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Handicap Betting Guide: What Does Handicap Means in Betting?

If you want to get in on the action of sports betting but aren't sure where to start, handicap betting is a great way to learn the ropes without having to worry about making a fool of yourself.

Published on 27 Mar 2023

Table of Contents:

Handicap Betting: An Overview

Handicap betting, also known as line betting, the spread, points betting, and the Asian handicap, is a method by which a bookmaker converts a sporting event with varying odds into an even money contest by giving a virtual advantage or disadvantage to certain competitors in order to level the playing field.

The oddsmakers will basically give one team a numerical advantage over the other that the other team will have to overcome to win. When the odds of winning are high for both teams in a match, this is a good alternative to betting on a single outcome, which usually offers little value. Despite its apparent simplicity, this handicap bet has numerous iterations, collectively referred to as Asian lines.

Take a hypothetical match between Arsenal and West Ham, where the Gunners are -1.4 underdogs in the outright betting but -3.1 underdogs in the -2 handicap market. A £5 wager on the -2 handicap at Arsenal would pay out £15.50 (including the stake return) in the event of a 2-0 victory. On the other hand, you would have won £7 total (£7 profit plus your original stake) if you had risked £5 on a win at 1.4 in the outright betting.

How to Bet on a Handicap League?

In recent years, handicap league betting has become more appealing because you can bet on a team’s success or failure based on how much of a disadvantage you think they have. Bookmakers use handicaps to make it fair for “punters” to test their luck against better players, even if they’re having a bad day or simply want a second chance.

In a handicap league, everyone has the same odds of winning, regardless of how good they are. Handicapping not only ensures that each bettor has an equal shot at winning, but also lets them adjust the stakes at which they wager, increasing their potential payout. That’s why we call it “handicapping,” short for “enhanced odds.”

To make things simpler, most leagues have fixed odds for each team at the beginning of the season. Thus, your team’s odds may vary from 3/2 with one bookmaker to 5/1 with another. No matter what odds you select, you will always have the same amount of chance of winning. Your favorite bookmaker will give your team slightly better odds if it is strong and likely to win the league than if it is weak and unlikely to win.

Betting on the Asian Handicap

Asian handicap betting was first called “hang chang betting” in Indonesia. In the late 1990s, it was renamed for western audiences and has since become very popular in the UK. Let’s use the most popular line in an Asian handicap, -1.5, to illustrate the system and show how the different kinds of Asian handicaps are calculated. In this case, the underdog is given a 1.5-goal advantage prior to kickoff.

For a -1.5 favorite to win, they would need to win by three goals or more. A +1.5 underdog bet that either avoids defeat or loses by a single goal pays out. Quarter and three-quarter goal handicaps make the situation a little more complicated. If you bet on the favorite in the Asian handicap market at a -0.25 point spread, you’ll win if the favorite wins, break even if the game ends in a tie, and lose the bet if the underdog wins. If the underdog you bet on wins, your bet pays out at the odds you chose (in this case, -0.25); if the game ends in a draw, you keep half your stake and win the other half at the odds you chose (in this case, -0.25); if the underdog loses, your bet loses.

Contrarily, this is not the case when betting on the 0.75 Asian handicap line. If you wager on the underdog at a price of +0.75 and they win, you win your bet. If they lose by one goal, you lose half your stake and the other half is returned to your account. If you bet on the favorite at -0.75, you win your entire wager if they win by two goals or more, and you win half of your wager back and the other half if they win by one goal. Your wager is null and void in the event of a tie or a loss. The 1.25, 1.75, 2.75, 3.25, and 3.75 lines are all based on the same principles as Asian handicap betting at -0.25 and +0.75.

In contrast to other types of betting, Asian handicap wagers rarely allow for a tie. If a game has a whole number handicap applied and the score ends in a tie, the bet is nullified and the bettor’s money is returned. It’s also important to remember that in Asian handicap betting, the odds are almost always displayed as decimals.

Betting on the No-Draw Handicap

Bookmakers will sometimes add a twist to the action by giving you the chance to bet on a no-draw handicap. There is no clear favorite in a no-draw handicap betting system because of this. Since you are not a professional gambler, no-draw handicap betting is a good option for you.

A no-draw handicap bet is a common wager in the world of horse racing, even if you’re new to the sport. To win a no-draw bet, you simply need to correctly predict whether or not the score will end in a draw. It’s popular among bettors who don’t know how to pick winners and those who just want a quick and easy way to wager without doing much preparation. Bookmakers in Australia and the United Kingdom often offer no-draw handicaps as an alternative to the more common win, place, and show wagers.

But, the best strategy is to find a reliable bookmaker. Free Betting Reviews, together with partner VOdds, offer bettors not only high odds, but also an exclusive 25% first deposit bonus. Play and win with us!

Other Sports’ Handicapping Systems

Aside from football, handicap betting is available in many other sports. In almost every sport where a score differential determines the winner, handicap betting is an option. Betting on the spread between two teams is called a “handicap,” and it is widely practiced in the NFL and NBA.

Although handicaps are used in horse racing, betting on these handicaps is not a form of the “handicap markets” seen in football and other sports. The British Horseracing Authority assigns each horse a rating that determines how much weight the horse must carry. This rating accounts for the weight of the jockey and the horse’s tack (saddle and weight cloth). Here you’ll find a comprehensive explanation of horse racing handicapping.

Limitations of Handicap Betting

Asian and European handicaps may be the hardest for people who don’t know much about the sport. With the help of our detailed guide and handy table, you should be able to figure out how they work. However, it is very important that you fully understand the different outcomes before you place a handicap bet. If you think the underdog will win, a handicap bet might not be the best choice. When you bet on the underdog to win in the outright market instead of the Asian lines market, you usually get paid more. You could say that handicap betting is in the bookie’s favor because it spreads their risk out among bettors on both sides of the handicap.

In conclusion, understanding the meaning of handicap in betting is crucial for any bettor looking to make informed decisions and increase their chances of winning. Handicap betting is a popular form of sports betting that involves giving one team or player a virtual advantage or disadvantage in a game to level the playing field and create more even odds. With handicap betting, bettors must consider both the actual outcome of the game and the handicap to determine the winning bet. By grasping the concept of handicap betting and applying it effectively, bettors can gain an edge in the sports betting world and potentially turn a profit. Visit Free Betting Reviews to learn about reputable bookmakers you can trust for this kind of wagering.

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