Michael Tradford
Last Update:
September 3, 2021
This author was thoroughly tested and approved by the experts at before joining the editorial board to ensure a high content quality.
Author Bio:
Michael was Marketing Director in Atlantic City and worked in the casino industry for several years before shifting over to numerous newspapers in New York and Chicago working his way up to Editor-in-Chief. His focus areas are mainly in the fields of sports, gambling, and politics. He has a Marketing Degree, visited Columbia University during his time in New York and is now Editor-in-Chief at AmericaGambles.
Michael was Marketing Director in Atlantic City and worked in the casino industry for several years before shifting over to numerous newspapers in New York and Chicago working his way up to Editor-in-Chief. His focus areas are mainly in the fields of sports, gambling, and politics. He has a Marketing Degree, visited Columbia University during his time in New York and is now Editor-in-Chief at AmericaGambles.

Handicap Betting 2021: Strategy, Tips & Top Betting Sites

Betting against the spread is one of the most common forms of sports betting, as handicap betting is something that has been a part of sports wagering for ages. And handicap betting is still going strong, with the bet type being synonymous with betting on certain sports. In this guide to handicap betting, bettors will have handicap betting explained to them with both general information and specifics on how this betting market functions.

Some facts you should know about Handicap Betting
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  • Bettors select a side with a handicap applied

  • Side has to win in spite of or with handicap to score

  • If a bet wins with handicap, bettor is paid out

What is a handicap bet?

So, what’s handicap betting? As one might expect from a bet called the handicap bet, it is a bet where  betting handicaps is applied to the side that a bettor is taking in a matchup. This is often called the Asian handicap. At the completion of the matchup, the side with the higher score after the application of the handicaps are deemed the winner of the wager. This is also known as spread betting with variations such as the Asian handicap being popular as well.

This type of wager is popular in various sport types including handicap soccer betting and handicap football betting. The goal for bettors is to get some perceived value with the side that they back, and to win the wager after application of the handicap, of course. And the other goal is to win, naturally.

How does a handicap bet work?

The Asian handicap wager works in a simple fashion, in that bettors are taking one side or the other with the handicap applied. Of course, it is easy to just pick a side with handicaps applied to them. The real challenge is to take the handicap odds and analyze them to make the best possible wager in each game situation and win those bets. Not challenging, however, is placing a handicap wager.

To start placing an Asian handicap wager, a bettor needs to log into their sportsbook account and first make sure that it has the required funds to make such a wager. Once that is taken care of, bettors can decide which sport, competition, and event they want to wager on. After that is done, bettors have the option to choose which side of the handicap market they want to be on, whether that be the favorite or the underdog.

After a bettor has chosen their side, they can then choose how much they want to stake on the wager. Most handicaps have odds in the neighborhood of –110, although those could vary somewhat. Bettors also have the option to put their wagers into a multi wager, with 3 handicap bets making up a treble bet or bettors having the option to put several wagers into a system wager.

Once a bettor has decided if they want to put their Asian handicap bet into any multis and what they want to stake on the wager as a whole, they can finalize the wager. From there, all they have to do is watch the sporting event in question and hope that their wager is successful.

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Advantages of using a handicap bet

There are several advantages to placing handicap bets, with the versatility of the handicap bet being the biggest of them all. Bettors can put their handicap bets into a multi bet, place live bets with live score handicap wagers, or just let their handicap wagers stand on their own. All of those different options make for enjoyable betting and are one of the main reasons why so many bettors continue to place handicap bets, with the common goal of winning their bets.

Another advantage to Asian handicap betting or live score handicap wagering is the fact that bettors all over the world utilize it. That will help bettors get an idea as to what the opinions of most bettors are heading into a match, which can either influence or not influence the decisions of bettors who are keeping their eyes open for those picks. Given all of the opinions on sports betting that are available, having a resource like the spread betting picks of thousands of people readily available is brilliant. This is especially true when a bettor can figure out whose opinion is reliable and whose opinion is not. Here are a few other benefits to this type of wager.

  • Can be performed pre-match or in-play
  • There are opportunities for value on both favorites and underdogs
  • Odds remain consistent for the most part

Drawbacks to using a handicap wager

Betting handicap markets does come with its share of drawbacks as well. Most notable is the fact that betting on favorites can be difficult with handicap betting, due to the fact that the handicap takes points or goals away from the teams that are favored in those markets. That is the price that bettors have to pay for the ability to back a favorite at the standard handicap odds of a given sportsbook, but it can make it difficult to actually win the spread bets that bettors are placing in some instances. Also, the spread odds can cap a bettor’s earnings if they are not willing to put a large stake into their handicap bets or willing to put their handicap bets into multis.

Example of a handicap wager

For an example of the handicap wager, we will go with one of the most common forms of handicap betting in America, that being the football spread wager. It won’t shock anyone to hear handicap betting football explained as the most popular form of wagering in the United States, thanks to the massive popularity of the NFL and college football.

In this example, Team A is a seven point favorite against Team B at home in a football game. For the purposes of this example, we are going to lay the seven points and take Team A –7 to beat Team B in this matchup. The odds for the spread market are –110, meaning that we would need to wager $110 to win $100 if our spread wager was to be successful.

In order for our spread wager to be a winner, Team A would have to beat Team B by eight points or more to cover the seven point spread. If the match finished with Team A winning by exactly seven points, the wager would be graded as a push and the funds would be returned to us. And if Team B managed to win the match, force a draw, or just lose by six or fewer points, the wager would be a loser.

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Handicap bet betting strategy

For bettors who want to know what are handicap betting strategies, there are tons of strategic elements that bettors should and could incorporate into their handicap betting to give themselves the best chance to draw up profits. Chief among those bits of strategy is remembering that different sports have different things that bettors should consider while they are placing their handicap bets. Handicap betting soccer games is different than handicap betting basketball games is different than handicap football betting, and so on and so on. For example, the possibility of a draw in soccer needs to be factored in. The point is that there is no one universal strategy for winning against the spread, and that those who are handicap betting soccer games might need to approach that sport differently than others.

With that said, there are some general strategic elements that bettors should keep an eye on when going to place a wager. Keeping an eye out for injuries might be the most important of the things that bettors should look out for, as injuries can drastically change the way a squad plays no matter what sport they play. Factors like the schedule that a team has faced and is about to face are also important in giving bettors an idea as to what the energy level will be like for a team.

The ability to bet on one half rather than a full game should also be considered. Some teams are better in the second half than they are in the first half, or vice versa, which could make handicap bets for a half a more efficient way to reach the ultimate goal of getting a win. Knowing who can start strong or finish strong is at times more valuable than being able to bet a full game.

And perhaps most importantly, not blindly backing one team or one group of sides is a must. Bettors should not be betting all favorites or all underdogs on a regular basis, as both sides of that dividing line are designed to be relatively even over a large sample size. Instead, bettors need to analyze each match individually, which will allow them to make the most prudent decision based on those on the field for each and every match that is wagered on.

Pick the best sports betting operator for you

Now that you have learned all about handicap betting, you can put your knowledge to the test and develop your handicap betting skills. To do that, you will need to pick a bookmaker, and we can help you do that. Our sportsbook comparison tool is great at helping bettors find out what sportsbooks will work with their individual needs as opposed to that of a group of people that have nothing to do with them. This tool is great for helping people like you find exactly what they are looking for in a sportsbook, so don’t wait any longer to take advantage of it.

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A cornerstone for a reason
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Handicap betting is one of the oldest forms of sports betting, and is one that has stood the test of time for a reason. Bettors have been able to rely on several types of handicap betting for ages, thanks to the fact that the wager is incredibly versatile and offers players the opportunity to mix it into several different wager types. For bettors who are analytical and can understand the small differences between spread betting lines, handicap betting might just be the perfect way to go after sports betting profits.
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