When it comes to betting, each individual will have a different preference on the markets they like to use.

Some may enjoy the challenge of picking the first goalscorer in a game, whilst others will go for the long shot, such as backing Leicester City to win the Premier League at 5,000-1!

Either way, the bookmakers provide players with an array of markets and that results in more opportunities for the punters. However, looking through your favourite site can be a daunting task if you don’t understand what everything means.

And, one aspect some struggle with is handicap betting but here we will explain how it works and how it can enhance your overall betting experience.

Why Bet on Handicaps?

Firstly, the purpose of this market is to give you a different way of betting on an event and it will be available on the majority of sports. For example, in football, Manchester City may start with a -1 handicap against Aston Villa, which means they are starting a goal down.

Therefore, for you to win your bet, you would need City to win by two or more goals. Of course, the odds would reflect that and a better price would be available than on a standard City win. If Pep Guardiola’s side were to win by one goal, meaning the outcome of the handicap was a draw, you would see your stake refunded.

It can get more complicated when you see half numbers, so using the same two teams, Manchester City could be seen with a -0.5 handicap.

In that instance, City are starting the game half a goal down, meaning they only need to win the game for you to secure a profit. This obviously eliminates the chances of a draw, so if the match ended all square, your bet would lose.

With handicap betting, there are usually plenty of options available, so if you wanted a handicap of 1, 2, 3, 4 and so on or 0.5, 1.5, 2.5 etc, they will be available and the odds will change depending on the likelihood of each event happening.

You don’t have to bet on the favourites to win big with handicap betting though. Continuing with the same teams, if you thought Aston Villa would avoid a hammering against City you may back them at a handicap of +1.5. Therefore, they start with a one-and-a-half goal start, so even if they lost the game by a single strike, your bet would win.

Other Sports Handicap Betting

Football is the most popular for handicap betting but it is available on a host of other sports, including rugby and tennis. Again, the same methods apply; in rugby, one team will start with a points deficit and one a lead and the odds will reflect that. Meanwhile, in tennis, you can bet on the games or the sets.

Ultimately, handicap betting gives the players a chance to find more value in their favourite games and that different angle can make a fixture or sporting event much more interesting. It can be particularly useful if you don’t fancy the prospect of betting on a huge odds-on favourite. Once it has been broken down, it is easy to understand and you are essentially giving an individual or a team a disadvantage or advantage to start.


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