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As handicap betting continues to be a popular market, here is everything you need to know about how handicap betting works.

What is handicap betting?

Handicap betting is a type of bet where the chances of players or teams winning a specific match or event are evened up.

This is achieved by giving one of the participants an advantage, usually in the form of more points or an extra goal.

When one player or team is more superior to the other, the margin of the handicap markets offered can be greater.

For example, if you were picking Harlequins to win in the below handicap market, the final result would need to be a Harlequins victory with eight points deducted in order to have a winning selection.

Similarly, a winning bet on Glasgow in this scenario would be a Glasgow victory when considering an eight-point headstart.

Harlequins v Glasgow

Harlequins -8 - 10/11
Glasgow +8 - 1/1
Tie +8 - 16/1

Asian Handicap betting

Asian Handicap betting is a variation of handicap match betting which is used in football and is popular in Asia.

Similar to normal handicap betting, teams are given handicap scores which are added to or taken away from, however one of the main differences for Asian Handicap betting is that the handicap markets are in lower increments.

Asian Handicap betting also excludes draws/ties, reducing the event or match to two possible outcomes. Odds for Asian Handicap bets are also traditionally shown in decimals.

In the below scenario, a bet on Tottenham would be successful when taking a goal away from the final outcome, and a winning bet on West Ham would take a goal headstart into account.

For most football matches, alternative Asian Handicap lines with greater margins will also be available.

West Ham v Tottenham

West Ham +0.5 - 1.900
Tottenham -0.5 - 2.030

Handicap betting vs spread betting

Handicap betting is sometimes referred to as 'The Spread' and the two terms have the same meaning.

The Spread is a term more commonly used in the US but it shares all the same aspects as what is known in the UK as handicap betting

The phrase 'betting on the spread' commonly refers to selecting the underdog.

Popular sports for handicap betting

The most popular sports for handicap match betting include football, american football, rugby union and rugby league.

The simplicity of the markets and the chance to level the playing field when it comes to two players or teams who are not evenly matched is something that many find appealing.

In football, season handicap betting is another popular market.

Each team is given a handicap based on how likely they are to win a particular league before the season starts. The best teams are usually given a low handicap, whereas the outsiders are given a large handicap.

Therefore, picking a team who are expected to outperform their pre-season predictions can be advantageous in this market.

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