Handicap in Betting: What Does It Mean?

Handicap betting works the same way for any sports you wish to bet on, creating a fictitious advantage or disadvantage to one of the two sides. By creating difficulty for the favorite or giving a triumph to the underdog, you can balance results and bet with better odds compared to regular result betting.

What Is the Meaning of Negative Handicap in Betting?

Your handicap bet can carry a positive or negative number, which is strictly related to the odds. If the handicap is applied to the favorite, it will always be a negative handicap, which means the team has to overcome an initial disadvantage in points. After all, the favorite is expected to win, and the sportsbook would not offer odds for a bet that increases that chance of winning even further with a positive handicap.

What Is the Meaning of Negative Handicap in Betting

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Therefore, you will find negative handicap betting like -1, -1.5, -1.75, and the favorite for the win would have to overcome those negative points for your bet to succeed. In the soccer example above, betting on Juventus to win would provide small odds of 1.39. Just adding a negative handicap of -1.5, which would require the favorite team to score at least 2, results in odds of 2.11.

Handicap Bet Types

If you have never heard about the meaning of handicap in betting, you are probably lost when it comes to half and quarter values like 2.5 and 3.25 or 3.75. We can consider them to be different types of handicap betting:

  • Whole-number handicap: Handicap betting with whole numbers is the simplest to understand. If you place a +1 bet, that team has one extra point as an advantage. If it is a -2, then the team has to overcome that disadvantage of two points by outscoring the other team by 3 points. In case of a draw, the bet value is returned.
  • Half handicap: The handicap bets with half numbers like 0.5, 1.5, or 2.5 exist so that there is no possibility of a draw or reimbursement. If you bet with -1.5 and the team does not outscore the other by two points to have more than -1.5, that is a loss.

You will find that there are other formats in handicap, namely 0.25 and 0.75, and those fall within the category of Asian handicap betting.

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European x Asian Handicap in Betting

All the regular formats of handicap betting are categorized as European handicap, which is the traditional way of betting. It adds a simple advantage or disadvantage and comes with a bet reimbursement in case of a draw. If we look at Asian handicap betting, there is the addition of 0.25 and 0.75 numbers.

0.25 Asian Handicap Bets

Your bet is divided in half between the next .0 and .5 bets. For example, if you place a ₱ 500 bet on +1.25, it will be split as ₱ 250 on +1.00 and the other ₱ 250 on +1.50.

Asian Handicap Bets

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In the example above, imagine you chose “Handicap Manchester City (-1.25)” with reasonable odds of 1.57. That means half your bet would be -1.50 and the other half -1.00. These are the possible results:

  • Manchester City 0 x 0 Copenhagen: The entire bet is lost because the negative Asian handicap is maintained.
  • Manchester City 1 x 0 Copenhagen: Half of the bet value is returned because the -1.00 bet is a draw. The other half is lost.
  • Manchester City 2 x 0 Copenhagen: You win, as +2 goals surpass the -1.50 and -1.00 disadvantages of the -1.25 bet.
  • Manchester City 0 x 1 Copenhagen: You lose the entire bet because the disadvantage grew.
  • Manchester City 1 x 1 Copenhagen: You lose the entire bet because the disadvantage was kept.
  • Manchester City 2 x 1 Copenhagen: You receive half the bet back because the -1.00 half is a draw.
  • Manchester City 3 x 1 Copenhagen: You win the whole bet because the advantage of two points is bigger than the Asian handicap.

Note that as long as the example team maintains the distance of two points to overcome the highest disadvantage of -1.5, the bet is guaranteed. Give that knowledge a try on 22Bet.

0.75 Asian Handicap Bets

Any Asian handicap bets that carry .75 follow the same principle as .25 bets. Let’s consider the example of a risky +2.75 bet on an underdog team. That means half the total bet value goes to +2.50 and the other half to +3.00:

  • Underdog Team 0 x 0 Favorite Team: The advantage of +2.50 and +3.00 is kept, and the total bet results in victory.
  • Underdog Team 0 x 1 Favorite Team: Even with the positive real score of the favorite team, the underdog team still has +1.50 and +2.00 in total advantage.
  • Underdog Team 1 x 1 Favorite Team: Same as the 0x0 result, with an intact advantage.
  • Underdog Team 0 x 2 Favorite Team: Although it is close to overcoming the +2.50 advantage, it is still not overscored.
  • Underdog Team 0 x 3 Favorite Team: The +2.50 half is lost, and the Pinoy bettor receives half the bet back due to a draw in the +3.00 result.
  • Underdog Team 0 x 4 Favorite Team: The entire bet is lost because the advantage was not enough.

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How to Bet With Handicap Betting?

After registering an account on one of the best sports betting sites with handicaps and making a deposit, you need to follow the instructions below:
  1. Choose one of the sports in which you can place a handicap bet. In general, it is available in many modalities, like go, chess, golf, cricket, soccer, polo, basketball, and even esports.Place a handicap bet

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  2. Pick an event, giving preference to those that show a large number of betting markets for more opportunities. For our example, we chose soccer and the UEFA Champions League:UEFA Champions League

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  3. Open the betting lines of your event of preference and look for the part where the handicap bets are. Choose carefully, considering your knowledge and the current odds:Placing Handicap Bets

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  4. Add the bet to your slip, other bets if you wish to make a handicap parlay, and indicate the total value you wish to bet:Handicap parlay

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  5. Conclude your bet and repeat if you want to place another one.
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The Best Handicap Betting Strategy

There is no one-fit-all strategy to use for handicap betting, just like for any other form of betting. Information is the most important factor when it comes to any choice of bet, including the handicap, especially because you need to guess the safe range of points to win or at least result in a draw.

Therefore, the best starting point in terms of strategies is to gather as much knowledge as possible not only on the sport but also on the specific event and the teams involved. For example, if you want to place a handicap in NBA betting, you need to study the teams involved in the game to figure out possibilities beyond who is the most likely to win.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Handicap Betting?

The pro of making handicap bets is that you can find different and more varied odds when compared to simply betting on the outcome. That is especially useful when the match is not going to be balanced, allowing you to fabricate another reality by adding disadvantages or advantages to the game.

On the other hand, that characteristic is also what brings up the con of handicap betting. In order for you to understand when the odds are truly worth the risk, you need to study the teams involved, possibly way more than for regular betting. After all, you need to guess the point range to actually profit from it. The key is to find balance and to accumulate experience to figure out what works best for your risk tolerance.


Handicap betting is one among many different possibilities in terms of bets that might suit your strategy depending on your risk tolerance. There is no bet that will always be the best type, especially not for different bettors.

You can place handicap bets in any sport in which there are points to win.

It is often more recommended to make handicap bets in unbalanced events where one side is too favorite to win through simple result betting.

It depends. Any bets pay more according to the risk you are taking. If the odds are higher and pay more, you are certainly under a higher level of risk.

Match handicap is just another name for regular handicap with the same meaning.
Handicap 0.0 is the same as Draw no Bet betting, in which case you are betting on the victory of one of the two teams and receive reimbursement in case a drawing occurs.