Football handicap betting
The idea of handicap betting, is that one of the teams gets a virtual lead at the start of the match. This handicap is then added to the actual final score, which creates a handicapped result.
Betting with a handicap is interesting in matches where there is a big favorite. In those games it’s hardly possible to make a profit with a normal 1X2 bet, but a handicap bet can then still result in a decent payout.
Look at this example for instance:
Betting at USA at 1.05 to 1 odds may look like free money, but risking one euro to win just 5 cents is not always the correct way to go.
If you are sure that USA is going to win this match, and probably with a least a few goals difference, then it is a lot smarter to place a handicap bet.
The most common type of handicap bet is called the ‘3-way handicap’. It’s three-way, because just like in a normal 1X2 bet, there are three possible outcomes on which you can bet: home team, away team and the draw. This is also called a ‘European handicap’.
In a handicap bet, one of the teams gets a virtual lead. Usually the lead is one goal. If in the game from our example you expect USA to win with at least a two goal difference, then you should always choose the handicap over the regular 1X2 bet.
If the final score is 2-0, then the handicapped result is 2-1, and USA will have won, despite their handicap.
Of course, the payouts of handicap bets are always much higher:
But if the game from our example ends in 1-0 or 2-1, then the handicap result is a draw (1-1 and 2-2, respectively), and a bet on a draw in the 3-way handicap would have been a winner.
In a 2-way handicap, or Asian handicap, the virtual lead given to the underdog is usually ½ a goal. Because of this, a draw is not possible. More about this later on.
Handicap – Favorite line
When there is a clear favorite in a game, the ‘handicap favorite line’ bet will also often be available, with which you can even bet on a handicap of two (sometimes more) goals difference, depending on which ‘line handicap’ the bookmaker deems correct.
Of course the payout is even better here, because in this case the favorite has to win with no less than three goals difference, in order for the handicap bet to pay out.
Handicap without favorite
The most profitable handicap bets can be found in games where there is no clear favorite. In this case, you can take a handicap on both teams.
Here the odds can be huge, because the bookmaker does not expect a significant difference in strength. So if your team still manages to overcome the handicap and win with a two goal difference, then you are guaranteed a big payout.
Tips for handicap betting
If you expect a match in which both teams are more or less equal, then a 3-way handicap on the ‘underdog’ is exactly the same as a regular ‘Double chance’ bet.
In the example of Tottenham versus Chelsea above, the ‘Double Chance 1X’ has the same odds as the 3-way handicap on Tottenham (1-0): 1.42.
This is because both bets win when either Tottenham wins, or in the case of a draw.
So always keep an eye on both odds, just in case the bookmaker made a mistake, and there’s a small difference between both odds.
You can also use a 3-way handicap to bet that your team will win with exactly one goal difference. In this case you can give the opponent a handicap lead, and bet on the Draw.
By giving the 1 goal handicap, the other team will get an equal score in the handicapped result. It doesn’t matter if the final score is 0-1 or 2-3.
If you correctly predict a close game, you can collect decent profits this way.
The Asian handicap is somewhat different than the European handicap. The most important difference is that a draw is not possible here, because handicaps of ½ a goal are used.
The Asian handicap +½ / -½ is the one you will see most often at the bookmaker.
If you want to bet on a team in a normal 1X2 bet, then that is the same as betting on an Asian handicap of -½. If your team wins the game, then the handicap of -½ a goal will not change that result. It only changes the result if the game ends in a draw.
A bet on the home team +½ is therefore the same as a ‘Double Chance 1X’. Because if the game ends in a draw, then due to the handicap, the home team will still be the winner.
So here it is also important to look which bet has the best odds, because there could be a difference.
An Asian handicap like the +1½ or the -1½ is of course also possible. But these are more rare in football. This kind of ‘line handicap’ is used more in other sports.
Other (more complicated) forms of Asian handicaps are the +0, +1 and even the +¼. and +¾, but we will not go into them here.
Handicap betting at Unibet
Handicap betting can make a predictable game exciting again, but it can also make your bets a lot more profitable.
If you would like to make money with handicap betting, then online bookmaker Unibet is the place for you. The offer of handicap bets is more than sufficient there, so you’re sure to find some profitable ones, as well.
If you register at Unibet now, you will get a €60 bonus on top of your first deposit, which basically means the bookmaker is giving itself a big handicap. Be sure to profit from this offer before it expires.