Handicap Betting

Handicap bet is designed to provide more balanced odds by giving a virtual advantage or disadvantage to the teams involved in a match, especially when there is a significant difference in the teams’ abilities or perceived chances of winning. The aim of handicap betting is to level the playing field and create more appealing odds for bettors. It allows them to choose between backing the favorite team to overcome a handicap or supporting the underdog to perform better than expected.

In handicap betting, the bookmaker assigns a handicap to each team, which is represented by a positive or negative number.

– Positive Handicap (+): If a team is assigned a positive handicap, it means they are considered the underdog or less likely to win the match. The positive handicap value is added to their final score at the end of the game for the purpose of determining the outcome of the bet. For example, if a team with a +1 handicap loses the match 2-1, the handicap-adjusted score would be 2-2, resulting in a draw.

– Negative Handicap (-): Conversely, if a team is given a negative handicap, they are considered the favorite or more likely to win. The negative handicap value is subtracted from their final score to determine the bet’s outcome. For instance, if a team with a -1 handicap wins the match 2-0, the handicap-adjusted score would be 1-0, still resulting in a win for the team with the handicap.
The exact rules and variations of handicap betting may differ depending on the bookmaker or region where you are placing your bets. Sometimes, the handicap is given in increments of half goals to eliminate the possibility of a draw. In other cases, if the handicap-adjusted score results in draw, the stake is refunded.

What is Handicap -1?

Handicap -1 is the most popular type of handicap betting. In this scenario, the stronger team is given a one-goal deficit before the match starts. It means the team must win by a margin of two goals or more for the bet to be successful. Football matches rarely result in higher handicaps being overcome in major leagues; thereby, Handicap 2, 3, or more are less favoured by the betters. For instance, in the England Premier League 2022/23 reason, only in 62 of the 380 matches (16% of the time), a team won by a margin of three goals or more – overcoming Handicap -2. Only in 20 matches (5% of the time), the winning difference was four or more goals.

What Handicap Betting is so popular?

Overall, handicap betting has gained a significant following and continues to be a popular choice for soccer enthusiasts looking for more dynamic and strategic wagering options. The popularity of handicap betting can be attributed to several factors:

– Enhanced Odds and Value: Handicap betting provides a way to balance the odds between teams of differing abilities. By giving a virtual advantage or disadvantage, bookmakers aim to balance the odds for both sides. This allows bookmakers to offer more appealing odds compared to the traditional match result betting, especially in matches with a clear favorite and underdog. This makes matches with a clear favorite more attractive for bettors who seek better value.

– Strategic Approach: Handicap betting appeals to bettors who prefer a strategic approach to their wagers. It adds an additional layer of analysis and decision-making by considering the margin of victory rather than just the outcome of the match. This allows for more nuanced betting strategies and potentially higher returns. If you enjoy studying team performance, analysing statistics, and developing betting strategies, handicap betting can align with your approach.

– Increased Engagement: Handicap betting can make matches more exciting and engaging, even when there is a significant difference in quality between the teams. By offering various handicap options, bettors can find ways to support the underdog or challenge the favorite, making the match more intriguing to follow.

– Mitigating Risk: Handicap betting can help mitigate risk in matches with clear favorites. By giving a handicap to the favorite, it becomes more challenging for them to cover the margin of victory. This can create a more balanced betting opportunity, reducing the risk of losing a large sum bet placed on a low odd option if the favorite under-performs or if the underdog exceeds expectations.

How commonly the favorite beats the handicap?

It’s important to note that there is no definitive answer as to how commonly a favorite team beats the handicap. Each match is unique, and various factors come into play. Bettors should conduct their research, analyze team performance, and consider the specific circumstances before making a handicap bet. Additionally, past performance or statistics can provide some insights, but they do not guarantee future outcomes. Nevertheless, here are some important considerations that can help you make a more informed decision and increase your chances of placing a successful handicap bet.

– Team Strength and Form: Assess the relative strength and form of the teams involved in the match. Consider factors such as recent performance, head-to-head records, overall quality, and player availability. A team’s current form can have a significant impact on their ability to cover the handicap. If there is a significant gap in quality and form between the favorite team and the underdog, the favorite team may have a higher probability of beating the handicap. Stronger teams are more likely to win by a larger margin, increasing the chances of covering the handicap.

– Goal Scoring and Defensive Records: Analyze the goal-scoring ability and defensive records of the teams. Look at their average goals scored and conceded per match, as well as their performance against different levels of competition. This information can help gauge the likelihood of a team winning by a certain margin or overcoming a handicap.

– Motivation and Importance of the Match: Consider the motivation and importance of the match for both teams. Teams with a strong incentive to win, such as those fighting for a championship, battling relegation, or competing in a cup final, may be more determined to achieve a convincing victory. This can impact their likelihood of beating the handicap.

– Home and Away Performance: Evaluate the home and away performance of the teams. Some teams may perform better at home or struggle on the road. Take into account their records in home and away matches, as it can influence their ability to cover the handicap.

– Injuries and Suspensions: Check for any significant injuries or suspensions that may affect the team’s performance. Key players being absent can weaken a team’s attacking or defensive capabilities, potentially impacting their ability to cover the handicap.

– Weather and Pitch Conditions: Take into consideration the weather and pitch conditions. Certain teams may excel or struggle in specific weather conditions or on particular types of pitches. These factors can affect the dynamics of the match and potentially impact the handicap outcome.

– Bookmaker’s Odds and Handicap Line: Assess the odds and handicap line offered by bookmakers. Gauging the general market consensus on the match and analyzing the bookmakers’ assessment can provide insights into the perceived probabilities and expected outcomes. The odds and handicap lines set by bookmakers are generally based on their assessment of the teams’ abilities and other relevant factors. Bookmakers aim to balance the action and create an enticing market, which means the frequency of favorites beating the handicap also depends on their expertise and match analysis quality.

For instance, in the Premier League 2022/23 season, Manchester City won 17 of its 19 home matches. With 90% win rate, home win in Etihad Stadium is a banker. Moreover, Manchester City won 14 matches with more than one goal difference (74% win rate) and 8 matches with more than two goal difference (42% win rate). Therefore, a bettor could significantly increase it winnings through handicapping Manchester City by one or even two goals in selective home matches.

Manchester City won less matches away: 11 out of 19 (58% win rate). However, in 7 of these 11 matches, Manchester City won by more than one goal difference. Once again, handicapping Manchester City by one goal in selective away matches could boost your winnings.

Nevertheless, keep this key statistics in mind: in major leagues, almost half of the home wins and two thirds of the away wins happen by only one goal difference. Winning against the handicap is less common than you would expect – especially, in away matches.

Therefore, thorough research, staying informed about team news, and considering key factors above-listed can assist you in making more informed decisions when selecting a handicap bet. It’s important to gather as much information as possible and apply your analysis to increase your chances of placing successful bets.

Which competitions are more suitable for handicap betting?

Handicap betting can be applied to various soccer competitions, but certain competitions and scenarios may be more suitable for this type of wagering. Leagues and competitions that feature a mix of strong and weaker teams often provide opportunities to apply handicaps and balance the odds. For instance, Netherlands Eredivisie, Belgium Pro League, Liga Portugal are typical examples of domestic leagues which feature a handful of dominant teams and a long list of weaker teams – and, thereby, they are popular choices for handicap betting. Similarly, domestic cup competitions, which involve teams from different divisions or varying levels of quality, and international tournament qualification matches, which involve national teams of varying strengths, can offer intriguing opportunities and make handicap betting an appealing option. But, before placing a handicap bet, don’t forget the check that the favourite team is putting its best players on the field for the match against an underdog.

Ultimately, the decision to bet on handicaps depends on your betting strategy, your knowledge of the teams and competitions, and your assessment of the specific circumstances. It’s important to approach handicap betting with a thorough analysis and a responsible approach to bankroll management.

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