What is a handicap? European and Asian handicaps
Handicap – this is an amount, positive or negative, assigned to a certain team or, in general, to a participant in a sport event. It is presented with goals, points, sets, seconds, etc., depending on the type of sport. The final result is corrected by adding (subtracting) the handicap amount. The result obtained after such a correction is used for settling the bets with the assigned handicap.
Handicap is used to make the bets more attractive by equalizing the chances of the participants in the sport event, as well as to provide an opportunity for the punters to make their predictions of the outcome more precise, to optimize their profits, and in some cases of failure to limit and minimize their losses. Bets with a handicap are preferred by the punters most specifically in cases when there is a significant difference in the balance of forces of the teams (participants) in the sport event. By means of the handicap a balance of chances is maintained.
Let us review the application of the handicap with a practical example:
The football match Everton – Sunderland is forthcoming. Both bookmakers and punters consolidate around the opinion that Everton is an outstanding favorite in this match and is much more likely to win. Due to the subjective balance of the teams’ forces the bookmaker has proposed the following odds for the match outcome:
The anticipated victory of Everton is estimated at 1.40, but for punters who find it logical this odds of 1.40 may not constitute a sufficient stimulus to make a bet. Some of the punters are inclined to believe that the victory of the favorite team will be convincing i.e. a difference in the score of 2 or more goals will be achieved in favor of Everton. Led by their expectations, the punters will tend to bet on such an option but at greater odds. Bookmakers in their turn, driven by their desire to make bets more attractive and diversify their lines, will offer such an option. This is how you get to the necessity to assign a certain initial advantage (handicap) to one of the two teams, in this case – Sunderland. If the advantage (handicap) is selected to be 1 goal, then it is as if the match starts with a score 0:1. In such a case, bets made under the handicap conditions will be settled based on the actual score adding the handicap.
If the match ends with a score of 3:1, then, after the correction with the preliminarily assigned 0:1, you will get the score of 3:2 to settle the wagers. This means that if the bet was on Everton, then it will be winning after the correction as well. It will also be a winning in the event of a score of 3:0 achieved in the match, which after the correction will be 3:1. In general, for all scores where Everton wins the match with a difference of 2 or more goals, wagers on Everton will be winning. But what happens with the bets on Everton, if the team wins the match with exactly 1 goal difference? Then the actual score, after the correction of 0:1, will lead to a draw for the wager settlement. There are 2 types of handicap – European and Asian, which treat differently the even score obtained after a correction of the score reached with the preliminarily assigned advantage. We will review them successively.
The major characteristic of the European handicap is that it offers 3 betting options for settling the bets. These options refer to the score obtained after the correction of the actual result with the preliminarily assigned advantage. They are designated just like the main market of the event with 1-X-2 and bets made on them are settled as follows:
1 - wins in case of victory of the first team with a goal difference greater than the handicap assigned. 1 - wins in case of victory of the first team with a goal difference greater than the handicap assigned.
In our specific example with the Everton – Sunderland match this means that in order to be winning, Everton needs to win the match with at least a 2-goal difference. The amount of the handicap can, of course, be different for each match because of the specific difference in the teams’ classes. The handicap may be announced as an advantage of 0:2, 0:3 etc. That is why the general definition for success of the bets on the favorite team is that it wins the match with a difference greater than the handicap assigned.
X-this option is a winning in case of a victory of the first team with a goal difference equal to the handicap assigned.
This option is an answer to the question raised above. The answer for the specific example is: if Everton wins the match with exactly one goal difference, then after the correction with 0:1 the result obtained will be a draw and the bets on the “X” option will be winning under the conditions of the European handicap. Whatever handicap is assigned for each particular match, a goal difference, which will lead to a draw after the correction, is needed.
2 - this option wins in case of a victory of the second team, if the result is draw or the second team loses with less than the handicap assigned.
For random handicaps- after a correction of the score achieved with the advantage assigned, the ultimate score obtained is to be in favor of the second team.
The European handicap for our example with the match Everton – Sunderland would look like this with the bookmaker:
So far, we can see that the handicap achieves some of its goals – the odds for victory of Everton has increased from 1.40 to 2.05 under the conditions of a handicap of 0:1. This satisfies the punters who think Everton’s victory will be convincing, i. e. with a difference of 2 or more goals. However, as we already mentioned, the handicap also aims at minimizing the punters’ losses in case of an unsuccessful prediction. How is this accomplished? Here, the Asian handicap comes to help as its opportunities sometimes allow the punter to get back his bet or part of it.
This form of betting originates from the South Asian countries where it is especially popular among local bookmakers. It's originally called “hang cheng betting”. The term “Asian handicap” was coined by Joseph Saumarez Smith in 1998 – a British journalist and expert in the field of gambling.
Even a quick glance at the lines of the Asian handicap would make us notice one very essential difference from the European handicap. The Asian handicap offers only 2 betting options, the draw option being omitted. If there is a draw after adding the handicap, then all bets are settled as “push” i. e. they are refunded to the punter in the same amount in which they were made. In some cases of applying the Asian handicap it is possible to refund half the bet, while the other half is settled as winning or losing. This depends on the handicap amount and the score achieved. Let us return to our example of the match Everton - Sunderland. We would like to make a bet that Everton will win with 2 or more goals but we also want to benefit from the advantages of the Asian handicap by securing the case in which Everton wins with exactly one goal difference. The Asian handicap would be as follows:
A draw option is missing, all cases of victory of Everton with 1 goal difference lead to refunding of the wagers. But, as you will notice, the odds of Everton is considerably lower than it would be under the conditions of a European handicap. Securing has its price, though.
The application of the Asian handicap is universal i.e. it is not necessary to have an obvious imbalance of the teams’ chances. One of the most commonly used amounts of the Asian handicap is “0” i. e. no advantage is assigned to any of the teams but the opportunity is used to refund the bets placed on any of the teams in case of a draw. This is extremely practical for teams with balanced capacities. Let us review an example. At the match Sampdoria – Genoa the bookmaker offers the following odds:
We are impressed by the close amounts for 1 and 2, as well as by the relatively low amount of the odds for X. This is so because the two teams are relatively equal, while at the same time it is typical for the draw odds for the Italian A series to be lower than those for analogous matches from other European leagues. This is based on statistical data and is known by both bookmakers and punters who check the results on a regular basis.
So, we decide to bet on the victory of one of the two teams but in such a way that in case of a draw our bet is not losing but is refunded to us. We choose an Asian handicap with an amount of 0 and we find that the odds are as follows:
Again, they are lower than the 1-X-2 market, but as we already explained security has its price. This amount of the Asian handicap has become so popular that it is also used by bookmakers who do not offer Asian lines. It is known as “draw no bet” or the abbreviation DNB.
An Asian handicap with an amount of –0.5 is actually identical with the symbol 1 from the 1-X-2 market. This means the bets on it win only in case of a victory of the first team, they lose in case of a draw or victory of the second team. The opposite amount of +0.5 is identical with the bet X2 (double chance). This means the bets on it win in case of a draw or victory of the second team and they lose in case of a victory of the first team. Sometimes it is possible that the Asian handicap of -0.5 has higher odds than its identical option 1 from the 1-X-2 market of the same bookmaker. This is so because it is easier and respectively more profitable for the bookmaker to manage a market with 2 outcomes than one with 3 outcomes. The standard margin (profit) of the bookmaker is lower at markets with 2 outcomes which is an additional advantage for the punter. In the specific case the situation for a handicap of –0.5 is the following:
Sometimes a punter may be experiencing doubts as to what amount to choose for an Asian handicap, considering the fact that the different amounts bear different risks and respectively have different odds for paying the profit in case of success. In the last example, the difference between the odds for a handicap of 0 and a handicap of –0.5 is noticeable. Then it is logical to ask if it is possible to take a more moderate risk while at the same time achieve higher odds than those for the handicap of 0? It turns out that in the Asian handicap there are extremely flexible solutions for risk management. It is possible to choose intermediate amounts of the handicap through ¼ goal (or 0.25, expressed in decimal figures). This means the handicap amounts offered are 0, 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, 1, 1.25. 1.50, 1.75 etc. as necessary for each particular case in order for the betting to be attractive. When you select amounts for the handicap ending in 0.25 Рё 0.75, it is assumed that your bet is split into two equal parts- each of the two parts is placed on the neighboring amounts.
For example, if you choose to bet $100 on a handicap of –0.25, the bookmaker splits your bet into two bets of $50 each, which are placed respectively on a handicap of 0 and a handicap of –0.5. Analogously, in case of a selected handicap of –0.75, the bet would be split into equal parts between the neighboring handicaps of –0,5 and –1.
The amounts ending in 0.25 and 0.75 can be recorded in various manners by the different bookmakers:
Some of the manners of recording hint to the punter that this is the case of 2 amounts of 0 and -0.5 between which the bet will be split.
In relation to the example discussed, if you look at the odds for a handicap of -0.25, you will find the following amounts with the bookmaker:
Theoretically, it is to be expected that the odds of a handicap of –0.25 should be the arithmetic average of the odds of the composite handicaps of 0 and –0.5. However, in practice, slight deviations are possible. This is so because each amount of a handicap constitutes a separate market for the bookmaker. And a good bookmaker manages each market according to the volume and distribution of the bets wagered on it.
The 1–X–2 markets and the Asian handicaps offered for the match we discussed actually look as follows with the bookmaker:
Three handicap amounts have been selected whereby the odds are relatively balanced. It is of course possible to add more handicaps and the higher the amount of the negative handicap for Sampdoria, the higher its odds will be. Analogously for Genoa, the more the amount of its positive handicap is increased, the more the respective odds decreases. Some bookmakers offer different numbers of Asian handicaps depending on their betting model, as well as on the preferences of their users. Their attitude towards matches from the major leagues is also different from that towards matches from the lower divisions. The more popular the teams, the greater the variety of handicaps offered.
On the tables below you can see the distribution and settlement of bets on basic Asian handicaps:
Bets on the favorite team (negative handicaps)
full stake on 0
half stake on 0
half stake on –0.5
half stake push
half stake lose
full stake on –0.5
half stake on –0.5
half stake on –1
win by 2 or more goals
half stake push
full stake on –1
win by 2 or more goals
half stake on –1
half stake on –1.5
win by 2 or more goals
half stake push
half stake lose
full stake on –1.5
win by 2 or more goals
half stake on –1.5
half stake on –2
win by 3 or more goals
half stake push
full stake on –2
win by 3 or more goals
Bets on the underdog team (positive handicaps)
Football handicap betting allows punters to even the market on specific games to allow for a fairer price. By handicapping one team, it essentially gives that team a hypothetical head start in the match. It’s more commonly found in matches where one team is a short priced favourite over their opponent. The handicap can range from 1 goal upwards and the odds on the outcome of the match will reflect the handicap awarded.How Football Handicapping Works
At the start of each game a bookmaker will set a price for each team to win the match. This line will reflect how likely it is for that team to win. The more likely a team is to win the shorter the price, the less likely the longer the price.
Games with short priced favourites are less favourable to the majority of punters as they aren’t getting as much value from their bet. If a team was priced at just 1.50 to win a game then a £10 bet would only return profits of £5; not that appealing. By putting a handicap on that team the odds will lengthen significantly. When teams are at such a short price it’s often thought that they should win by a comfortable margin. The handicap reduces this margin somewhat and offers a fairer price for that team.
The handicapping will be of a certain number of goals and often look like +1.0 or -1.0 meaning they start with a 1 goal lead or trail by 1 goal before the game starts. At the end of the game you will need to add or subtract the handicap number to get the ‘true’ handicapped result.
Handicapped bets may look something like this:
The above example shows that Arsenal have been given a -1.0 handicap, meaning they basically start the game 1 goal down. Norwich has been given a +1.0 handicap meaning they start the game 1 goal up.
If you backed Arsenal on this handicap then to win the bet you would need them to win by 2 clear goals or more. If you backed Norwich to win then you would only need to game to either end in a draw or any Norwich victory. So let’s say the game finished 2-2 and you had backed Arsenal at -1.0 at odds of 1.60. Your bet would then subtract 1 goal from the Arsenal tally meaning the handicapped score would equal 2-1 to Norwich and you would lose. If you backed Arsenal again and the game finished 3-1 then after handicap the result would be 2-1 to Arsenal and you would still win. If the game finished 3-2 to Arsenal then the handicapped result would be 2-2 meaning you would lose as you backed an Arsenal victory.
It’s worth noting at this point that if the game finishes a draw after the handicap some bookmakers do refund bets. You will need to check the terms and conditions prior to betting for each bookmaker as they will vary.Asian Handicap Betting
Another way of handling the possibility of a draw is to eliminate it all together. When an Asian Handicap is applied to football betting, the handicap that is used contains a fraction of a goal - such as +1.5 or -1.5. In this scenario a draw is impossible, as a player cannot score half a goal.
Manchester United (-1.5) 1.8 v Southampton (+1.5) 1.8
In this example, Man Utd have been given a 1.5 goal handicap - so if you had bet on them to win, they would need to score 2 goals more than Southampton in order for you to be paid out (eg: 4-2). If the match ended 3-2, then your Man Utd bet would lose. But a bet on Southampton would be a winner.
For obvious reasons, Asian Handicap betting is favoured by many punters over traditional handicap betting, although not all bookies offer it.
If you’ve ever joined a sport based online betting bookie or perhaps even some of the Betting Gods football tipsters, then you’ve most probably discovered the term ‘Asian handicap’. Whilst this may confuse you, we are here to change that! This guide will explain what an Asian Handicap is, and how it’s different from standard betting. We will also suggest a few things before you place your stake on the Asian Handicap.
The Asian Handicap is basically spread betting, with the teams having a handicap, typically reflecting how well they’ve been playing recently. These values can be either positive or negative, for example -2.0 or +2.0. These figures signify a head start that one team has over the other, in football it will be a goal deficit.Exclusion Of Draws
When betting on an Asian Handicap, you can only bet on one team or the other, which eliminates the draw option. Asian handicap betting is mostly popular with football, as draws are very common in games.
An example of when an Asian handicap bet would prove a wise choice is if Chelsea play Swansea at home, with the blues being massive favourites to take the three points. The odds for Chelsea to grab the victory would be very low, and the odds for Swansea to win would be high. These games, that are predictable, are less popular due to the risk not being worth it on the side that may not stand a chance. It is wiser to bet on games that seem evenly matched.
However give Chelsea a -2.00 (goals) start and the odds will become a bit more lucrative, as essentially for our betting purposes this means than Swansea essentially start the game leading 2-0.
Handicap betting isn’t just match outcome bets, it also covers markets such as goals scored.How It Works?
The team that is most likely to win will have the negative handicap, with the other team having a positive handicap.
In our example, Chelsea vs Swansea, if you bet on Chelsea at -1.5, then you need them to win the game by 2+ goals, otherwise you’ll lose. If you bet on Swansea at +2.5, then you will need them to not lose by 3 goals minimum. All you have to do is to add the handicap to the teams score line to find out if you’ve won or not. Your stake will be refunded if the handicap is a whole number and the full time result is a draw. So if Chelsea are -2 and they win 2-0, there is no victor, and you’ll get your refund.What The Geek Recommends
The Geek recommends, before placing an Asian Handicap bet, to look at the regular odds first, so that you get a good idea of how large a team is favoured to win the game over the other team. Where Asian handicaps are most beneficial are fixtures where there is a larger gap between the 2 teams. You can then use your knowledge or best estimate to judge whether your favoured team is worth of taking a -1.00 start, or you want to back the outsider with an advantage.
Whilst betting on Asian handicaps can initially be difficult to understand, it can become very simple with practice. If you love gambling on long shots in an attempt to win big money, then it probably isn’t for you. However, if you prefer to make your bets more interesting and place your footy punts on a more level playing field then with Asian handicaps you just found your ideal bet.
That’s it from us today for our Geeky Tips! Join us tomorrow for some more awesome tips!
Looking for football bets with more balanced odds and greater value?
Well, handicap betting might just do the trick.
And for the record, if you’re not yet sure what I mean by the term greater value than you should check out our latest thoughts on implied probability.
When a preferred team plays against the underdog in a football game, the odds offered are usually very small.
Here we will be sharing the basics of how to use football handicaps in sports betting and let you in on the different kinds of handicap bets that can be used.What is Handicap Betting?
Handicap betting is simpler than it sounds. Handicapping is a scenario where bookmakers make a sporting event even.
When handicap bets are set, an imaginary bias in the opponent’s strengths is counteracted by bookmakers.
To provide more balanced odds; that is a 50-50 chance of winning. So basically, bookmakers give a head start to one of the two teams with regards to the number of goals scored.
Even if you’re still a rookie, you’ve most probably heard of Asian Handicapping, due to its increasing popularity.
If you haven’t fully grasped the concept of it (or just need a quick reminder), we explained what Asian Handicap Betting is a while back here.
Handicapping is also integrated into other betting styles such as in-play betting whereby football traders are equipped with the ability to build strong pre-match positions from which to trade.
This dynamic element of betting has definitely made the betting market ever more popular.How To Use Handicaps In Sports Betting
A handicap is used for sports that operate on a point-based system. So it can be used in football, basketball, tennis, and so on – you get the gist.
In the context of football, handicap odds balance out the playing field. What this means is that they take the difference between the teams’ abilities and add a +/- handicap in front of the odds.
Turns out, this way of betting gives rise to greater value for punters than backing a heavy favourite with a 1X2 bet; the conventional type of bet in football.
The handicap is applied to the final score to determine the wager winnings. So for example:
As you can see, Arsenal has been given a handicap of -1.5 goals, while their competitor, Everton, has been given a goals handicap of +1.5 goals.
This means that if you were to bet on Arsenal in this scenario, they would need to win the game by over 1.5 goals – in other words, by at least 2 goals – for you to win this wager. On the other hand, with a +1.5 handicap, they can either win the match or lose by fewer than 1.5 goals, meaning that they can either win the match or lose by no more than 1 goal.
On the other hand, with a +1.5 handicap, they can either win the match or lose by fewer than 1.5 goals, meaning that they can either win the match or lose by no more than 1 goal.
In this example, Arsenal is being deducted 1.5 goals from their overall goal total, while Everton is being rewarded 1.5 goals.
In the case that the final score came to Arsenal 2, Everton 1, with you betting on Arsenal -1.5, all you have to do is deduct 1.5 goals from Arsenal’s score.
With this deduction, the score now reads, Arsenal 0.5, Everton 1.
Unfortunately, even though Arsenal won the match, you still lost your handicap bet as they failed to win after having a 1.5 handicap deducted from their overall score.Types Of Handicap Bets
There are 3 types of handicap bets that you should be aware of before placing a bet;1. Level Handicap
A level handicap is where there is no assumed difference in abilities between the two teams.
This means that no handicap bias is applied and both teams will start off with 0 goals, at no advantage. In order to win a wager, you must pick the team that you believe will score more goals than the opponent.
This type of handicap is useful as it eliminates the draw, in which bettors will be refunded.2. Single Handicap
A single handicap occurs when there is an identifiable difference in strengths between Team A and Team B. The perceived superior team will be awarded an appropriate goal handicap to level the playing field for betting reasons. An example of a single handicap would be a -0.5 goal, or -2.0 goal, and so forth.
The perceived superior team will be awarded an appropriate goal handicap to level the playing field for betting reasons. An example of a single handicap would be a -0.5 goal, or -2.0 goal, and so forth.
For instance, if you are betting on Arsenal with a goal handicap of -1.5, your team must win by a margin of more than 1.5 goals (remember – that’s at least 2 goals) to recover the handicap and have you win your bet.
In the case that Arsenal only wins by 1 goal, the score including the handicap would result in a draw for betting purposes, thus your wager would be refunded.
If the other team draws or wins, you will lose your bet on Arsenal.3. Split Handicapping
A split handicap occurs when there is little difference in abilities of the two teams. In turn, this allows you to split your stake over 2 handicap wagers. For instance, Team A may be offered at (0&0.5).
For instance, Team A may be offered at (0&0.5).
Let’s say you bet on Team A. In the case that they lost, you end up losing both bets, as the team did not cover either handicap.
Should the match end in a draw, half of the stakes you bet (0) will be reimbursed. That being said, you will still lose the other half (-0.5). If Team A wins, both handicaps will be covered, thus winning both bets.
Not as complicated as you thought right? It’s just until you get the hang of it, that’s all.In Closing
If you find yourself losing money through 3-way fixed odds betting, it might be that you will really benefit from handicap betting. You can even try some of these handicaps for the upcoming Premier League which begins on the 11th of August 2017.
This is mainly because it offers more attractive odds when there is a favourite team to win the match rather than the small odds you get from the traditional 1X2 betting.
Nevertheless, every punter has their own style of betting. So keep digging, and find out which type of bet suits you.
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