What Is Handicap Betting? Everything You Need To Know

Handicap betting is becoming an increasingly popular way of betting among the more confident punters and is a great way to maximise profit.

It works in a similar way to how a golf handicap would work. Essentially, one outcome is given a head start. It is becoming more and more popular in football betting, and it’s well worth getting involved in if you bet regularly.


What Is Handicap Betting and How Does It Work?

As mentioned, handicap betting is given one team a head start and then odds are then given accordingly. So, let’s make an example of a fixture between Manchester City and Swansea City and use the SBK sign-up bonus to use a £30 free bet on this handicap bet.

A Handicap selection would look a little something like this:

Manchester City (-3.0) 2/1

Handicap Draw (-3.0) 16/5

Swansea City (+3.0) 5/6

In this scenario, Swansea are being given a three-goal head start, hence the +/- 3.0. This is then followed by the odds. So if you were to back Manchester City at 2/1, to win City would have to win the game by four goals or more. Should they win by three, a stake is often refunded and referred to as a handicap draw. This may not always be the case though.

In matches that are a little more evenly matched, you’ll tend to find the handicap will be smaller.

You may also get a no draw handicap bet. In this case, a team will be given a half handicap advantage at one of the top UK bookmakers we have reviewed for football. This means that once a handicap has been applied, there is no possibility of a draw. After all, you can’t score half a goal.


Handicap League Betting

Handicap bets aren’t just applied to match bets and can be offered on the outcome of leagues. This works in exactly the same way, however instead of goals, points are taken into account.

How it works is the team favourite to win the league at any given time will be given a handicap of zero. Every other team will then be given a handicap score which will amount to the number of points they receive as a head start.

This means if Manchester City were favourite to win the league, they’d be given a handicap of 0. Should you want to back Liverpool for example, they may have a handicap of +7. Naturally, the weaker teams in the league are given larger handicap totals, and at the end of the season handicap scores are added to total points. This doesn’t just mean a handicap will be added to the team you backed however. They would be added to each team. The team with the most points, including the handicap, would then be the league winners in the handicap betting market.


What Sports Can Handicap Betting Be Played With?

Football is generally the most popular market for handicap betting but it can be played across a number of sports.

Most commonly you’ll find them offered in the following sports…

Golf: Bookies will offer odds in the very same way golf handicaps work. Handicaps will be given to players’ rounds, for instance given an additional 3 shots, or minus two shots. These will be represented in the same manner as the football example given above.

Rugby: This will be in exactly the same context as football with teams given points and minus points in each match. Naturally, like football, handicaps will be higher when favourites play weaker sides and smaller if teams are more evenly matched.

Tennis: In tennis, handicaps will be given to either sets or games dependent on the bookmaker. If the handicap is games, the total number of games will be added up at the end of the match and the handicaps will be added/subtracted.


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