What is Handicap Betting

Handicap betting market is designed to level the playing field when two teams of unequal strength face off in a football match. One team is usually given an advantage or a disadvantage in handicap football betting in order to level the playing field.

For example, If Chelsea and Arsenal odds to win are at 1.60 and 2.30 respectively. The odds back Chelsea to win, we can give Arsenal a (+0.5) handicap, which means the bettor has already given Arsenal one goal advantage before the match starts, so if the match ends in a 2-2 draw, it is still a win for Arsenal because of the one/0.5 goal advantage.

Purpose and Benefits of Handicap Betting

Handicap betting is used to level the playing field when two teams of different squad strength/quality face off in a football match.

Importance of Handicap Betting in Football

Handicap betting helps diversify football betting market options. It’s a break from the regular 1X2 betting, Overs/Unders, GG, and more.

How Handicap Betting Works 

Handicap Betting Tips: Understanding, Strategies, and Tips for Success

In handicap betting, the stronger team is usually given a negative goal handicap (-1, -2), depending on the strength of the team, and the underdog is usually given the (+1, +2) option.

This is done to balance the field a little in a game where there is a clear favourite and an underdog. If you bet on a team with a -1 handicap and they win 2-0, your bet wins because they covered the handicap.

If you bet on the underdog with a +1 handicap and they lose 1-0, your bet wins because they still have a one-goal advantage when considering the handicap.


Different Types of Handicap Bets

There are different types of handicaps in football betting, and although they are similar, it is very important to note the difference, so punters can make better choices, and also differentiate them in football handicap betting tips they encounter.

Single Handicap

This is also known as “Handicap 1“. This is when a team is given a single point/goal advantage or deficit to make the match more competitive. For example, in a football match, if Team A is the favourite with a handicap of -1, they must win by at least two goals for the bet to be successful.

Also, if Team B is the underdog with a handicap of +1, they can win, draw, or lose by one goal, and the bet can still win, if they lose by 2 goals, the bet is lost.

Asian Handicap

Just like the name suggests, this type of Handicap betting originated from Asia. Asian handicaps are designed to eliminate draws in a football bet. It is similar to DNB (Draw No Bet). Fractional goals is possible with Asian Handicaps. Fractional Asian handicaps options can range from +/-0.0, 0.25, 0.5,0.75,1, and so on.

For example, Manchester United @1.90 v West Ham @2.80, if you bet on handicap -0.5 on Manchester United, that means Manchester United being the favourites, are starting the game with a -0.5 deficit. For the bet to win, If Manchester win the game, you win the bet, however if West Ham draw or win the game, then you lose the bet.

Split Handicap

This is where your bet is split/divided across two close handicap markets. For example in a match between Chelsea and Liverpool, with Chelsea being the favourites, you play split your handicap on Chelsea in two close handicap levels. For example, Chelsea handicap -1.25, and Chelsea handicap -1.5.

If Chelsea wins by 2 or more goals, you win both parts of your bet.

In a case where Chelsea wins by exactly 1 goal (1-0, 2-1,3-2), you will win half of your stake on Chelsea -1.25 (because it covers -1.25) and get a refund on the other half on Chelsea -1.5.

However, if Chelsea draw or suffer a defeat, both parts of your bet lose.

Calculating Handicap Lines

This involves adjusting the perceived strength of teams by adding or subtracting goals to create a more balanced and competitive bet.

Factors Influencing Handicap Lines

Team Strength: The strength of the teams playing is a big factor when deciding on lines in handicaps. A stronger team or a team that scores more and concedes less will get more negative handicap lines than a team struggling for form.

Team Form: Team form is important in almost every area of football betting. Team form plays a huge role in determining handicap lines.

Head to Head: Head-to-head records are also important, especially in fixtures that have a pattern. For example, Chelsea and Liverpool have a recent history of draws, even when Chelsea were out of form last season. That head-to-head record of recent draws will influence the lines.

Handicap Line Formulas

There are different types of handicaps, and that means punters can encounter different types of handicap betting tips. So here are ways to calculate for the most common types of handicaps in football betting.

Simple Handicap Line Calculation

Team A’s Handicap = Team A’s Actual Score – Team B’s Actual Score

Asian Handicap Line Calculation

Asian Handicap Line Calculation is: Team A’s Actual Score – Team B’s Handicap = Team A’s Handicap.

Importance of Handicap Betting in Football

The following are the reasons why handicap betting is so important in sports betting, especially among football punters:

Levelling the Playing Field

Handicap betting aims to level the playing field for teams that are not as strong as their opponents. For example, Manchester City are currently stronger than Sheffield United, a +1 handicap for Sheffield gives them a goal ahead before the game kicks off, so the match becomes just a little bit fair from a betting perspective.

Enhanced Odds for Favourites

It boosts odds for the favourites, too. For example, Manchester City backed at 1.15 to beat Sheffield United.

If a punter picks Manchester City to win with a “-1” handicap, that will increase the odds of Manchester City, because one goal will be subtracted from the final goal count.

In such case, the punter will only win the bet if Manchester City win by a two-goal margin.

Exploring Underdog Opportunities

Handicaps helps punters explore more chances or possibilities with the weaker teams/ underdogs. If one can spot the right underdog, handicaps can be very profitable.

Placing Handicap Bets: Handicap betting Tips and Strategies

Strategies on how to place handicap bets or read and edit handicap betting tips.

Factors to Consider Before Placing Handicap Bets

The following are factors to be considered before staking on Handicap betting tips or placing handicap bets on any sport.

Team Form and Performance

Current team form and performance matters when picking any market in football betting.

To pick good handicap bets, current team form must be analysed properly as it will show how the team is currently playing and possible trajectory, that will increase chances of winning.

Injuries and Suspensions

Injuries and suspension can affect teams, so it is important that punters know important team news before picking handicap bets

Home and Away Advantage

Some teams do well at home but poor away, while some are the complete opposite. It is important to know the home and away form of teams before betting on them.

Head-to-Head Statistics

Head-to-head statistics sometimes shows what team form might cover.

A team might have a bad record at a particular stadium or against a particular team, regardless of their form. Patterns like this need to be analysed before picking handicap bets.

READ ALSO – Half-Time/Full-Time (HT/FT) Football Betting Tips

Identifying Value in Handicap Lines

Where to apply handicap betting tips, how to maximize your handicap lines, your budget and the best way to get value out of betting on handicap:

Using Handicap Betting as Part of a Larger Strategy

It is very common among punters to include handicap picks among other bets in an accumulator bet. This can be very effective sometimes, as it diversify the bet slip.

Bankroll Management for Handicap Betting

Bankroll management in handicap betting involves setting a budget, typically 1% to 5% of your total budget per bet, to limit losses and protect your funds.

It’s important to be consistent with how much you bet relative to your budget.

Common Pitfalls in Handicap Betting

Handicap betting can be profitable when done right, however, there can be some pitfalls when betting on the market.

Overestimating Team Dominance

When betting on favourites, it is important not to overestimate the team strength or their dominance. Some teams might be in good form, but are scoring fewer goals, all facets of a team’s form should be analysed, so you do not overrate teams.

Ignoring Key Player Absences

Absence of a key player can change the outcome of a match. This should not be ignored.

Falling for Emotional Betting

Avoid emotional decisions, and track your bets well.

Avoiding Handicap Traps

Avoid unrealistic handicap bets by doing the following:

Stay Away from unrealistic Handicap lines. This can trap a punter. If an handicap line looks too good to be true, there is a good reason why, and you might want to steer clear.

Check Bets For Value: Always go for Value bets when you’re picking handicap bets.

Setting Realistic Expectations

Always set a realistic target when betting on Handicap, especially with your budget.

Knowing When to Skip a Bet

If stats are inconclusive: In most cases, stats are suppose to point punters to one direction. When research and stats is inconclusive, it might be too tricky to bet on Handicap.

When the context of match is unknown: For most football bets to be succesful, the punter must know the context of the match. Is it a friendly match or a top four battle, or a cup final. Knowing this will helping in picking the right lines in handicap betting.

Bad Weather: When the waather is unpredictable, it can affect the outcome of a game.

READ ALSO – Draw Prediction Tips: Strategies for Successful Draw Betting In Football

Effective Handicap Betting Strategies

Backing Strong Favourites with Handicap

Betting on stronger teams can improve odds and increase the chances of winning by limiting upsets to an etent.

Betting on Underdogs with Positive Handicap

Strong underdogs should be evaluated constantly as they can cause upsets, and that is the goldmine of football betting and handicap betting.

Combining Handicap Bets with Other Bet Types

Handicap bets can be combined with the regular 1X2 bets, overs/under, and many more, to further diversify your betslips.

Utilizing Asian Handicap for Lowering Risks

Asian handicap eliminates draws as an outcome, so it is slightly safer than traditional handicaps.

Handicap Betting Tips for Success

Research and Analysis

Research and analysis in handicap betting involve studying team form, player injuries, head-to-head records, and situational factors to make informed wagers. Stay updated with the latest information.

Monitor Team News Regularly

Know the team you want to pick for your handicap bet, and be current on their team news, to understand the shape of the team and also get information on key decisions and key players.

Understand Bookmakers’ Margin and Odds

In handicap betting, Bookmakers set odds to ensure profit, aiming for close-to-50% chances for both teams. Understanding margin helps bettors assess value and potential returns when placing handicap bets.

Follow Betting Communities and Expert Predictions

Follow succesful punters and learn how they pick their handicap bets.

READ ALSO – Country-Specific Betting Tips: Unlocking the Secrets of Football Betting in Diverse Nations


Handicap betting is one of the most creative ways to bet on a football match as it levels the playing field, and helps build a competitive bet if done right. It requires throrough research, analsiss, budgetting and smart bet management to profit on this betting market. Also avoid some pitfalls and mistakes punters make when dealing with Handicap betting tips or when selecting games in the market.


What does minus mean in handicap betting?

In handicap betting, a minus “-” symbol usually represents a disadvantage assigned to the favored team, usually a goal disadvantage, especially in football betting.

How do you read a handicap bet?

Handicap bets usually have two symbols. The “+” (positive handicap) and “-” (negative handicap) signs, which indicate points added or subtracted for respective teams to level the playing field.

How does +2 handicap work?

A +2 handicap means the team starts with a 2-goal advantage. To win the bet, they must not lose by more than 1 goal.

What does +1 handicap mean betting?

A +1 handicap means the team starts with a 1-goal advantage. To win the bet, The team must not lose by more than 1 goal.

What is plus and minus handicap?

The “+” sign indicates an advantage given to a team, usually the underdogs, and the “-” minus sign indictes a disadvantage given to a team, usually the stronger team, to level the playig field.

How do I calculate handicap?

For Asian Handicap: Choose the Handicap. Select the handicap you want to bet on. For example, if you choose Team A with a -1.5 handicap, they need to win by at least two goals for your bet to succeed.

After the match, apply the handicap to the final score. If Team A wins 2-0, with the -1.5 handicap, the adjusted score is 0.5-0, and your bet wins.

For regular/European Handicap: If you select Team A with a -1 handicap, they need to win by more than one goal for your bet to succeed. After the match, apply the handicap to the final score. If Team A wins 2-0, with the -1 handicap, the adjusted score is 1-0, and your bet wins.

What does a +5 handicap mean?

A +5 handicap in football, means the team or player starts the match with a 5-goal disadvantage. To win a bet on them, they must either win by at least 6 goals or lose by less than 5 goals.

What does minus 1.5 mean in betting?

This is common in Asian handicap picks. It is where a team has been given the deficit of -1.5 goals. This is ususlly done to the stronger team as they are expected to win by a good margin. A -1.5 handicap bet only wins when the team must win by 2 goals margin at least.

What is a +3 handicap?

A +3 handicap in betting gives a team or player a 3-goal or point advantage. They can win, draw, or lose by up to 2 goals/points for a successful bet.

What is a +7 handicap?

A +7 handicap in betting means that the team or player is given a 7-goal or point advantage. They can win, draw, or lose by up to 6 goals/points, and the bet is still considered successful.

Do you want a high or low handicap?

When betting on match favorites, you typically want a high handicap so as to maximize profits. Low handicaps is better when betting on underdogs.

Is plus or minus better odds?

It depends on the match and the distance in quality of the teams playing. A plus handicap bet can be just as good as a minus handicap bet.

Are minus odds good or bad?

In handicap betting, minus odds are typically considered “good” for favorites or stronger teams. For example, if Chelsea has a -1 handicap against Newcastle United, it means Chelsea needs to win by at least two goals for the bet to be successful.

What is a good handicap bet?

A good handicap bet is when a punter picks a balanced bet, in a competitive match, after doing throurogh research, and respected the handicap lines, with proper budget management.

What does 75 handicap mean?

In Asian handicap A 0.75 handicap, often referred to as an +0.75, is where a team is given a handicap of +0.75 goals or points. It means you are giving a team a +0.75 goals or points advantage to level the playing field.