Handicap-explained

Handicap Betting Explained

A handicap in sports betting is most often found on sports such as football, rugby, tennis, basketball, any sport that is based on points.  Handicap betting is also found in racing, especially horse racing.  It is important that Canadian bettors understand what handicap betting is as it will affect the way that odds are shown.

Canadian sports bettors will also know handicap betting as the spread or points betting.  Handicap betting is used by sports books to even out the odds and they do this by giving certain teams an advantage or disadvantage.  With a points based sport the odds are evened out by adding or subtracting points.

An example would be a football game between Leeds and Manchester United, with Leeds being the favourite, the sportsbook would give Manchester United an advantage of a 2-0 handicap.  If the bettor places a bet on Leeds to win the game and they win 1-0 the player will lose the bet because of the handicap that was published.  It is important for Canadian sports bettors to understand that with this type of betting the handicap will only apply to the team they have placed a bet on.

How does a Handicap Bet Look

Sports books will present handicap betting as follows, Leeds United (-2) evens, handicap tie (-1) 3/1 and Manchester United (+2) 2/1.  Leeds won the game, but if bettors placed a bet on Leeds to win they will not win the bet.  Leeds would need to have scored the amount of goals shown in the handicap for the bet to be paid out.

For bettors who placed the handicap tie bet they would win as Leeds had won the game by the amount specified in the handicap.  When placing this type of bet the margin of the win is more important than the amount of goals.  For bettors who placed a bet on Manchester United they would win as they would have won the game 2-1 according to the sportsbook.  Canadian bettors might also come across a “scr” which stands for scratched and this would be shown if the sports book sees the teams as evenly matched.  This means there are no handicaps for the particular game.

No Draw Handicap

Some sports books will also offer no draw handicap betting, which means there is a guaranteed winner no matter the outcome of the game.  Each team with this type of bet is given a half handicap.  An example would be if West Brom and Aston Villa were playing a match and the sportsbook gave West Brom a +1.5 handicap.  The final score is 3-2 to Aston Villa but the +1.5 handicap then comes into play and those bettors who bet on West Brom to win will be paid out because according to the sportsbook the score was actually 3.5 – 3 in favour of West Brom.  According to the sportsbook the game could not have ended in a draw, as there are no half goals in football!

Handicap League Betting

Handicap league betting is very popular and Canadian bettors can place a bet on how a team performs over a season.  This bet is placed at the beginning of the season and is based on a range of odds that have different handicaps across all the teams in a division.  The scratch handicap is for the favourites to win.  The other teams are given a handicap based on their potential performance, the larger the handicap the weaker the team is thought to be, to even the field.