Handicap Betting Explained

Handicapped betting is an alternative way to bet on certain events. For instance, if a professional 100m sprinter lined up against the average bloke off the street, you would expect the professional sprinter to win every time. This would be boring to bet on, and you would never get interesting odds. How about if you gave the average bloke a 50m head start? That would make the race outcome harder to predict. Suddenly, it would be more interesting to bet on.

This is exactly how handicap betting works. You are effectively giving one outcome an advantage, and the other outcome a disadvantage to make something you’re betting on more even.

How Does a Single Handicap Work?

Let’s take the example of football as it is the most popular sport in the UK. The number in brackets after the team name denotes the advantage or disadvantage applied to the handicap. Let’s go through some examples:

0.5 handicap e.g. Arsenal (-0.5) v Newcastle (0.5)

  • Newcastle is effectively starting the game with half a goal advantage.
  • If you’re backing Arsenal, and they win the match, you win your bet.
  • However, if you’re backing Arsenal and the match ends in a draw, you lose your bet.
  • If you’re backing Newcastle, you win the bet if they win or draw the match.

1 handicap e.g. Arsenal (-1.0) v Newcastle (1.0)

  • Newcastle is effectively starting the game with a one-goal advantage.
  • If you’re backing Arsenal they must win by at two goals for you to win your bet.
  • However, if you’re  backing Arsenal and they only win by one goal, the result is effectively a draw and your stake is refunded.
  • If you’re backing Newcastle, you win the bet if they win or draw the match. If lose the match by one goal, your stake is refunded.

1.5 handicap e.g. Arsenal (-1.5) v Newcastle (1.5)

  • Newcastle is effectively starting the game with a one and a half goal advantage.
  • Because it is a bit more than a single goal, the ability for a draw to occur is eliminated.
  • If you’re backing Arsenal to win, they again must score at least two goals for you to win your bet.
  • If you’re backing Newcastle to win, they must either win the match, draw, or concede by only one goal.

2 handicap e.g. Manchester City (-2.0) v West Ham (2.0)

  • West Ham is effectively starting the game with a two-goal advantage.
  • If you’re backing Manchester City to win, they must win the game by a margin of three goals or more.
  • If you’re backing Manchester City to win, and they win by a margin of two goals, your stake will be refunded.
  • If you’re backing West Ham, you will win your bet providing they lose by a goal margin of only one.
  • If you’re backing West Ham, and they lose by a margin of two goals, your stake will be refunded.

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

  • West Ham is effectively starting the game with a two and a half goal advantage.
  • If you’re backing Manchester City,  they must win the game by a margin of three goals or more for you to win your bet.
  • If you’re backing West Ham, as long as they don’t lose by a margin of three goals or more, you will win your bet.

What Sports Can Handicaps Be Used For??

Although football is the most popular sport to apply handicaps, there are other sports which often have handicap markets, including:

  • Rugby – one of the teams will start with a points advantage. The points handicap will be greater due to higher point scoring nature of rugby.
  • Golf – many bookies will allow you to place handicaps on players’ rounds, for instance, +3 shots.
  • Tennis – handicaps can be applied to either sets or games. If the handicap applies to games, then all the games from the match will be totalled up to form the outcome, which might not necessarily be the same as the winner of the match.

What is Asian Handicap Betting?

Asian handicap betting is the name handicap betting specifically in football. The name has risen due to the massive popularity of handicap betting in Asia. Asian Handicap betting will aim to make each team have an equal chance of winning, so that as close to evens will be offered on each team.

How Does Asian Handicap Betting Work?

Asian handicap guide

Asian handicap is a form of betting where the draw result is being eliminated. In the standard 1X2 wagering, the possibilities of each outcome are 33%.

You have two betting options, betting on home or away, so you have a 50% chance of success.

Actually, Asian handicap betting offers to the underdog of the game an early lead before kick off.

But, in football, one goal can change everything in your favor, or the opposite side. Let us make you understand the explanations of the rules below.

There are lots of Asian handicap lines and you will read most of them through this page. Please ask your questions in the comments if you do not understand any points or rules.

For the rest of the guide, we will use AH for abbreviation.

Take a look at the following Asian handicap table.

Asian handicap 0:0 (Level ball – Draw no bet – DNB)

Asian handicap 0:0 (Level ball – Draw no bet – DNB)

Here the game starts 0-0. No advance is being given to any team. Draw option is being eliminated and the rules are simple.

Example: Chelsea vs Liverpool AH – 0:0

Home Odds – 1.90, Away Odds – 1.95

* You bet 100$ on Chelsea to win 0:0 AH at 1.90 odds. To win your coupon, you need Chelsea to win the game.

If Chelsea wins, you win 100$ X 1.90 = 190$. Your profit is 190$ – 100 = 90$.

If a possible draw occurs, you get your stake (100$) back. No wager, no bet.

If Chelsea loses the game, you lose your bet too.

* It is the same with Liverpool 0:0 AH. You need Liverpool to win the game.

If a draw occurs, you get your money back. No Wager, no bet.

If Liverpool loses, you lose your bet too.

You may see some bookies offer something like DNB, Draw no bet, or Level ball. It is the same with 0:0 AH and in most cases used in football bets.

Asian handicap 0.25

Here the game starts 0-1/4 (goal handicaps). The underdog team is being advanced with a quarter goal before the kickoff. Draw option is being eliminated.

It is more complicated from half AH. You win, win half, lose or lose half stake of your bet. Let’s examine it by the example below.

Example: Monaco vs Lyon AH – 0:1/4

Home Odds – 2.00, Away Odds – 1.90

* You bet 100$ on Monaco to win -1/4 AH. To win your coupon, you need Monaco to win the game.

If Monaco wins, you win 100$ X 2.00 = 200$. It means you make 200$ – 100$ = 100$ profit.

If a draw occurs, you lose half of your stake (50$) and the other half (50$) is back.

If Lyon wins the game, you lose your all stake.

* You bet 100$ on Lyon to win +1/4 AH. To win your coupon, you need Lyon to win the game.

If Lyon wins the game, you win 100$ X 1.90 = 190$. It means you make 190$ – 100$ = 90$ profit.

If a draw occurs, you get half of your stake (50$) back and win the other half (50$) at 1.90. It means, you win 50$ (back) + 95$ (50$ X 1.90) = 145$. Your profit is 145$ – 100$ = 45$.

Asian handicap 0.5

Here the game starts 0-1/2. The underdog team is being advanced with a half goal before the kickoff. Draw option is being eliminated. Also, there is no money back in any case. You will win or lose your money.

Example: Porto vs Benfica AH – 0:1/2

Home Odds – 1.85, Away Odds – 2.00

* You bet 100$ on Porto to win -1/2 AH (we use a minus (-) if the team is being favored by AH). To win your coupon, you need Porto to win. In any other cases, you lose your money.

If Porto wins, you win 100$ X 1.85 = 185$. It means you make 185$ – 100$ = 85$ profit.

If Benfica wins or the game ends to tie, you lose your money.

* You bet 100$ on Benfica to win +1/2 AH (we use a plus (+) if the team is being advanced by AH). To win your coupon, you need Benfica to win or tie the game at the end of 90 minute-time.

If one of these occurs, you win 100$ X 2.00 = 200$. It means you make 200$ – 100$ = 100$ profit.

If Porto wins the game, you lose your money.

Porto wins and Porto -1/2 AH is the same things in AH betting.

Asian handicap 0.75

Here the game starts 0-3/4. The underdog team is being advanced with a quarter goal before the kickoff. Draw option is being eliminated. It is different from 1/4 AH with a slight exception.

Example: Betis vs Real Madrid AH – 3/4:0

Home Odds – 1.90, Away Odds – 1.90

* You bet 100$ on Betis to win +3/4 AH. (Here the home team is underdog; as a result of it, Betis is being advanced by the AH). To win your coupon, you need Betis to win or tie the game.

If Betis wins or ties the game, you win 100$ X 1.90 = 190$. Your profit is 190$ – 100$ = 90$.

Consider that the game ends with Real Madrid win by 1 (0-1, 1-2, 2-3). Thus, you lose your half stake (50$) and the other half (50$) returns.

If Real Madrid wins the game by 2 or more goals (0-2, 1-3, 0-3), you lose your all stake.

* You bet 100$ on Real Madrid to win -3/4 AH. To win your coupon, you need Real Madrid to win by 2 or more goals (0-2, 0-3, 1-3).

If Real Madrid wins the game by 2 or more goals, you win 100$ X 1.90 = 190$. Your profit is 190$ – 100$ = 90$.

If Real Madrid wins by 1 goal (0-1, 1-2, 2-3), you get your half stake (50$) and win the other half (50$ X 1.90). You win 50$ (back) + 95 (50$ X 1.90) = 145$. Your profit is 145$ – 100$ = 45$.

If the game ends tied or Betis wins, you lose your all stake.

Asian handicap -1

Here the game starts 0-1. One goal advance is being given to underdog team. Draw option is being eliminated again.

Example: Juventus vs Bologna AH – 0:1

Home Odds – 1.80, Away Odds – 2.05

* You bet 100$ on Juventus to win -1 AH. To win your coupon, you need Juventus to win by 2 or more goals (2-0, 3-0, 3-1).

If Juventus wins by 2 or more goals, you win 100$ X 1.80 = 180$. You profit is 180$ – 100$ = 80$.

If Juventus wins by 1 goal (1-0, 2-1, 3-2..), you get your money back. No wager.

If the game ties or Bologna wins, you lose all your stake.

* You bet 100$ on Bologna to win +1 AH. To win your coupon, you need Bologna to win or a draw.

If the game ends drawn or Bologna wins, you win 100$ X 2.05 = 205$. Your profit is 205$-100$ = 105$.

If Bologna loses by 1 (1-0, 2-1, 3-2), you get your money back. No Wager.

Yet, any Juventus win by 2 or more, make you lose your bet.

Alternative Asian handicap markets

This is not something special that will make you wonder. It is how the bookies are listing the options for their software.

For example, Bookies is offering the standard AH option, depending on the odds of the game. They list all other AH options under a different section called ‘Alternative AH’.

Example: Huddersfield vs Wigan. The main AH option is -0.5 @1.85 for Huddersfield, +0.5 @2.05 for Wigan.

This is being listed in their AH section as the main AH offer.

All other AH options like -0.75, -1, -1.25, -1.5 etc, are being listed under ‘Alternative AH’ section.

Summary

Handicap betting provides one team with a goal disadvantage (-0.5, -1, or 1.5 for example) for betting purposes. This can make games with a superior team more equal and interesting to bet on. A team must score more one more goal than their handicap to win a bet.