What is handicap betting?

28 Mar 2021
14:19
Handicap Betting

Another popular type of bet is handicap betting. There are two common types: the Asian handicap and the European handicap (three-way handicap).

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How does it work?

The basic concept of handicap is simple: bookmakers equalize opponents' chances to 50-50 by adding a certain number of goals/points/games to the underdog of the match.

Asian handicap

Let’s look at the handicap using the example of a football match, as betting on the Asian handicap in football is very popular.

So, Celtic meet Milan on their field, and the bookmakers offer a bet on Celtic with a handicap of -1.5 goals. That means that your bet will win if Celtic wins by two or more goals.

It is effortless to calculate such a bet: after the end of the match, you subtract the handicap value from the number of goals scored by Celtic – in our case, it is 1.5 goals. If, after that, the result is still in favor of Celtic, then your bet has won. If not, you lose your bet. Let’s say Celtic beats Milan 3:1.

3 - 1.5 = 1.5

The final score, taking into account the handicap, is 1.5:1. Your bet has won.

And if Celtic won 1:0 against Milan, then:

1 - 1.5 = −0.5

The final score taking into account the handicap, is −0.5:0. Your bet is lost.

Bets on Milan’s victory with a handicap of +1.5 will calculate in the same way. In this case, the handicap should not be taken away but added to the total number of goals that the Italians scored. If after that the result is in their favor – you won.

Varieties of Asian handicaps in football

Asian handicap is the most popular and widespread type of handicap. Have a look at the types of Asian handicaps in football.

• Handicap -0.5 or +0.5

Team A (-0.5) vs. Team B (+0.5)

Here Team A is the favorite with a narrow margin. Thus, Team B is given half of the goal in advance of the final result.

In other words, if the match ends in a draw, in our case, the bet on the victory of Team B (+0.5) wins because this team will end up with 0.5 more goals.

That means that if you bet on Team B, you will be satisfied with two outcomes - this team's victory or a draw. In other words: you need Team B not to lose.

If you bet on Team A (-0.5), you will only be satisfied with this team's victory. Because if Team A draws or loses, the result of the match with a handicap will not be in their favor.

• Asian handicap 0 / outcome without a draw

The bet eliminates a draw as a possible outcome of the match - in case of a draw, the bettor will receive a refund. If you bet on Team A with a “0” handicap against Team B and Team A wins, you win. If there is a draw in the match, your bet is refunded. But if team A loses, your bet loses.

Handicap 0 is your insurance in case of a draw.

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• Asian handicap 1

The betting principle for this handicap is the same as for +0.5. The only exception is that one goal is added to the team’s final score.

So, Celtic and Milan are playing. Bookmakers offer to bet on Celtic to win with a handicap of -1 or Milan to win with a handicap of +1. Thus, the chalk in this match is the Scottish team. If you bet on Milan (+1), your bet will only lose if Celtic wins by two or more goals. If Milan loses by exactly one goal difference, the money you bet will return to your account.

Let’s look at all the possible results that a bet on the specified handicap can have. So, you bet on the Milan players with the Asian handicap +1. The match ended with:

• Milan's victory – your bet has won;
• Draw – your bet has won (since Milan has one goal advantage);
• Milan's defeat with exactly one goal difference – the bet is refunded;
• Milan’s defeat with a difference of two or more goals – your bet is lost;

There are also handicaps 2, 3 and more.

• Asian handicap 1.5

The calculation principle for this handicap is the same as for the handicap 1. The only difference is that this time, not one goal but 1.5 goals are added to Milan’s final result if we take the example of the match above. In this case, the refund of the bet is not allowed.

So, possible outcomes betting on the victory of Milan with the handicap of +1.5 are:

• Milan win – your bet has won;
• Draw – your bet has won;
• Milan’s defeat with exactly one goal difference – your bet has won;
• Milan’s defeat by two or more goals – your bet is lost
• Double Asian handicap

Since goals are limited in football, the bookmakers had an idea to offer a double handicap. The double handicap divides the value of the bet. In other words, if you bet on a double Asian handicap, the stake will be split into two halves. The first bet will be on one part of the double handicap, and the second one - on the other.

Let's look at an example. So we have a bet on Celtic to win with a double Asian handicap of 0; +0.5 (often a similar handicap is given as +0.25). You bet 100 dollars on it. It turns out that 50 dollars will be wagered on Celtic’s victory with a “0” handicap, and 50 dollars – on Celtic’s victory with a “+0.5” handicap.

And now let’s consider all the possible outcomes:

• Celtic win – both halves of your bet win, that is, your bet wins entirely;
• Celtic draws the game – one half of your bet wins, the other half of the bet is returned to your account. In other words, you win exactly half of what you could have won if Celtic win;
• Celtic loses – both halves of your bet lose, that is, your bet loses entirely.

If you bet 100 dollars on the Celtic’s victory with a handicap of 0; −0.5 (or −0.25), it turns out that 50 dollars were wagered on the victory of Celtic’s with a handicap of 0, and 50 dollars – on the victory of Celtic with a handicap of -0.5.

Let's consider the possible outcomes:

• Celtic wins - both halves of your bet win, that is, your bet wins entirely;
• Celtic draws - one half of your bet is lost, and the other half is returned to your account. In other words, you lose half of your bet;
• Celtic loses - both halves of your bet lose, that is, your bet loses entirely

As you can see, there are many options for Asian handicaps. At first glance, it’s not easy but interesting! Once you understand it, we’re sure you’ll love handicap betting.

European Handicap

The European handicap differs from the Asian handicap in that it has only integer handicap values. If your handicap results in a draw, you lose the bet since there is a different outcome for a draw in the European handicap.

Take, for example, the Celtic vs. Milan game. You bet on Milan with a European handicap of +1, and let's say Celtic beats an opponent 2:1.

1 + 1 = 2

The final score taking into account the handicap, is 2:2. Your bet is lost. But if the teams drew or Milan won, your bet would have won.

Let’s look at an example of a draw bet with a European handicap. You only win a bet when the final score is a draw. Let's say you bet on a draw with the Celtic -1 /Milan +1 handicap.

Let’s consider the possible outcomes:

• Celtic wins by one goal - your bet wins;
• Celtic wins by more than one goal difference - your bet is lost;
• The teams tied - your bet loses, as Milan won with the handicap;
• Milan wins - your bet loses.
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In conclusion, we note that bookmakers are not limited to football, offering handicap bets. Similar bets are also accepted in basketball, hockey, tennis, rugby, American football, baseball, and other sports.

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