How does the handicap in sports betting work?

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July 12, 2021 0 Comments

Let’s try to answer the question in a simple way: what is the Handicap? Handicap or handicap is a term that is used a lot not only in betting games. Many online video games use this system. It consists of equalising the teams, so that the betting odds are equalised. Imagine, for example, that in a match there are two teams with very different chances of winning. The handicap will favour in terms of betting the team which is weaker. This exists so that there are more chances of victory for the bettors of both sides.

In betting terms this is quite simple. There are the odds, or possibilities of winning. In football this is even clearer, as the first placed team in the National League has a much better chance of beating the last placed team than the other way around. The first team will therefore naturally receive more bets, increasing their odds. The latter, however, will have few bettors. The handicap therefore comes in to give an advantage, or a “teaspoon” to this weaker team.

How the different betting lines work

betting lines

For the punter to know whether the team needs to beat or hold the betting line, simply add or subtract the handicap/advantage, and whether the handicap is whole or compound, so we find out whether the bet will be won, returned or lost. Examples: AH 0, if the team wins the bet is won, if it is defeated the bet is lost and in case of a draw the bet is returned; AH ± 0.25/0.5, the difference is in the draw, half the bet is lost and half returned; AH – 0.5, if the team wins the bet is won, if it draws or loses the bet is lost; AH +0.5, if the team wins or draws the bet is won, if it loses the bet is lost.

What is the European Handicap (HE)?

HE as well as HA serve to balance teams/athletes, with the aim of bringing odds closer together. It is a way to encourage bets on the team that is paying little, a very common situation when one of the teams is the overwhelming favourite. In this market the bets are placed on the victory of the home team, the victory of the visitor, or a draw. That’s why there are no void/refunded bets. In our imaginary Fla X Flu if you bet with a European handicap of 1:0, it means that Flamengo already starts with a one goal advantage. When betting on the tricolor with this handicap, to win the bet the team must win the match by two or more goals difference.

On the other hand, betting on Flamengo +1 means a double possibility, meaning that the red-black team would have to draw or win for the bettor to win. And in case the bet is on Draw -1, Fluminense could only win by one goal, exactly 1 goal difference. As with the Asian handicap, the European handicap can be positive or negative, and as already mentioned, there is the possibility of betting on a draw. If you bet on Draw +1, the favorite team will have to lose by exactly one goal difference, and if you bet on Draw -1, the favorite team will have to win by a goal difference of 1. The European handicap is not much used in Brazil, but has superior odds.

Pay attention to the differences between the handicaps!


Not all bookmakers offer European and Asian handicaps. Our recommendation is that you choose a house that offers both, or two houses that offer you or the other and so you have all the options. For your convenience, we have made a comparison of the best bookmakers in Brazil, so that you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

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