if you were to give the underdogs – in this scenario, Birmingham City, an advantage, such as a goal or two to start with, this then makes the end result a lot harder to bet on, making the betting markets significantly more interesting.
This is precisely how handicap betting works. The odds are changed by giving the less obvious team a headstart and a greater improved chance of winning a game.
Handicap betting can be applied to many sports, but when it is used in football, we call it Asian handicap betting. This is because of the increasing popularity of handicap betting asian markets.
Asian Handicap betting has the aim of making each team have an equal chance of winning, so that as close to even odds will be offered on each team. Instead of placing a match bet at short odds, you can place a bet at longer odds, making it a lot more exciting and give you a much better offer.
How does it work?
In asian handicap betting, the number in the brackets after the name of the team tells you their goal advantage offer and decides what happens if they win, lose or draw. For example, it might look a little something like this:
Manchester City (-0.5) v Birmingham City (+0.5)
This means that Birmingham City is starting with the offer of a half goal advantage. If you are betting on Manchester City and they are the winning team, you win your bet. However, if the game ends in a draw, you lose your bet. If you are betting on Birmingham City and they win the game, or the result is a draw, you have won your lottery.
There are multiple levels of betting handicap, each one giving different goals, advantages and odds.
Manchester City (-1.0) v Birmingham City(1.0)
This means that Birmingham City is starting with a one-goal advantage. If you are betting on Manchester City, they need to win by at least two goals for you to win. However, if you are backing Manchester City and they only win by one, the result is effectively a draw, and so your stake will be refunded.
If you are betting on Birmingham City, and they win the game, or the game ends in a draw, you have won your bet. If they lose the match by one goal, your stake will be refunded.
Manchester City (-1.5) v Birmingham City (-1.5)
This means that Birmingham City is starting with the offer of a one and a half goal headstart. Because it is more than a single goal, there is no opportunity for it to be a draw. If you are betting on Manchester City, they have to score two for you to have a winning bet. If you are betting on Birmingham City, they need to either win the match, draw or lose by only one; otherwise, you will have lost your bet.
Manchester City (-2) v Birmingham City (+2)
This means that Birmingham City is starting with a two goals advantage. If you are betting on Manchester City, they must win the game by a margin of three goals or more. If you are betting on Manchester City to win, and they win by a margin of two goals, your stake will be refunded.
If you are betting on Birmingham City, you will win your bet providing they lose by only one goal. If you have placed a bet on Birmingham City to win, and they lose by two goals, your stake will be refunded.
Manchester City (-2.50) v Birmingham City (+2.50)
This means that Birmingham City has a two and a half goal headstart. If you are betting on Manchester City, they have to win by a margin of three or more, for you to claim your winnings.
If you are betting on Birmingham City, you will win if they do not lose by more than three or more goals.
The asian handicap is put on to the end result of the game to determine the bet. There are different types of asian handicap bets that you need to understand before placing a bet.
A Level handicap
A level handicap happens when there is no distinguishable difference in abilities between the two teams that you are betting on, so no disadvantage is given and both sides start with a clean sheet.
To win their bet, the punter must pick the team that they predict will score the most goals. This form of handicap is not necessary for one-sided matches but is useful in that it gets rid of the problems of a draw – if the game finishes in a draw, all stakes will be refunded because neither of the teams has any trump card over the other.
A Single Handicap
A single handicap is when there is a discernible difference in abilities between the two teams. This is the one that we described above – the perceived superior team will be given a goal handicap to level out the odds for the handicap betting asian purposes.
A Split Handicap
A split handicap is when the difference between the two teams’ abilities is minor, giving you the chance to split your stake over two handicaps.
For example, Manchester City might be offered at (0 & -0.5). If you bet on Manchester City and they lose, you will lose both of your bets, as they did not cover either handicap.
If the match were to end in a draw, half of your stake at (0) would be refunded, and the other half at (-0.5) will lose. If Manchester City wins, however, both handicaps will be covered, so both bets will win.
What Other Sports Can Handicaps Be Used For?
Football is the most popular sport to apply a handicap to, but there are multiple other sports which have handicap betting markets, including:
Rugby – one of the teams playing in the match will start with a points advantage. The handicap will generally be greater than in football due to the higher point scoring system of rugby.
Golf – many bookkeepers will give you the chance to place a betting handicap on players’ rounds.
Tennis – A handicaps can be put on either sets or games. If the handicap is put on games, then all the games from that particular match will be added up to make the result, which might not be the same as the match-winner.
Effectively, Asian handicap betting is giving punters an incentive to place a bet. When there is a significant difference in abilities, the odds on the favourite will be so low that it will provide a minimal return.
By putting the superior team at a disadvantage and the opportunity to split the handicap encourages punters to take that chance because the stakes are raised.