Odds shown as:

Football Betting for Beginners: Handicap Betting

Handicap Betting is one of the most popular types of betting across the globe from Nevada to Nagasaki
Handicap Betting is one of the most popular types of betting across the globe from Nevada to Nagasaki

Shots on target, player cards and accumulators are all very popular at the moment when it comes to choosing your football bets. However one form of wagering that you might not be so familiar with is handicap betting. 

We’ve put together a small guide to help you give you the basics and hopefully give you a few pointers into where you might apply handicap betting to your own punting prowess. 

What is Handicap Betting?

Handicap betting, also referred to as ‘points betting, ‘Asian handicap’ or ‘the spread’ is the process where bookmakers turn a sporting event in which the odds are unbalanced into an even money contest. Handicap betting basically exists in order to make one-sided sporting events a lot more exciting to bet on. 

They do this by giving one selection a virtual deficit (handicap) to overcome before the sporting event starts. After the event, if your chosen selection’s score is greater than the opponents after the handicap is applied, your bet will be a winner.

Example

Let’s say Manchester United are taking on Accrington Stanley in the FA Cup. Manchester United are priced at 1/20 to win the game meaning you have to bet £20 in order to win £1 profit. 

As you can see there’s not much value in that, so a virtual deficit (handicap) can be added to make the odds a lot more appealing. Here below we can see where a goal handicap has been added.

Manchester United -2 - Evens (2.0)

Handicap Draw -2 - 5/2 (3.5)

Accrington Stanley +2 - 12/5 (3.4) 

Let’s say the match finishes 3-0 to Manchester United, if you have bet on ‘Manchester -2’, your bet wins, and you will double your stake with odds of even money. When betting on Manchester United -2 handicap, you effectively bet on them to start the game 2-0 down. By winning 3-0 they have overcome the handicap and have effectively won the game 3-2 meaning your bet lands.

If you had bet on the ‘handicap draw’ your bet would have lost. This is because Manchester have not won by the exact margin specified in the handicap. Effectively here you would be betting on Manchester United to win by two or more goals, so that they make up the two goal deficit in order for the game to be a draw.

If you had bet on Accrington Stanley +2, your bet would also have lost. The handicap effectively gives Stanley a two goal head-start, however they have gone on to concede three goals meaning the bet loses.

How is handicap betting presented?

  • Handicap Match Betting

This is the most common form of handicap betting as we showed you in the example above. There are three possible outcomes for which you can place your bets on. Let’s say that Team A are given a virtual deficit to overcome as they are by far the better side. Their opponent, Team B, is given a virtual head-start, as they are deemed the inferior side.

Manchester United (-2) - Evens (2.0)

Handicap Draw (-2) - 5/2 (3.5)

Accrington Stanley (+2) - 12/5 (3.4)

Another benefit of handicap match betting is that you can bet on the ‘handicap draw’. By doing this you are effectively betting on the team who has been given the virtual deficit, to win by the exact margin offered on the handicap draw. If we use the above as an example, had you bet on the ‘handicap draw -2’ and the game finished 2-0 to Manchester United, your bet would be a winner.

  • No Draw Handicap Match Betting

Very similar to the above, the ‘No Draw Handicap Match Betting’ takes out the possibility of a ‘handicap draw’ leaving just two outcomes. In order to take the draw out of the equation, bookmakers will use 0.5 in their handicap mark. For example in a game where Manchester United are big favourites to beat Accrington Stanley, this is how the betting might be offered.

Manchester United (-2.5) 11/10

Accrington Stanley (+2.5) 4/5 

If Manchester United win the game 3-0 then they would win the team handicap as they have overcome their -2.5 virtual goal deficit. If the game was to finish 3-1 to Manchester United, Accrington Stanley would win on the match handicap as they have protected their virtual 2.5 goal start.

The no draw handicap market is extremely popular in Rugby Union and Rugby League. Bookmakers will tend to set a mark for how many points there will be in the game and then bettors can choose whether they think there will be more or less points scored than the bookmakers mark. 

  • Handicap League Betting

Another of the most popular forms of handicap betting is handicap league betting. This is where you make a handicap wager based on a team's performance throughout the season. The team that is judged the favourite to win the league starts with a handicap of zero (or scratch). Every other team in the division is then given a virtual head start over the favourites with an equivalent handicap points score. The worse the team is deemed, the larger the handicap they will receive.

Then at the end of the season, all the teams’ handicap scores are combined with their actual points total. The team with the most points is then declared the winner of the market. Effectively you are betting on which team you think will overperform the most over the course of the season. Each-way places can sometimes be offered too on this market, with certain firms giving returns on 2nd and 3rd.

  • Asian Handicap Betting

Another term you might have seen pop up in betting is the term Asian Handicap. Popularised in Asia (hence the name) Asian handicap betting involves handicaps with whole and half numbers. This means that no draws are possible, similar to the no draw handicap. 

The main difference is that with the Asian Handicap, there are split handicaps, where your selection can have one handicap that is a whole number and one that is a half number.

So if Manchester are -1 & -1.5 and win the game by two goals or more you will win on this selection.

If Manchester United only win by one goal though, you receive half of your stake back, as your whole stake is split over the two bets. 

Which bookmakers offer handicap betting markets?

Most bookmakers out there now offer handicap markets. It’s a form of betting that is popular all over the world, from Louisiana to the Land of the Rising Sun, and can offer benefits to varying types of punter. I tend to find the five bookmakers below the best for handicap betting. Their extensive range of markets, combined with consistent prices are the major draws.

Once you have got your head around betting handicaps you will find they can be a really helpful tool in your punting portfolio. You’ll have a wider range of markets to bet on with ways of giving yourself an insurance backup on wagers. There are more precise methods of betting which can enhance a game, especially when there is a heavy favourite involved.

I always when picking my football tips I recommend doing research into your bets and trying to find a potential edge over the bookmaker into why you think that your bet will win, or why you think it is over-priced. Gambling should always be fun and handicap betting can certainly make it a more exciting experience, but please remember to do so in a responsible manner.

Premier League Winner Market

Arsenal
WIN PROB: 58%
1
£10 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
4/6
£30 FREE BET
4/6
£20 FREE BET
4/6
£20 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
1/2
Manchester City
WIN PROB: 35%
1
£30 FREE BET
£10 FREE BET
9/5
REVEAL OFFER
7/4
£30 FREE BET
£20 FREE BET
£20 FREE BET
8/5
£30 FREE BET
6/4
£30 FREE BET
6/4
Manchester United
WIN PROB: 5%
1
£20 FREE BET
REVEAL OFFER
£10 FREE BET
£20 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
Newcastle United
WIN PROB: 1%
1
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£10 FREE BET
£20 FREE BET
£20 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
Tottenham
WIN PROB: 0%
1
£20 FREE BET
£20 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
£10 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
Liverpool
WIN PROB: 0%
1
£20 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
REVEAL OFFER
£20 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£10 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
Brighton
WIN PROB: 0%
1
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
£20 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£20 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£10 FREE BET
Chelsea
WIN PROB: 0%
1
£30 FREE BET
REVEAL OFFER
£20 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£20 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£10 FREE BET
Aston Villa
WIN PROB: 0%
1
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£10 FREE BET
Fulham
WIN PROB: 0%
1
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£10 FREE BET
Brentford
WIN PROB: 0%
1
£30 FREE BET
REVEAL OFFER
£20 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£10 FREE BET
Crystal Palace
WIN PROB: 0%
1
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£10 FREE BET
West Ham United
WIN PROB: 0%
1
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£10 FREE BET
Leicester
WIN PROB: 0%
1
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£10 FREE BET
Leeds
WIN PROB: 0%
1
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£10 FREE BET
Everton
WIN PROB: 0%
1
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
£30 FREE BET
£10 FREE BET
Wolverhampton
WIN PROB: 0%
1
£30 FREE BET
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
£10 FREE BET
Southampton
WIN PROB: 0%
1
£30 FREE BET
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
£10 FREE BET
AFC Bournemouth
WIN PROB: 0%
1
£30 FREE BET
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
£10 FREE BET
Nottingham Forest
WIN PROB: 0%
1
£30 FREE BET
REVEAL OFFER
£30 FREE BET
£10 FREE BET
Show More
Odds correct as of 2023-02-06 21:06 Odds subject to change.
Free Betting Offers
Advert Disclaimer
Bettingodds.com is a free online resource which endeavour to provide helpful and useful content and odds comparison to its visitors. Please be advised that Bettingodds.com accepts affiliate commission from the companies appearing on the site, and agreed commission levels impact the location and order in which the companies (and/or their products) are presented on the website. Any ratings that appear on this site is determined by our subjective opinion of the brand but also based on market share and reputation, each brand's conversion rates, commission paid to us and general consumer interest. Company listings on this page don't imply our endorsement. We do not feature all providers on the market. Except as expressly set forth in our terms and conditions, all statements and warranties regarding the information presented on this page are disclaimed. The information, including odds, which appear on this site is subject to change at any time.
Welcome Offer
#AD Bet £10 & Get £50 in Free Bets for new customers at bet365. Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
Bet £10 Get £20 In Free Bets + £10 Casino Bonus
#AD New UK customers (Excluding NI) mobile only. £30 in FREE Bets (FB) as £20 in sports bets & a £10 casino bonus (CB). Min stake £10. Min odds Evs. FB applied on 1st settlement of any qualifying bet. FB 7 day expiry. 1 FB offer per customer, household & IP address only. Payment restrictions. 14 days to accept £10 CB, then active for 3 days. CB 5x wagering & max redeemable £100. Game restrictions apply. Cashed out/Free Bets won’t apply. 30 days to qualify. 18+. T&C's Apply. **18+. Prices subject to fluctuation and availability.  T&Cs apply
Bet £10 Get £30 In Free Bets
#AD 18+. Play Safe. New customers using Promo code R30 only, Min £10/€10 stake,  min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 3 x £10/€10, free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply.
Bet £10 get £30 in Free Bets
#AD New customers on mobile only. 7 days to claim and stake £10 minimum bet at odds of 1.5 or greater to qualify. Free, void, cashed out or partially cashed out bets do not qualify. Max 3x £10 free bets credited on bet settlement. Free bets must be used on 4 or more selections with selection odds of 1.3 or greater. Free bets are non-withdrawable, and stake not returned with winnings. 7 day expiry. 18+BeGambleAware.org. T&Cs apply.
Bet £20 & Get It Back As Cash If It Loses
#AD New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any market at odds of min 2.0 (EVS) and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using cards will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply, 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet £10 & Get £30 In Free Bets
#AD 18+ New Customer offer. Place a min £10 bet on the Sportsbook on odds of min 1/2 (1.5), get £30 in Free Bets. Rewards valid for 30 days. SMS verification required. Only deposits via cards will qualify. T&Cs apply. Please Gamble Responsibly.
Money back As A Bonus Up To £40 If Your First Bet Loses + £10 Casino
#AD 18+ begambleaware.org. New customers only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first sports bet loses. Wagering requirements: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 50x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. Visit Unibet.co.uk for full T&C's.
Double the odds, any sport, any bet, any odds!
#AD 18+ begambleaware.org Only valid for new registrations to Grosvenor Existing members do not qualify, Bet must be placed using real money in combination with the Odds Boost Token, Offer applies to Sport bets only. Max stake is £10. Each way bets are a maximum of £5 each way (£10 total). Customers have 60 days after registration to use the Odds Boost token. T&Cs apply.
100% Profit Boost up to £100 (Mobile Only)
#AD New UK customers only. Claim by placing a min deposit £10 via "My Offers" page within 30 days. Skrill/Neteller deposits excluded. 7 days to stake max £10 in-play. Max. extra winnings £100.T&C's apply, 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet £10 Get £30 In Free Bets + 100 Free Spins
#AD 18+ New customers only. Opt in, bet £10 at odds 2.00+ within 7 days, no cashout. Get 3x £10 Free Bets, set events at odds 2.00+. Plus 100 Free Spins on Big Bass Bonanza, no wagering. Free Bets and Spins expire in 7 days. Card payments only. T&Cs apply. Please gamble responsibly.
Bet £10 Get £10 In Free Bets (APP Only)
#AD New UK, IE & Malta customers only. Min £10/€10 first deposit using Debit Card. Place a bet of £10 at min odds of 1.5. Free bets expire in 90 days. Full T&Cs apply.  18+. BeGambleAware.org, T&Cs apply.
Bet £25 get £50 In Bonuses
#AD Place a qualifying £25 fixed odds bet at odds of 1/2 or greater and get £50 in bonuses 5 x £5 free fixed odds bets, 4 x free £5 spread bets + 50 free spins on Starburst. Qualifying bet cannot be placed in-play or cashed out early. T&Cs Apply. 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet £10 Get £40 in Bonuses
#AD New 18+ UK customers only. Register using the promo code WELCOME40, deposit and place first bet of £10+ on Sports (cumulative Evens+) within 7 days of registration. First bet must be on Sports. £30 in Free Bets and £10 in Free Spins (50x20p) credited within 10 hours of bet settlement. Free Bet stakes are not included in any returns. Bonuses have a 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS verification and/or Proof of I.D and address may be required. Full T&Cs apply.
Bet £10 get £15
#AD New customers only. 18+ begambleaware.org 1st Deposit, Min Deposit: £10, max £15 bonus, valid for 14 days, bets must be placed at a min. odds of 1/1 (2.00) or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement.T&C's apply.
Bet £10 get £10
#AD 18+ begambleaware.org, Welcome Bonus: This offer is for new customers only and is available once per household. Max. FreeBet amount: £10 Minimum Deposit and wagering on sport to activate the Free Bet is: £10 void/cancelled or cashed out bets do not count towards wagering to activate the free bet. Offer valid only to customers making a first deposit of £10 or more. T&Cs apply.
Bet £10 get £20
#AD New customers only, welcome bonus: 1st deposit, min deposit: £10, max £20 free bet valid for 14 days, bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement. system bets are not eligible. Neteller, Skrill, and PayPal are not eligible. , 18+ begambleaware.org
50% Up To £50 Welcome Bonus
#AD 18+ begambleaware.org; New bettors get 50% of deposit up to £50; Once per household; Min deposit £15 (no Skrill/Neteller); Wager a total of 8 times deposit + bonus, with max qualifying bet stake equal to your initial bonus amount; Bonus expires after 60 days; Min odds of 4/5 on singles, or 2/5 per leg for acca; Some bet types excluded; See full terms.
Bet £10 & Get £30 In Free Bets + £10 Bonus
#AD Promo code: 30FB • Min deposit £10 • A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 • Min odds 1/2 (1.50) • Free Bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days • Free Bet stakes not included in returns • Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days and expires after 14 days • To withdraw any winnings from the Casino Bonus, wager the Bonus amount 40 times within 14 days • Withdrawal restrictions, payment methods, country & Full T&Cs apply. 18+ & Begambleaware
£35 Free Bet + 10 Free Spins
If your account has Sportsbook losses at the end of your first day's betting, QuinnBet will refund 50% of your losses as a Free Bet up to £35 (min 3 bets) Plus 10 Free Spins. Even if your account is up, you're guaranteed a £5 Free Bet Plus 10 Free Spins provided you place at least 1 bet of £10 or greater at the minimum odds. T&Cs apply | 18+ New UK Customers Only | BeGambleAware.org