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what is handicap betting - sportytrader

What is Handicap Betting?

Discover the advantages of Handicap Betting: The most popular form of sports betting in the United States and Asia.

Handicap betting can be used to make placing wagers on sport even more exciting. It can also allow gamblers to place bets on events that they might not otherwise do so. As will be explained, the latter is usually the case when two teams meet and one is vastly superior to the other.

There are two types of handicap betting:

  • Traditional handicap
  • Asian handicap

Traditional Handicap Betting

Traditional handicap betting is based on goals or points. In a football match for example, one goal can be subtracted from the side who are the favourites or one added to their opponents.

If you're betting on the favourite, they will need to perform better than its handicap if you are to win your bet. For example, if Manchester United play Brighton and Hove Albion at home, they will be expected to win the game. If you bet on them to win on a -1 handicap, then they effectively start the match a goal behind their opponents. For your handicap bet to win, United must win by two clear goals.

Handicap bets may be offered for any sports but they are particularly common in Rugby and American sports. Why is this the case?  Well in rugby (both union and league) and in American Football, there are a certain number of points given for each score, whether it be a try, conversion, penalty, touchdown or field goal. This means there can be some high scores in these sports.

Handicap betting is good to use in rugby for example. If it’s a game with a side that is a lot better than the other, then betting on the superior team to win isn’t going to make you a fortune as the odds will be extremely short, perhaps something like 1.05 (1/20) or even shorter.

Choosing the handicap market will allow you to get much better odds. It can also make the betting a lot more exciting. A match could see the favourites winning 20-0 but you may have backed them on a -24 handicap so will be wanting them to score more points to secure you a winning bet.

This type of betting can also be useful in football. This is particularly the case in some European competitions or a World Cup. The odds on Brazil beating New Zealand will be very low, but a handicap bet will give you better odds.

It’s not all about the favourite though. You can back the outsider to win the game on a handicap. Go back to that Manchester United v Brighton and Hove Albion match. You can bet on Brighton to win on a +2 handicap. This gives them a two-goal start so unless they lose by three goals, you will win.

Example of traditional handicap betting

Handicap: A rugby union international between England and Italy.

England starts with a handicap of 25 points. The odds are as follows:

England -25DrawItaly +25
1.8201.8

The possible results are:

  • If England win the match by more than 25 points then a bet on them will be a winner.
  • If England win the match but by a margin less than 25 points or Italy surprisingly win, then the Italians will be the winners on the handicap.
  • England beats Italy by exactly 25 points: the correct forecast is a drawn match.

Asian Handicap Betting

Asian Handicap Betting is closely related to a Traditional Handicap, but it has a number of important differences:

  • You cannot bet on a drawn match
  • Handicaps of ¼, ½ or ¾ are possible

The following specific provisions apply when calculating profits and losses:

  • Your stake is refunded if the result is a drawn match after the handicap is taken into consideration
  • Your profit or loss is halved if the result is a victory by a quarter of a goal after the handicap is taken into consideration

The notation system for the Asian handicap uses the symbol ( : ). For example, a handicap of 0:1 means that a goal is added to the score of the away team.

Here are the different types of Asian handicaps:

0: 0 Asian Handicap

This is the handicap given when there is no favourite. The stake is refunded if the match is drawn.

Match

Newcastle

HandicapLiverpool
Newcastle - Liverpool1.90:01.9

A bet on Newcastle wins if Newcastle wins the match and loses if Liverpool wins. If the match is a draw, the stake is refunded.

0:0 HandicapScoreScore after handicapBet on NewcastleBet on Liverpool
Newcastle wins2:02:0WonLost
Draw1:11:1RefundedRefunded
Liverpool wins0:10:1LostWon

0: 1/4 Asian Handicap

This handicap means that one of the teams is given a 0.25 goal start on the other at kickoff. The profit or loss is halved if the match is drawn.

MatchAC MilanHandicapArsenal
AC Milan - Arsenal1.90:1/41.9

A bet on AC Milan wins if AC Milan wins the match and loses if Arsenal wins. In the event of a draw, a bet on AC Milan will cost you half of your stake, while a bet on Arsenal will earn you half the money that you could have otherwise expected to win .

0:1/4 HandicapScoreScore after handicapBet on AC MilanBet on Arsenal
AC Milan wins1:01:0.25WonLost
Draw1:11:1.25Lost halfWon half 
= Stake * (odds-1) / 2
Arsenal wins0:10:1.25LostWon

0: ½ Asian Handicap

This handicap means that one of the teams is given a 0.5 goal start on the other at kickoff.

MatchMonacoHandicapLille
Monaco - Lille1.90:1/21.9

A bet on Monaco wins if Monaco wins the match and loses if Lille wins or if the match ends in a draw.

0:1/2 HandicapScoreScore after handicapBet on MonacoBet on Lille
Monaco wins1:01:0.5WonLost
Draw0:00:0.5LostWon
Lille wins0:10:1.5LostWon

0: 3/4 Asian Handicap

This handicap means that one of the teams is given a 0.75 goal start on the other at kickoff. The profit or loss is halved if the favourite wins by a difference of one goal.

MatchValenciaHandicapBilbao
Valencia - Bilbao1.90:3/41.9

A bet on Valencia wins if Valencia wins the match by a difference of at least two goals but loses if the match is a draw or if Bilbao wins. However, if Valencia wins by just one goal, a bet on Valencia will only earn you half of what you could have otherwise expected to win , while a bet on Bilbao will result in you losing half of your stake.

0:3/4 HandicapScoreScore after handicapBet on ValenciaBet on Bilbao
Valencia wins by a difference of at least 2 goals2:02:0.75WonLost
Valencia wins by just one goal1:01:0.75Won half = Stake * (odds-1) / 2Lost half
Draw1:11:1.75LostWon
Bilbao wins0:10:1.75LostWon

0: 1 Asian Handicap

This handicap means that one of the teams is given a 1 goal start on the other at kickoff. The stake is refunded if the favourite wins by a difference of one goal.

MatchPortoHandicapBraga
Porto - Braga1.90:11.9

A bet on Porto wins if Porto wins the match by a difference of at least two goals and loses if the match is drawn or Braga wins. If Porto wins by a single goal, the stake is refunded.

0:1 HandicapScoreScore after handicapBet on PortoBet on Braga
Porto wins by a difference of at least 2 goals2:02:1WonLost
Porto wins by a single goal1:01:1RefundedRefunded
Draw1:11:2LostWon
Braga wins0:10:2LostWon

0: 1 3/4 Asian Handicap

This handicap means that one of the teams is given a 1.75 goal start on the other at kickoff. The profit or loss is halved if the favourite wins by a difference of two goals.

MatchStuttgartHandicapFreiburg
Stuttgart - Freiburg1.90:1 3/41.9

A bet on Stuttgart wins if Stuttgart wins the match by a difference of at least two goals and loses if Stuttgart wins by a single goal, if the match is drawn or if Freiburg wins the match. However, if Stuttgart wins by a difference of exactly two goals, a bet on Stuttgart will only earn you half of what you could have otherwise expected to win , whereas a bet on Freiburg will lose you half your stake.

0:1 3/4 HandicapScoreScore after handicapBet on StuttgartBet on Freiburg
Stuttgart wins by a difference of at least 2 goals3:03:1.75WonLost
Stuttgart wins by a difference of 2 goals2:02:1.75Won half = Stake * (odds-1) / 2Lost half
Stuttgart wins by a difference of 1 goal1:01:1.75LostWon
Draw1:10:1.75LostWon
Freiburg wins0:10:2.75LostWon


Once you have familiarised yourself with the concept, the Asian handicap offers many advantages:

  • There are only two possible outcomes (a home win or an away win) instead of the three traditional results
  • You have more chances of winning with the Asian handicap due to the additional possibility of pocketing half the expected profit
  • Your losses are reduced by the possibility of losing only half your stake

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