Handicap Betting: A Comprehensive Guide for Sports Enthusiasts

Handicap Betting: A Comprehensive Guide for Sports Enthusiasts

Handicap Betting Guide for Beginners

Online Sports betting has become an exciting and popular activity for sports enthusiasts all over the world. One type of betting that has gained significant attention is handicap betting. In this guide, we’ll discuss everything about handicap, how it works, betting odds, sports to bet on, best sportsbook and more. If you’re into legal form of online betting, stay in the loop and enhance your knowledge in handicap betting options.

What is Handicap Betting Mean?

Handicap betting, also known as spread betting, is a form of wagering in which a bookmaker assigns an advantage or disadvantage to a particular team or player before the start of an event. The purpose of this handicap is to level the playing field and make the odds more appealing for both sides. The handicap is represented by a numerical value, which is added or subtracted from the final score to determine the outcome of the bet

Brief History of Handicap Betting

The origins of handicap betting can be traced back to horse racing in the 18th century, where it was initially introduced to create more balanced races and encourage betting. Over time, handicap betting expanded to other sports, including football, basketball, and tennis, becoming a popular choice for bettors around the globe.

Why Does Handicap Bet is Important in Betting?

Handicap betting plays a crucial role in sports betting as it offers an alternative to traditional fixed odds betting. By introducing a handicap, bookmakers aim to provide more competitive odds, particularly in matches where there is a clear favorite and underdog. This allows bettors to explore different betting options and potentially find value in bets that would otherwise be unattractive.

Different Types of Handicap Betting

There are various types of handicap betting, with the most common ones being European handicap, Asian handicap, and Point Spread.

Handicap Image

European Handicap

This type of handicap involves assigning a handicap to the teams or players, which can be whole numbers or half numbers. For instance, if Team A has a -1.5 handicap, they need to win by a margin of at least two goals for the bet to be successful. On the other hand, if Team B has a +1.5 handicap, they can either win the match or lose by a margin of one goal for the bet to win.

Handicap Image

Asian Handicap

One of the most popular form of handicap betting that originated in Asia but has gained global recognition. It eliminates the possibility of a draw by offering half goal handicaps. For example, if Team A has a -1 handicap, they must win by a margin of at least two goals for the bet to win. If they win by a single goal, the bet is refunded. Similarly, if Team B has a +1 handicap, they can win, draw, or lose by a single goal for the bet to be successful.

Handicap Image

Point Spread

Commonly used in basketball betting and American football betting. The Point Spread represents the handicap assigned to the teams, and bettors can wager on whether a team will win or lose by more or fewer points than the designated spread. This type of handicap betting allows for a wide range of betting options, providing an exciting and dynamic betting experience.

How Handicap Odds Work

Understanding how handicap odds work is essential for successful handicap betting. Handicap odds are displayed alongside the handicap value and represent the potential payout for a winning bet. These odds are determined by bookmakers based on various factors, including team strength, recent form, and public perception. The odds for the favorite will usually be lower, reflecting their higher chances of winning, while the underdogs will have higher odds.


To illustrate how handicap odds work, let’s consider a football match between Team A and Team B. Team A is the favorite with a -1.5 handicap, while Team B is the underdog with a +1.5 handicap. The odds for Team A might be 1.80, meaning that if you bet ₱100 on Team A to win, you would receive a payout of ₱180 if they win by a margin of two goals or more. Conversely, the odds for Team B might be 2.10, implying that a ₱100 bet on Team B would yield a payout of ₱210 if they win, draw, or lose by a single goal.

How to Calculate Payouts for Handicap Betting

Calculating payouts for handicap betting may seem complex at first, but it becomes easier with practice. To calculate the potential payout, you need to multiply your stake by the odds offered for the specific handicap. The formula is as follows:


Potential Payout = Stake x Handicap Odds


For instance, if you bet ₱50 on Team A with a -1.5 handicap and the odds are 1.80, the potential payout would be:


Potential Payout = ₱50 x 1.80 = ₱90


It is important to note that the potential payout represents the total amount you would receive, including your initial stake.

Advantages of Handicap Betting

Handicap betting offers several advantages that make it an appealing option for sports enthusiasts. Here are some of the key advantages:


  • Enhanced Odds: Handicap betting allows bookmakers to offer more competitive odds by adjusting the handicap. This provides bettors with the opportunity to find value bets and potentially earn higher returns.
  • Increased Betting Options: Handicap betting expands the range of betting options available, particularly in matches where there is a clear favorite and underdog. This enables bettors to explore various strategies and find opportunities that align with their predictions.
  • Elimination of Draws: Asian handicap, in particular, eliminates the possibility of a draw by offering half goal handicaps. This adds an extra layer of excitement to the betting experience, as there are only two possible outcomes.
  • Level Playing Field: Handicap betting levels the playing field by assigning advantages or disadvantages to teams or players. This creates a more balanced betting environment and allows bettors to wager on matches that would otherwise be one-sided.

Disadvantages of Handicap Betting

While handicap betting offers numerous advantages, it is important to consider the potential disadvantages as well. Here are a few drawbacks to keep in mind:


  • Complexity: Handicap betting can be more complex than traditional fixed odds betting, especially for beginners. Understanding the different types of handicaps and how they work requires some learning and familiarity with the specific sport.
  • Higher Risk: Depending on the handicap assigned, handicap betting can involve higher risks compared to other forms of betting. Betting on a heavy favorite with a significant handicap may yield lower odds, requiring a larger stake to generate substantial returns.
  • Limited Selection: Handicap betting may not be available for all matches or sports. Bookmakers tend to offer handicap betting options for high-profile games or popular sports, limiting the selection for bettors.
  • Lower Odds for Favorites: In handicap betting, the odds for the favorite team are usually lower due to the assigned handicap. This means that even if the favorite wins, the potential payout may not be as lucrative as in other types of bets.

Tips for Successful Handicap Betting

To maximize your chances of success in handicap betting, here are some valuable tips to consider:


  • Research and Analysis: Thoroughly research the teams, players, and relevant statistics before placing your bets. Analyze past performances, recent form, and head-to-head records to make informed decisions.
  • Understand Handicap Types: Familiarize yourself with the different types of handicap betting, such as European handicap, Asian handicap, and Point Spread. Understand how each type works and identify which one suits your betting style and preferences.
  • Follow Market Trends: Keep an eye on the market trends and fluctuations in handicap odds. This can provide valuable insights into public sentiment and help you make more accurate predictions.
  • Bankroll Management: Practice proper bankroll management to ensure you don’t exceed your budget. Set a limit on your betting amount and avoid chasing losses, as this can lead to reckless decisions.
  • Seek Value Bets: Look for value bets where the assigned handicap may not accurately reflect the true chances of winning. Identify matches where bookmakers may have underestimated the underdog or overestimated the favorite.

Advice to Bettors

Now that you’ve armed yourself with knowledge from the guide on Handicap Betting, you’re ready to dive into the world of sports betting with OKBet. Here’s a concise set of advice to help you get started:


  • Start Small: As a newcomer to handicap betting, it’s crucial to begin with modest wagers. This allows you to gain valuable experience without risking large sums of money.
  • Understand Handicap Lines: Make sure you fully comprehend the concept of handicap lines and how they work. Different sports and events may have varying handicap rules, so pay close attention to the details.
  • Bankroll Management: Set a clear budget for your betting activities. Never bet more than you can afford to lose. Staying disciplined with your bankroll is key to long-term success.
  • Research Matters: Prioritize research before placing any bets. Analyze team or player performance, injury updates, and historical data to make informed decisions.


With these fundamental tips, you’re now prepared to start your handicap betting journey with OKBet. Keep learning, stay disciplined, and approach betting with a thoughtful and strategic mindset. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Handicap betting is a form of sports betting where one team or player is given a virtual advantage or disadvantage to level the playing field. The goal is to make the bet outcome even, offering both sides better odds.

In handicap betting, the favored team is handicapped by giving them a negative point or goal deficit, while the underdog receives a positive handicap. Bettors then predict whether the favorite will win by more than the handicap margin or the underdog will lose by less than the handicap margin.

The purpose of handicap betting is to create more balanced and enticing betting opportunities, especially in lopsided matchups. It makes it possible to bet on the underdog while offering competitive odds.

"+1.5" means the team or player is given a 1.5-goal (point) advantage. "-1.5" means a 1.5-goal deficit handicaps them. The final score determines the bet's outcome after adjusting for the handicap.

Handicap margins are set by sportsbooks based on factors like team strength, historical performance, and other relevant statistics. They aim to create balanced betting options, but margins can vary between sportsbooks.

Yes, handicap betting is available in a wide range of sports, including soccer, basketball, american football, tennis, and more. Each sport may have its unique handicap rules.

If the result matches the handicap margin (e.g., a team with a -1.5 handicap wins by exactly two points), the bet is typically considered a push or a void, and your stake is returned.

Yes, there are several variations of handicap bets, including Asian handicaps (which offer half-point margins), European handicaps (whole number margins), and more. The type of handicap may vary depending on the sportsbook.

Research is key. Analyze team or player form, injuries, and historical head-to-head data, and consider the handicap margin carefully. Also, practice sound bankroll management and stay disciplined.

While handicap betting can be more complex than traditional bets, beginners can undoubtedly participate. Start with small stakes, understand the basics, and gradually build your knowledge and experience.