Football Betting Strategy: Handicap Betting
Many punters love handicap betting as it allows them to gain added value when wagering on a team that should secure a comfortable victory. It opens up an exciting new world of possibilities in football betting, but it can be difficult to know when to use it.
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Read on to learn more about the different handicap options at your disposal, when to use them and why.
What Is A Handicap?
If you give a team a -1 handicap in a particular game, they essentially start 1-0 down for the purposes of the bet. That means they need to win by two clear goals in order for your bet to pay out.
If they win 2-0, 3-0, 3-1 or 5-1, your bet is a winner. If they lose, draw or win by just a single goal, your bet is a loser.
In return for adding this handicap, you will be rewarded with greater odds and a higher payout if your prediction is successful. Your potential payout will rise if you give a team a -2 handicap or a -3 handicap.
What Is A European Handicap?
This is the easiest form of handicap betting to understand. Let’s say Liverpool are playing Watford at Anfield in the Premier League and they are priced at 1/10 to win the game.
A £10 bet on Liverpool would earn you just £1 in profit if they secure victory. For many punters, that is simply not worth bothering with, as the potential profit is too low to justify the risk of Liverpool having an off day.
However, if you give Liverpool a -1 handicap the odds might increase to 3/10. This means they would need to win by two clear goals, but your profit suddenly increases to £3 if successful.
If you give them a -2 handicap, they would need to win the game by three or more clear goals, but the odds would be 10/11. This means a £10 stake would result in a £9.10 profit if they were to win 3-0 or by a similarly emphatic scoreline.
It essentially levels the playing field, just like a golf handicap. The alternative would be give Watford a plus handicap if you think they could pull off an upset, nick a point or suffer only a narrow defeat.
Watford might be priced at 30/1 to win the game, meaning a £10 wager would result in a £300 profit if successful. If you bet on Watford +3, you might find odds of 5/6.
This means a £10 stake would only result in a potential payout of £8.33, but the bet would pay off if Watford won the match, drew or lost by less than three goals. A 2-0 defeat for the Hornets would still see you paid out.
What Is An Asian Handicap?
The Asian handicap is slightly more complex, but it is more popular than European handicap betting and it can be a great tool for punters. It presents you with many more options, as you can give a team a -0.25 handicap, a -0.5 handicap, a -0.75 handicap, a -1 handicap, a -1.25 handicap and so on.
The benefit of Asian handicap betting is that it allows you to mitigate potential losses and secure half wins. If you give a team a -0.25 Asian handicap and they win, your bet pays out. If the game finishes in a draw, you get a half win (half the profit you would have received if your team had won the match). If the team you bet on lose the game, your bet is a loser.
A -0.5 Asian handicap is identical to a -1 European handicap. A -1.5 Asian handicap is identical to a -2 European handicap.
If you give a team a -0.75 Asian handicap and they win by two or more goals, your bet pays off. If they win by just one goal, you get a half win. If they draw or lose the game, your bet crashes and burns.
If you give a team a -1 Asian handicap and they win by two clear goals, your bet pays off. If they only win by one goal, your bet is considered a push or a scratch, and you get your stake back. If they lose or draw the game, your bet is a loser.
Why Are Asian Handicaps So Popular?
Giving a team a -1 Asian handicap is often a lot more appealing to punters than giving them a -1 European handicap. Let’s say Everton are playing Newcastle at Goodison Park. You might see them priced at 4/6 to win the game, meaning a £10 bet would result in a potential profit of £6.67.
If you give them a -1 European handicap, the odds on them winning would shoot up to 7/4. That means a £10 bet would give you a £17.50 profit if Everton win by two or more goals. However, if they only win by a single goal, you lose your stake.
The alternative is to give them a -1 Asian handicap. In this case, the odds might only be 23/20, meaning you would get an £11.50 profit off a £10 stake if Everton won by two or more goals. However, if they only won by a single goal, you would get your stake back. It affords you extra protection if the result does not quite go your way.
If you give them a -0.75 Asian handicap, the odds might drop to 17/20. If they win by two or more goals, you would make an £8.50 profit. If Everton were to win by just a single goal, you would secure a half win, resulting in a £4.25 profit.
Asian handicap betting allows you to protect your stake in various intriguing ways.
When to Use Handicap Betting
The most common reason to use handicap betting is to gain added value on a heavy favourite. The greater the handicap you give that team, the greater your potential payout. But be careful not to go overboard. Some teams will ease off when they are winning a game and they may settle for a narrow victory. That is why a -1 Asian handicap is such a great option.
It is also helpful if you think an underdog will perform better than expected, as you can give that team a plus handicap. This allows you to lock in a profit even if they draw or lose the game, in return for a diminished potential payout.
You can also use handicap betting on ante-post outright markets, like the winner of the Premier League, EFL Championship, Serie A or La Liga.
If Juventus are the heavy favourites to win Serie A, you could gain extra value by giving them a -10 point handicap at the beginning of the season.
Handicap Betting Tips
- Check the head-to-head records between the teams before placing a handicap bet. If one team typically dominates the opposition, it might be a good option.
- Check out the recent form of each team. Have they been winning or losing heavily at home or on their travels?
- Factor in injuries, suspensions, fatigue and general motivation levels. If Tottenham are playing on Saturday and they have a big Champions League game the following Tuesday, giving them a large handicap might be ill-advised, as they could be inclined to preserve their energy for the upcoming game.
- Get to grips with the various Asian handicap options at your disposal. Use them to mitigate potential losses and secure half-wins.
- If you think an underdog will defy expectations, consider that team a plus handicap as opposed to a “draw no bet” or “double chance” wager.
- Shop around for the best odds. Bookmakers will have different ideas on how to price up handicap markets, and it pays to compare the odds before finding the most attractive option.