All sporting activities are based on chances. Therefore, bookmakers calculate the teams' chances of winning. This is statistically based on probability, which is represented by odd. Odds could be longer or shorter. It represents the winning potentials of the teams. Handicap betting is one of the most popular sports betting strategies, yet, many punters do not understand its working principle. This sports betting type is offered by bookmakers on almost every football match. Hence, it usually occurs when there is an apparent strength difference between the two teams. Consequently, it provides one team, usually the favorite with one or more goal(s) disadvantage, which it must overcome to be victorious.
Rather than wagering on matches with lower odds, a handicap increases punters' odd by giving the underdog an ahead winning. Afterward, giving the underdog a 'head start' makes the punt more interesting.
Handicap betting presents either a positive or negative point to each team or player depending on which is identified as the underdog (weaker) or favorite (stronger), respectively.
How does handicap betting work?
Handicap betting working principle is quite simple. It measures a contest based on the apparent difference in competing teams’ strength and ability. It then uses this ability to offer valuable odds to bettors. In a handicap market, wagering is done by placing a team at a disadvantage (handicap) i.e., boosting the underdog with a head start. The final result is calculated by adding the aggregate score, taking the head-start into account.
For instance, Manchester City vs. Southampton (giving Southampton a goal head-start). This means that Manchester City is the favorite, while Southampton is the underdog. If the result of the match ended 2 goals to nill in favor of M. City, you win the bet. But, if the match ended in a draw, you lose as the aggregate score will be in favor of Southampton.
Another example could be a match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace. Based on the performance of Liverpool, it is expected that the team will beat its counterpart (Crystal Palace). The bookmaker might give Crystal Palace a 3-1 handicap advantage.
If you then place a handicap bet on Liverpool to win. Eventually, if they won the game 2-0, you lose the placed bet.
It is important to bear in mind that while staking a handicap betting type, the handicap only applies to the selection you are betting on.
Types of handicap betting
There are three main distinct types of handicap betting. They are outlined below.
1. Three-way handicap betting
In this type of betting, there are three outcomes of a bet: a win, draw, or loss. This type of handicap betting offers punters the privilege to bet on the handicap tie option. Selecting the handicap tie method means punting the contest, finishing in a triumph for the team receiving the deficit (favorite) by the exact winning margin or more.
Example of the three-way handicap bet:
A handicap bet may be presented as follows:
Handicap Tie (-1)
West Ham (+2)
If the match ended in a 1-0 victory for Chelsea, and you bet on Chelsea to win, unfortunately, you would not win the placed bet. Chelsea would have needed to score the exact goals as the handicap indicated or more for the bet to win.
Fortunately, if you bet on the handicap tie, the bet would be won as Chelsea won by the exact margin, which is 1.
2. Level handicap betting
This handicap betting type is alternatively known as No-draw handicap betting. Both opponents are capable of winning the other, thereby having equal chances. In contrast to the three-way handicap betting, no-draw handicap betting ensures that there are two outcomes of betting. This could either be a win or a loss. It implies that the possibility of a draw is eliminated by allowing half point(s) such as 0.5, 1.5, 2.5, etc. to certain outcomes. Therefore, it makes it perfect for punters in search of an alternative for conventional 1x2.
Example of level handicap bet;
In a UEFA Championship league match between Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain, the bookmaker gives Barcelona a handicap of –2.5. You place a bet on Paris Saint Germain.
The match resulted in a 4-1 win in favor of Barcelona. The aggregate result becomes 1.5-1 win. You, therefore, won the bet.
3. Asian handicap betting
Asian handicap betting derived its name from a type of betting that exists in Asia. This type of football betting market is planned to level the playing field as all handicap betting does. It is a variation of the level handicap bet type, but it exists in two sub-types. For this reason, they offer the possibility of split whereby you could select a whole, half, or a quarter number. Hence, the bettor places two bets on the same game.
Example of single Asian handicap bet:
Assuming you want to bet on Real Madrid, which is -2 on the single handicap market against Juventus. If Real Madrid leads by 3 or more, you win the bet. If they win by a margin of one goal, your stake will be returned, but you lose the bet in a draw or win for Juventus.
Example of a split Asian handicap bet:
There might be two teams, for instance, A and B. Team A might be given a handicap of -2 and -2.5. If team A wins by 3 goals or more, you win the bet. But if team A wins by 2 goals, half of your stake will be returned because your whole stake is split over the two bets.
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