What is Handicap in Betting?

handicap cricket

If you’re interested in sports betting, you must’ve heard the term handicap betting. Handicap in betting is used to balance the skill differences between 2 teams or players to give the punters an equal chance to win the bets. This is our take on handicap bets in India. Let’s go.


What is Handicap in Betting?

According to the definitions, handicap in betting is a form of spread where the favourite outcome gets a virtual deficit (read handicap) before the match starts. At the same time, if the underdog is getting a boost in the score, it’s also considered handicap betting. It’s simply because the result of both outcomes is the same.

When an outcome in sports betting becomes too favourite that the opposition bet doesn’t stand a chance, bookmakers and betting apps introduce handicaps. If you’re wondering what is handicap in betting, it’s when you win your bet on the underdog even though it lost the match. Of course, the score must align with the spread for betting handicap to work.


Types of Handicaps

In traditional sports betting, there are 2 main types of handicaps. Asian and European.

Asian Handicap

When we say handicap in betting, it mostly refers to Asian handicaps. When the handicap market doesn’t include a draw as a valid outcome, it’s an Asian handicap. In a sense, you’re removing the “x” from a 1×2 market. The reason we’re using the 1×2 example is that betting handicap is most commonly used for football betting.

handicap bets

European Handicap

The main idea behind Asian handicaps and European handicaps is the same. But the European handicap allows a draw and the spreads are offered in integers only. If the outcome of a European handicap turns out to be a draw but you didn’t favour it, you lose the bet. In Asian handicap, you would’ve gotten your money back. This is the main difference between the two.

An Example of +1 Handicap Betting

If you truly want to understand handicap meaning in betting, you have to look at examples. Let’s consider a football match between team India and team Nepal. If previous results are something to go by, it’s safe to assume that India is the favourite to win.

To include handicap betting, Nepal gets a +1 goal advantage even before the match begins. Let’s assume the match ends with India as the 2:1 winner. If you apply the handicap, the score is 2:2 which means you’ll get the money back for the Asian handicap. And for European handicap, you lose the bet if you favoured India.


Handicap Sports

Almost all sports allow handicap bet. The most common ones are:

  • Football
  • Basketball
  • Bowling
  • American Football
  • Rugby


Handicap Betting Strategy

The main strategy for handicap in betting lies in how well you understand it. You need to consider the spread as well as the potential performance of the teams before you can apply any strategy.


Different Handicap Betting Markets

Based on how severe the skill difference is between the teams, different online betting sites can offer different types of handicaps. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

  • 0 Handicap (Asian & European)
  • +/-0.25 Handicap (Asian)
  • +/-0.50 Handicap (Asian)
  • +/-0.75 Handicap (Asian)
  • +/-1.00 Handicap (Asian & European)
Jarin Ahmed
Like many aspiring writers, Jarin focuses on bringing life to the text for her readers. She is an avid sports lover, growing up in a family obsessed with bookies. She is an expert in the iGaming niche and has secondary obsessions with Gardening and cooking.
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FAQ. Frequently asked questions
  • What does +2 handicap mean?

    +2 in this case means the weaker team or player gets 2 score units boost in the game. If it’s football, the underdog will get 2 goals added to the final score for the handicap settlement. As it’s an integer, we can say it’s a European handicap.

  • What are positive and negative handicaps?

    Positive handicaps are when you see the (+) sign and negative handicaps are when you see the (-) sign. They’re also used for distinguishing between the favourite team and the underdog.

  • Can I make money from handicap betting?

    If you manage to analyse the consequences of the handicap properly, you can surely make money from handicap betting.

  • Is handicap betting legal?

    Yes, handicap betting is completely legal in India as well as in all other countries. It’s the bookmakers who are offering the handicaps.

  • Asian handicap vs European handicap: which is better?

    While both handicap systems work in a similar way, European handicaps are considered better for newcomers as it allows a draw as a valid outcome.

  • Is book set legal?

    It’s completely legal because you’re placing the bets at different times of the match.