What is Football Handicap betting? – Definition, Odds & Tips

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What is Football Handicap Betting? – Definition and Examples

Asian Handicap betfair

Handicap betting, also called “point betting,” or “line betting,” is used to even out the playing field between two teams who are not evenly matched. The bookmaker gives a virtual advantage to the weaker team, and a virtual disadvantage to the stronger side.

If you bet on the weaker team to win, they would have the edge over the stronger team, and chances would be even. If there weren't a handicap placed by the bookmaker, the stronger side would have won against the weaker team, and it would have been monotonous and predictable.

Handicaps are displayed in brackets after the name of the team. For example, let's say you are betting on a match between Leicester City and Manchester United. If the bookmaker declared a handicap of 1.5, then the results would look like this.

Leicester City (1.5) vs. Manchester United (-1.5)

  • Leicester City is beginning the match with a 1.5 goal advantage compared to their opponent.
  • Because the advantage isn’t more than one goal but not two, there couldn’t be a draw.
  • If you bet on Manchester United to win, they would need at least two goals if you want to win the wager.
  • If you are wagering on Leicester City, they have to either win the match, draw, or concede by a single goal, to win the wager.

What is a No Draw Handicap Bet?

When a handicap is a decimal number, it's called a “no draw handicap bet,” It would effectively eliminate the possibility of a draw because, in many sports, there are no half goals. Keep in mind that in handicap betting the actual advantage or disadvantage is only given to the team you are wagering on.

West Ham (2) vs. Newcastle (-2)

  • If you bet on Newcastle to win, whether they're at home or not, they have to win by a margin of three or more goals.
  • If you bet on West Ham to win, whether they're at home or not, you would win if they lose by a margin of only one goal.
  • If you are backing West Ham, at home or away, then they lose by two goals your bet would be void, and your stake returned.

Since there is no decimal in this handicap, the stake is refunded to you in the event of a draw. Seapking of these Premier League clubs however, how about taking a look at our football betting tips and Premier League predictions if you need some pointers ?

What is Handicap League Betting?

It's similar to the standard handicap betting, but in this case, you wager on a particular football team's performance across the whole season. Different odds get assigned to each team at the beginning of the season, and you place your wager on the side you think would win.

The league favorite is given the “SCR” (zero advantage). Other teams in the league receive odds by the bookmaker's expectation of their play, and weaker teams are given the more significant benefit, and so on.

The critical difference between handicap football betting and handicap league betting is that instead of only giving the advantage to the team you wagered on, you would apply it to all of the teams in the league.

Football Handicap Betting Odds – Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between handicap football betting and Asian handicap?

There is no difference. The term Asian handicap originated because the betting technique became widely popular in Asia. They both aim to make the two teams more equal rather than always having the advantage over the other.

Is handicap betting legal?

Yes, it is. Many licensed UK bookmakers provide it to their customers.

Is handicap betting only available in football?

No, it isn't. Handicap betting applies to sports like Rugby, American Football, Tennis, Basketball, etc. Some bookmakers even apply handicap betting to racing events as well.

What's the difference between European and an Asian handicap?

While Asian handicaps offer the ability to get your stake back and feature a decimal, European handicaps are listed in whole numbers.

When is the best time to wager on handicap bets?

The best time to start placing handicap bets on matches is when the match result or another preferable market you play in don't offer real value. With the help of handicap betting, the chances evened out no matter that one team would have had a ridiculous advantage in an average match.

Are handicap bets also offered in exchanges, not only Sportsbooks?

Yes, they are. Exchanges have better odds than Sportsbooks and give you more freedom to choose your markets and prices.

The Five Top Bookmakers that Offer the Best Football Handicap Betting Odds

We have compiled a list of the UK bookies that offer the best options for handicap wagers. We took into consideration what they currently provide and other important factors that make a bookie great. Here are our top five bookmakers who offer the best handicap odds:

If you have an account at any of these platforms, watch out for Asian handicaps or just handicaps in general and enjoy. If you don't have an account, we suggest you check out what they have to offer and choose one of them to sign-up and claim your welcome bonus.

Our Final Conclusion on Football Handicap Betting

Handicap betting is a widely spread form of sports wagering all around the world.  Handicap betting is most prevalent in Asian markets, that's why it's called Asian Handicap sometimes. There is a crucial difference between the Asian handicap and the European handicap.

For larger scale championships, some people enjoy placing handicap league betting because it's fun, and it takes into consideration the entire team's performance rather than a single match's outcome.

We believe that football handicap betting has a high placement in the online betting scene nowadays, and many new punters would enjoy it even if they don't yet know what it is. Many bookies offer handicap bets, but only some excel in providing the bets themselves and providing substantial handicap betting odds for the customers.


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Gavin Davison

Gavin is a full-time copywriter based in the UK and has developed in-depth knowledge of the igaming world by working in the betting industry for over five years. During this time, he has written thousands of articles covering various topics, including bookmaker reviews, ‘how to’ guides, bonus comparisons and much more.