What is handicap in betting

Dec 20th, 2022 06:07pm

There are lots of betting markets out there. But only a few can actually be engaging and challenging for the skilled punter. Even a rookie knows how to bet in singles but there are wagers only a veteran bettor can place reliably. In this article we are going to talk about one of them, the handicap. Describe everything you should know about it in massive detail so that you won’t have to wonder about it ever again.

General Sense of the Word Handicap

Generally, a handicap is an advantage, a head start if you will, awarded to a certain team or sportsman in accord with the rules of the tournament.

A head start is quite often used in football. For example, imagine a series between Atletico Madrid and Valencia in the Spanish LaLiga. In the first match, while being guests, Atletico came out on top, with the score being 2 to 0. It means that to win the series, Atletico will only need to get a draw or lose with a score difference of no more than 1 while playing on their home turf. In the case of Valencia scoring 3 to 0, they will win; and in the case of Valencia scoring 2 goals to 0, the match will go into overtime or a series of penalties.

The F1 series also nicely illustrates handicap, as a place closer to the starting line is given to the player based on their performance in the previous race.

What Is Handicap in Sports Betting

It is a kind of betting option in which you bet with the handicap in mind, which means that in it the bookie will give a handicap to a certain team.

Assume you want to bet on a basketball game between the Miami Heat and the Golden State Warriors. A bookie of your choice has a betting option that involves the Warriors winning with more than a 20-point lead. That means that to win a bet on the Warriors, they would have to not only win, but have a 20-point advantage.

One notable plus of handicap bets is the fact that they often have greater odds and, in turn, greater winnings compared to regular ones. This logic applies to matches, where the winner is so obvious that bookmakers offer miserable odds for simple betting markets like 1X2.

In Which Kinds of Sports You Can Use Handicap Match Betting

You can place a wager with a handicap on pretty much every sport there is, be it football, basketball, or MMA.

Handicap Bets in Football

In football wagering, a “handicap” is a type of bet in which one team is given an advantage over the other, represented by a number. I.e., a match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur is about to occur. You, as a bettor, may place a stake on either of the teams with a handicap ranging from 1.5 to 3.5. for your bet to go through, your chosen team must score more points than the opponent, also considering the given handicap.

First Half Handicap

It’s a sort of handicap bet which takes into consideration the results of the first half of the match. Basically, you bet on what team will lead by scored goals at the end of the first half with the added handicap.

Draw Handicap

The opposite to the previous one, it’s a bet which allows for it to end in a draw because the numerics are whole numbers instead of decimal.

No Draw Handicap

As an alternative to the previous one, no draw handicap eliminates the possibility of a handicap tie. It is feasible due to the fact that the handicap is represented by the decimal numeral.

Handicap Match Betting in NFL

The American National Football League also has a system of handicap match betting, which is similar in nature to the one that is present in soccer, although due to the difference in average total score in a game, American Football betting gravitates more to the Asian handicap as the preferred type of bet.

Handicap Match Betting in Rugby

In rugby, a handicap is awarded to the team in much the same fashion as in football. Yet again though, the Asian handicap is more preferred.

Asian Handicap

It is a special type of handicap bet popularised in Asia. It is not as popular in football or other comparatively low-scoring sports, but quite acclaimed in games such as basketball. It is quite like the regular (also known as European) handicap, however there are a few important differences.

The Difference Between the European and the Asian Handicap

In Asian handicaps, unlike in European ones, the number might be represented by a fractional number, like 1,75 or 3,25. In this particular case, the bet will be split into two adjacent ones. For example, if you place an Asian handicap of -1.75, half of the bet will be placed on -1.5 and the other half on -2. It’s almost as if you’re placing two handicaps at the same time. If any part ends up with a tie in points, this part of the staked sum will be returned to you, which is the main difference. If the same situation occurs with a European one, the tie will be taken as a loss, and the money will be gone.

What Is the Difference Between Spread and Handicap

Any form of handicap betting, be it European or Asian, can be considered the same market as a point spread bet. These concepts are absolutely synonymous, with no difference except for wording. If you’d like to dig deeper, the number in a handicap bet can also be called a “spread” in its original sense. For instance, in “Handicap -4.5,” the number “-4.5” is the spread, whereas the entire “Handicap -4.5” is either a point spread bet or a handicap bet.


Handicap match betting is a tricky thing, yet we think that an avid punter will find it quite attractive due to its challenging and skillful nature. And now, since you know all about it, we encourage you to go out there and try your luck at handicap wagers. After all, it will be at least more entertaining if not straight up more profitable!

FAQ on Handicap Football Betting

  • How does a handicap work in football betting?

Quite simply, you place a regular wager, but choose a handicap with positive or negative number as the betting market.

  • What does handicap +1.5 mean in football?

That means that a bet will win even if they’ve lost by a goal or got a draw.

  • What does “+2 handicap” mean?

It means that a team is given a 2-point advantage by the bookie. This advantage will be added up to the official result of the match, and that calculation will decide whether your bet wins or loses.

  • What is the meaning of handicap -3?

That means that a team is awarded a 3 point head start.

  • Are handicap match bets legal?

They absolutely are, you can wager with handicap on any licensed Kenyan gaming platform.

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