Handicap betting has always been a tricky concept to grasp for new players, but once you’re comfortable with it, plenty of lucrative bets become available in a wide range of markets. To fully benefit from the generous handicap odds, it’s important to understand not only the handicap rules, but also the specifics of each sport you want to wager on. Smart punters bet only on sports they love and follow, and you should do the same if you don’t want to see your bankroll go bust.
Handicap bets, also known as spread bets, are types of wagers that give one selection a virtual deficit (handicap) to overcome at the start of the event. The primary reason why handicap betting is so popular is the ability to back heavy favourites at greater odds, than those available for three-way betting (1x2). By offering handicap bets, bookies like William Hill even up a market, so a selection that is considered less likely to win has a greater chance of winning the event.
Handicap Match Betting
Whether you bet on football, rugby, or snooker handicap betting works the same way. It gives one team or player a deficit (handicap) to overcome at the start of the event, and you bet on who will with the handicap already taken into account. Another variation of handicap betting is the tie selection, which allows you to bet on the victory of your team, with a virtual deficit by the exact margin offered. If that’s a bit confusing for you, don’t worry; below, we have a couple of examples that illustrate the handicap betting in business.
Arsenal are playing Crystal Palace at home in a routine Premier League match. The Gunners are heavy favourites to win at 1.17. The odds don’t offer any value, but there is big gulf in class between the two teams, and Arsenal can easily hammer their opponents. The handicap betting is offered as follows:
Arsenal (-2) 2.00
Handicap tie (-2) 2.5
Crystal Palace (+2) 1.9
The match ends in a 4-1 victory for Arsenal.
Backers of Arsenal (-2) would be winners, as Arsenal’s final score after the handicap has been applied is bigger than their opponents. 4 minus 2 = 2; this is bigger than Crystal Palace’s final score of 1.
Backers of Crystal Palace (+2) would lose, as Crystal Palace’s score after the handicap has been added on is not bigger than their opponents. 1 plus 2 = 3; this is less than Arsenal’s final score of 4.
Backers of Handicap Tie (-2) would also lose because the finishing winning margin is not equal to the handicaps offered. To win this market, the match would have had to have finished in Arsenal’s favour by exactly 2 goals cushion, e.g. Arsenal win 3-1, 2-0, 5-3, etc. If the handicaps offered would have been Arsenal (-3), Crystal Palace (+3), this selection would have been a winning bet.
No Draw Handicap Match Betting
In some sports, such as tennis, draw is not an option, but no draw handicap betting can eliminate the possibility of a tie even in football, rugby or basketball. For example, a basketball team is given a half handicap advantage of +10.5 points. These points would be then added to their total at full time, and if this is greater than their opponent’s total, they will be considered as the winners.
Handicap betting is an excellent way to diversify your betting strategy and action. Many players are specializing on handicap markets due to greater flexibility and value. Once you’re comfortable with handicap betting, you can go even further learn about Asian Handicap, a more sophisticated form of handicap betting we cover in a separate article.