Handicap Betting Explained (2022)

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Handicap Betting Explained (2022)

Handicap bets can be applied as an alternative to fixed odds, which allows one player to make unlimited wagers on four different teams while the other player may only place two bets of his own. This article will explain what handicap betting is, how it works, when to use it and how each type of handicap betting benefits your chances of winning. 

So What is Handicap Betting, and How does it Work?

Handicap betting is a form of wagering that allows you to bet on the outcome of a sporting event, but not necessarily on who will win. For example, if a professional sprinter competed in the 100-meter sprint versus a regular Joe from the street, the professional sprinter would be expected to win every round. Betting on this would be a waste of time because the odds would never be interesting. 

But let’s say you try giving him a 50-meter head start. That would make it more difficult to forecast the outcome of the race. With this new development, the outcome odds have increased in value. Handicap betting operates exactly as described above. To level out your wager, you give one result an advantage and the other a disadvantage.

How and When to Use Handicap Betting

In handicap betting, the underdog is usually given an advantage. Even though Senegal would be expected to defeat Uganda in an AFCON match, the handicap can be designed so that Uganda Cranes get the better of Senegal by one goal. Basically, if you bet in this market, Cranes start the game 1-0 for your wager.

When Kenya Sevens are expected to overcome South Africa 7s in rugby, a seven-point handicap - written as Scotland +7in handicap betting - might be given to the South Africa 7s in the match.

As a result, Kenya Sevens might be backed at -7 in the same market. Alternatively, According to the odds, the teams have a seven-point difference. Bookmakers' odds suggest that one team has a better probability of winning by this much margin over the other.

There is already a handicap market for nearly every point or goal-based sporting event.

When it comes to wagering alternatives, you can now use a variety of handicaps in most circumstances. Depending on your confidence level in your choices, you can either increase or decrease the handicap.

Ghana Sevens can be regarded as even-money to overcome the seven-point handicap given to them in the example above. On the other hand, it's possible to bet on Kenya Sevens with a -10 handicap and get 7/4 odds if you think they have a reasonable probability of winning by over seven points (depending on the markets available).

If Kenya 7s beats South Africa 7s by six or fewer points and you bet on SA +7 in the scenario above, your handicap bet is a winner.

Now let’s look at handicap betting in sports such as football, rugby, and the NFL. 

Football Handicap Betting

Handicaps are used in football betting to level the odds for both sides. Even though one squad is usually perceived to be more powerful than the other, punters have a reasonable possibility of winning if they back either of those.

Due to the possibility of a draw, football handicap betting is slightly different from handicap betting in other sports like tennis. For the weaker team, a goal advantage is given to their starting score, while a goal penalty is taken away for the stronger team.

When the final handicapped scores of both teams are equal, the game is declared a tie.

In situations where standard match betting markets don't offer genuine value, football handicap betting might be a beneficial alternative. Football games in which the favorite is priced considerably below evens (such as 1/8) or the underdog is priced high (such as 20/1) but has no realistic probability of winning are good examples.

The handicap betting market balances the power differential between the two teams in these contests. Due to a lack of proper assessment by bookies, one club may be given an unfair advantage in a matchup. This is the ideal time to gamble on handicaps.

NFL Football Betting

As far as worldwide handicap betting is concerned, NFL handicapping in the American Football market is the most widely accepted. It's possible that simplicity plays a role. The American football handicap markets can appear formidable, but they aren't that scary here. 

For example, if you bet on the Dallas Cowboys to win their game against the Chicago Bears on a bookie that gives them a -4.5 point favorite, and the Cowboys win by more than 4.5 points, you win your bet. Alternatively, if you bet on the Bears, you will only win your bet if the Chicago team's final score, with an additional 4.5 points added to it, exceeds the Dallas Cowboys' final score.

Rugby Handicap Betting

Rugby handicap betting is similar to NFL handicapping in that you are offered odds of one club winning or losing by a specified number of points.

In the 2019 World Cup Finals, Wales took on France. Due to Wales' -5 handicap, any bettor placing this handicap bet must expect the Welsh to win by at least 5 points. That's why you would have lost your wager had you placed your bet on Wales (-5) because the French were at +5, which implies that if they won or lost by five points, you would have lost your bet had you placed it on Wales.

Jaco Peyper, the South African referee in charge of the knock-on regulation, misinterpreted the rule and allowed Wales to come from behind to win 20-19. South Africans planning future vacations to France may want to practice their American accents first.

Other Types of Handicap Betting

Asian Handicap Betting

Asian handicap betting is a type of football handicapping. Asian handicap betting's enormous popularity has given the sport its newfound notoriety. The goal of Asian Handicap betting is to offer odds that are as close to even money as possible on each side.

For example, Anyone who placed an Asian Handicap bet on Manchester City vs. Southampton would win if Pep Guardiola's team triumphed 5-1, with City at -3.5 and Southampton at +3.5. Three things are certain in life: death, taxes, and Man City winning over 3.5 goals on Asian Handicap. All pun-intended. 

No Draw Handicap Betting

Betting on a no-draw handicap eliminates the possibility of a draw, which secures a winner regardless of the outcome. Certain outcomes are eligible for half-goal/half-point handicaps in no-draw handicap markets.

Let’s look at this example; Southampton has a 0.5-goal advantage over Liverpool in the no-draw handicap market before kickoff in a football match.

Suppose the game ends 1-1.  Since the final score would be Liverpool 1 and Southampton 1.5, your wager on Southampton had a good chance of winning you some money!


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James is responsible for the Ghanaian market on BettingGuide. He has a keen interest in sports betting and Gambling laws in particular. James is a Lawyer practising in East Africa, loves writing, and has a Law Degree from Makerere University, Uganda and a Post Graduate Diploma from the Kenya School of Law, Kenya.

Last updated: 10/18/2022