Football Betting Diaries: All you need to know about the ‘Handicap’

Everything you need to know about the handicap market in football betting.

Betting 101: An article teaching you how to bet

If you read Pulse Sport’s comprehensive football betting explainer, congratulations, you are now familiar with the concept of football betting and can now stake on the basic markets without being confused.

But of course, there is still a lot you need to know about football betting so consider this an advanced class.

We will be selecting and expanding on different betting markets individually to help you understand them better and make a more informed football betting decision.

Here is everything you need to know about the 'Handicap'.

Perhaps the most famous football betting related term, you have most likely heard this but not know what it meant. A handicap in football betting has to do with a goals deficit.

Handicap is simply giving a goal (or goals) to your selected team based on the perceived confidence in them to win or lose. You can either bet on a team to be a goal down (can go as high as 2 or 3 goals depending on the bookie options) before kickoff and still win, this is a common option for when a team is a clear favourite going into a game.

Handicap betting can apply to either team or even a draw, it is a simple 1 X 2 (home, draw, away) bet but factoring in goals that have been added pregame.

Example

Morocco is valued at 1.26 odds on Betking for a win against Comoros but they are such overwhelming favourites that they may win by more than a two-goal margin.

So in that case, a handicap 0:1 or handicap 1 bet is available on Betking at 1.80, it gives Comoros a goal before kickoff and says Morocco would still win. It works as an opportunity to get more out of a game as it offers increased odds compared to a simple win.

The same rules apply to handicap 0:2, 0:3, as high as your bookie allows, the higher you go, the higher the odds.

Betking (and pretty much every other bookie) lists the handicap option as 0:1 1 X 2 which means it works for draws and the other team as well.

If you select the X (draw) option on handicap 0:1 (works the same for 0:2 and 0:3 too) it means whatever scoreline the game ends in must total in a draw when the one (or more) pregame handicap goal(s) is factored in.

Using the Morocco-Comoros game as an example, selecting handicap 0:1 X means that Morocco must win by exactly a one-goal margin for the game to end in a draw because you already gave Comoros a goal before kickoff.

If the game ends in a draw, you lose because Comoros already had an extra goal which makes them the winners in your imaginary handicap world.

Still using Morocco-Comoros as a reference, selecting 2 (the away team) in a handicap 0:1 means you believe Comoros will win when the extra goal is added, meaning they do not have to win the actual game.

This option is basically the same as a simple x2 (away team win or draw) because the only way to lose this in handicap 0:1 is if Comoros loses.

The same option but with two extra goals (handicap 0:2) means Comoros can afford to lose but not by more than one goal. The same rules apply for the increasing number of handicap bets but it is important to note that the higher you go the lower the odds.

The important thing to note with handicap betting is that you can either bet on a team to win or draw despite a goal(s) deficit or a team to win or draw with the help of a goal(s) deficit, that is the basic concept of it and it can sometimes be easy to confuse one for the other.

Backing a team to win with a deficit would attract higher odds (usually higher than their odds for a simple win) which only increases the higher deficit you select. Going the other route and backing a team to win with the help of a deficit will see a reduction in their normal win odds and further reduction as the deficit increases.

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