The concept of handicap betting aims to even out the chances of the two teams involved in a football match. For instance, if a Premier League team is playing against a non-league side, you would expect the former to win every time. This means that the bigger team would always get small odds, making it an unworthy bet. However, if you gave the weaker side a two goals head start, it would be harder to predict the outcome, and most importantly, the odds would be exciting.
The analogy mentioned above forms the basis of handicap betting. The bookmaker will give the underdog an advantage, and the favourite a disadvantage, all in an attempt to create a level betting environment.
The most popular forms of handicap betting in football are the Asian handicap and the European handicap.
Asian Handicap Betting Guide
In Asian handicap betting, there are no draws – you have to choose between a home win and an away win. Here are the most common Asian handicap betting markets.
Asian Handicap 0.0
In this option, the game starts at 0-0. No team gets a head start. Also, the draws are null.
For example, if you bet on Arsenal vs Spurs AH - 0.0, the odds would be home 2.25 and away 2.6.
If you stake £100 on an Arsenal win, the home team must win for you to gain any profit. If the game ends in a draw, the bet would be null, meaning you get your stake back. If the away team wins, you lose your bet.
The same rules apply if you bet on the away team. The 0.0 AH market is similar to draw no bet (DNB), where gamblers get a refund if the outcome is a draw.
Asian Handicap 0.25
Here, the game begins with a score of 0-0.25. The underdog has a 0.25 goal advantage before the game kicks off. This option is a bit complicated than other betting markets.
For example, Everton vs Liverpool AH 0:0.25. Home odds 2.4, away odds 2.1.
If you bet £100 on an Everton win, the home team must win for you to take home £240. If the outcome is a draw, you will lose half of your stake, meaning that you get a refund of £50. If Liverpool wins, you lose your entire stake.
On the other hand, if you bet on a Liverpool win and the away team wins, you will take home £210. If the outcome is a draw, you get half of your stake back, plus half of the winnings you would have got if Liverpool won. This means that a £100 stake would earn you a £50 refund and an extra £105, totalling to £155.
Asian Handicap 0.5
In this market, the underdog gets a 0.5 goal before the game starts. Regardless of the result, you cannot get a refund – you either win or lose.
For example, Barcelona vs Real Madrid AH 0:0.5. Home odds 1.9, away odds 2.00.
If you bet on a Barcelona win, the home team must win. Otherwise, you lose your stake.
If you bet on Real Madrid, you will win if the away team wins or the outcome is a draw. If Barcelona wins, you lose the bet.
Asian handicap 0.75
In this case, the lesser team gets a 0.75 goal advantage before the match begins. This option is slightly different from the AH 0.25 market.
For example, Newcastle vs Manchester City AH 0.75:0. Home odds 2.00, away odds 1.90.
If you stake £100 on a New castle win, you will get £200 if the outcome is a home win or a draw. If Manchester City wins by a difference of one goal (0-1. 1.2. 2-3, and so on), you lose half of your stake and get a refund of £50. If the away team wins by two goals or more, you lose everything.
If you bet on a Real Madrid win, the away team must win by two or more goals for you to get £190. If Madrid wins by one goal, you get half your stake back, plus half of the winnings you would have got if the difference was two or more goals. Basically, a £100 stake will earn you a £50 refund and extra £95, totalling to £145. If the outcome is a draw or a home win, you lose everything.
Asian Handicap -1
Here, the underdog gets a one-goal advantage before the match kicks off.
For example, Manchester United vs. Leicester AH 0:1. Home odds 1.80, away odds 2.00.
If you bet £100 on a home win, Manchester United must win by two or more goals for you to get £180. If United win by one goal, the bet is null, and you get a full refund. If the game ends as a draw or Leicester win, you lose your stake.
Otherwise, if you bet on a Leicester win, you will get £200 if the result is an away win or a draw. If Leicester loses by one goal, you get a refund. If they lose by two goals or more, you lose the bet.
Asian Handicap 1.5
Here, the underdog gets a 1.5 goal advantage before kick-off. Similar to AH 0.5 bets, you either win or lose all of your money.
For example, Chelsea vs West Ham AH 0:1.5. Home odds 1.80, away odds 2.10.
If you bet £100 on a Chelsea win, the home team must win by two or more goals for you to get £180. Any other outcome means that you lose all of your money.
If you bet on a West Ham win, you will take home £210 if Chelsea win by a goal, or West Ham fails to lose. If Chelsea wins by two or more goals, you lose the bet.
European Handicap Betting Guide
The European Handicap is also called the three-way handicap because it offers three choices – a home win, a draw, and an away win. The inclusion of a draw is the most significant difference between Euro and Asian handicaps.
How it Works
Consider a match between Arsenal and Spurs. The available odds would be Arsenal (-1) – 3.5, Draw (-1) 1.80 and Spurs (+1) 2.00. In handicap betting, a minus sign indicates a disadvantage, while a plus sign indicates an advantage.
In this case, if you stake £100 on an Arsenal win, the home team must win by two or more goals for you to get £350. Any other outcome means that you lose the bet.
If you bet on a draw, the home team must win by exactly one goal. Otherwise, you lose the bet.
Lastly, if you bet on Spurs, you win if the away team fails to lose.
Bookmakers often offer many Euro handicap markets in a single match. For example, the goal difference might be two or three. These should be easy to bet on, provided you have a basic understanding of the concept.
Although handicap betting appears complicated, it grows into you when you understand how it works. It is a better alternative to standard betting because it offers bigger odds when two mismatched teams are playing against each other. Furthermore, you have a more extensive range of options to choose from.