Understanding handicap markets in football

As football betting continues to grow, the various types of bets you can place also become more regularly used, making each market desirable to different sorts of punter. With this is in mind, we’ve started to see more uses of handicap markets, which are extremely useful but sometimes go unnoticed due to a lack of explanation as to exactly what they are.

Not many sites provide a deeper understanding into the ins and outs of football betting but Oddschanger are an exception with their own match previews, quizzes and football betting tips for all major events. Handicap betting can be an uncertain thing for  newcomers, so we’ve put together an in-depth analysis of exactly what it is, and why so many indulge in it:

What exactly is handicap betting?
There’s a lot of expectation put on what handicap betting actually is, with it being heralded as a mathematical means of betting that only absolute geniuses would be able to understand. This is far from the reality of handicap markets and they’re perfectly easy to add into your own football betting tips, which is why so many do.

Although there are more complicated versions of handicap markets, the simplest edition consists of selections with -1 and +1 included. If Manchester United were playing Swansea City, backing Manchester United with a -1 Handicap would just mean that they need to win by more than one goal. This could be 2-0, 3-1, 4-2, or anything else, as long as they’ve won by more than just the one goal.

The alternative would be backing Swansea City +1, which is the same only reversed, and implies that Swansea City need to lose by more than 1 goal. There is also a draw equivalent that very few punters use, which would tend to be written as Handicap Draw -1. In this version of handicap betting, if either side wins by a single goal, the selection would win, as in taking away that one goal, the result will be a draw.

Just the one goal tends to be what people back, but handicaps can be as big as you want, with it obviously asking for more depending on how big the number is; if you’re backing a team with a -5 handicap, they need to win by more than five goals, which is a lot to expect, even for one of the world’s biggest sides.

Why is handicap betting so popular?
Most frequent fans of football betting incorporate handicaps into their usual tips and it’s no surprise as to why. More needs to happen with it, as it not only implies more goals from the side you’re backing, but it also means that if the side you’re backing are 2-0 up, conceding once to win 2-1 would ruin your -1 Handicap bet, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t likely to happen.

If you’re backing a far more dominant side to beat one you can’t see as being anywhere near as strong, it’s certainly worth getting behind, as the odds can be significantly stronger, usually going well over 1/1 when adding in even just a -1 Handicap rather than a selection for your favoured side to win outright.

Updated: March 27, 2018 — 11:26 am
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