What is the Meaning of Handicap in Betting?

As a regular bettor who wants to make use of the handicap betting strategy, you must know the meaning of handicap in betting and how it works. Also, before you use this strategy, it is important to consider the type of sport you are wagering on. Although this doesn’t guarantee your winning, it increases your chances of winning the wager.

What is Handicap Betting?

Handicapped betting is a special way to wager on certain games. For example, if a skilled 100m sprinter is lined up against an average sprinter, everyone expects the skilled sprinter to win the race. So this kind of game would be very boring to wager on, and you will not get any interesting odds. But how about if the average sprinter gets a 50m head start? That would definitely spice things up and make the outcome of the race much harder to predict. Unexpectedly, the game becomes more interesting to wager on.

This is a perfect illustration of the meaning of handicap in betting and how it works. Essentially, you are effectively giving one of the outcomes an added advantage, while the other outcome gets a disadvantage. This makes the game you’re wagering on more even.

What Sports Can Handicaps Be Used For?

Although football is by far the most popular sports people apply handicaps, there are still other sports that frequently have handicap markets, such as:

1. Tennis

In the game of Tennis, handicaps can be used in either sets or games. If the handicap relates to games, then the rule states that all the games from the tournament will be summed up to constitute the outcome. This outcome may not even be the same as the team that wins the match.

2. Rugby

Handicaps in Rugby require that none of the teams starts with any point advantage. The points handicap will only be greater due to the higher point-marking nature of rugby.

3. Golf

Golf is another game that many bookies allow players to use the handicap strategy in. Many sportsbooks will permit you to place handicaps on the players’ rounds, for example, +3 shots.

Welcome Bonus ZEbet

How Does A Single Handicap Work?

Since football is one of the most popular sports in the world, let’s take a look at an example using football. The number written in brackets after the name of the team name indicates the advantage or disadvantage related to the handicap. Let’s see some examples:

a. 0.5 handicap e.g. Chelsea (-0.5) v Newcastle (0.5)

  • Newcastle is starting the game with just half a goal advantage.
  • If you’re supporting Chelsea, and this team wins the match, you get to win your bet.
  • On the other hand, if you’re supporting Chelsea and the game ends in a draw, you will lose your bet.
  • If you’re supporting Newcastle and they win the game or it ends in a draw, you win the bet.

b. 1 handicap e.g. Chelsea (-1.0) v Newcastle (1.0)

  • Newcastle is starting the match with a one-goal advantage.
  • If you’re supporting Chelsea they must win by at least two goals before you can win your bet.
  • However, if you’re supporting Chelsea and they win by only one goal, the result of the match is a draw and your bet is refunded.
  • If you’re supporting Newcastle, you win the bet if the team wins or draws the match. If you lose the match by just one goal, your bet is refunded.

c. 1.5 handicap e.g. Chelsea (-1.5) v Newcastle (1.5)

  • Newcastle is starting the game with just one and a half goal advantage.
  • Since it is a little more than a single goal, the capacity for a tie to happen is eliminated.
  • If you’re supporting Chelsea to win, the team must score two or more goals for you to win the wager.
  • If you’re supporting Newcastle to win, the team must either win the game, tie, or concede by just one goal.

d. 2 handicap e.g. Liverpool (-2.0) v West Ham (2.0)

  • West Ham is starting the match with a two-goal advantage.
  • If you’re supporting Liverpool to win, they have to win the match by a margin of at least three goals or more.
  • If you’re supporting Liverpool to win, and the team wins by a margin of just two goals, your bet will be refunded.
  • If you’re supporting West Ham, you will win the bet if they lose the match by a goal margin of just one.
  • If you’re supporting West Ham, and the team loses by a margin of just two goals, your bet will be refunded.

e. 2.5 handicap e.g. Liverpool (-2.50) v West Ham (2.50)

  • West Ham is starting the match with just a two-and-a-half goal advantage.
  • If you’re supporting Liverpool, the team must win the match by a margin of at least three goals or more if you want to win your wager.
  • If you’re supporting West Ham, as long as the team doesn’t lose by a margin of at least three goals, you will win your bet.

What is Asian Handicap Betting?

Asian Handicap betting originated in Asia. It aims to ensure that each team is given an equal chance of winning. Essentially, this type of football betting market is designed to balance the playing fields, just as all handicap bets do. However, it makes ties null and void and this reduces the game to just two possible outcomes, it’s either a win or lose. The Asian Handicap Betting offers the number of goals that a team begins with as 0.5, 1.5, 2.5, etc.

Handicap Betting For Football

Handicap betting in football is just like other sports such as tennis, golf, or darts to name a few. Essentially, you’re giving one of the teams a virtual disadvantage or advantage in a particular match. Handicap betting for football is very popular on matches that are forecasted to be quite one-sided.

Football Handicap Betting Example

For instance, if Arsenal were to play against Bolton Wanderers F.C., the odds that Arsenal will win would be 1/40, while the odds of Bolten winning would be 40/1. This does sound like a bet many people would be interested in. So to spice it up, they can say that Arsenal has to beat Bolten by just five goals at odds of the event for them to win. Now, this makes the outcome of the match much more interesting.

First Half Handicap

This kind of handicap betting in football is very straightforward to understand, as you’re only betting on a particular team to begin with either an advantage or a deficit. If you choose to start a team on a minus one handicap for just the first half, then the team has to be winning by at least two goals by half-time if you want to win the bet. If the team doesn’t score at all, or if they are losing by half-time, you will lose the bet.

Handicap Draw

Essentially, the Handicap draw is the total score of an event being a tie after the handicap market has been used. Hence, Handicap draws can’t happen when the handicap being given by the sportsbooks involves a decimal (such as. 0.5, 1.5, 2.5 etc.), but if a whole number is given, handicap draws can happen.

virtual leagues

What Is A Goal Handicap?

This is a popular term used in a special type of handicap betting market in football betting. In this market, one of the teams had to score a certain number of goals to win against the other team. In the game of football, goals scored can majorly impact the handicap bets that have already been placed.

Football matches can often be one-sided in terms of quality, so sportsbooks provide their users with some value on wagers placed on these types of games. This is when goal handicaps can come in handy. They can be a very useful way to earn a potentially sizable profit based on the chances of each of the handicap betting markets that are being given by a betting site.

What is the Difference Between Handicap and Spread Betting?

Essentially, the handicap and spread betting strategies are the same thing. The only difference is in their names.

In the end, it is still one of the teams that begins the sporting fixture with just a virtual head start. The major purpose of this is to balance the playing field and establish a fair contest for the inferior team.


Now that you’ve understood the meaning of handicap in betting and how it works, we hope that you are able to apply it effectively in the real world. The knowledge you get from here can come in handy when you encounter handicap betting situations. Remember, betting is just a game of chance and there are no guarantees of you winning the bet, as learning these only increases your chances of placing better bets.

ZEbet offers the highest odds with fast deposits, withdrawals and multiple market options for players to enjoy steady wins.

Start enjoying the best live betting experience and win big today!

Play Now