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Online Gambling Sites > Betting Guide > Football Betting Handicap Explained 2024: A Guide to Handicap Meaning and How to Use It

Football Betting Handicap Explained 2024: A Guide to Handicap Meaning and How to Use It

Publish Date:19/05/2023
Fact checked by: Heather Williams

A football betting handicap is a popular bet type. Where moneyline or total bets don't offer much value, a football betting handicap usually will. It's commonly called the point spread, and that's where the big action is in NFL betting.

This guide will explain the basics of this kind of bet and give examples of how it works. There are multiple handicap betting options, and we'll cover that too. So keep reading. You can place handicap bets at most betting sites, including Stake, where you can claim an exclusive welcome bonus using our TGHSOCIAL bonus code.

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The basics of football betting handicap

Betting handicap is a form of sports betting that evens out odds disparities between two teams of mismatched quality. Usually, a heavy favorite will be given very small payout odds because they're believed to have the easy win. On the other hand, a weak underdog team will get much longer odds indicating that they've got much lower chances of winning.

Imagine the Kansas City Chiefs, who are on top of the power rankings going against the Indianapolis Colts, who are among the least performing. Sportsbook moneyline odds for a matchup with so much strength differential could be something like this:

  • Kansas City Chiefs: -280
  • Indianapolis Colts: +650

This means you have to bet $280 to get $100 on the Chiefs, whereas a $100 bet will net a profit of $650 on the Colts. The rational bettor would naturally go for the Chiefs since it would require a miraculous offset for the underdog to take home the win. At the same time, there's meager value to be gained from betting on the obvious choice here (a $10 bet will earn you a little under $3.6 at the -210 odds).

The Handicap betting market will help level the playing field and make the odds on both sides closer to even money. It basically adds one or more point advantage to the underdog while putting the favorite at a disadvantage (a handicap).

Example of handicap betting in football

Let's consider the scenario of the Chiefs vs. Colts.

A sportsbook may give the Chiefs a 5-point deficit and a 5-point starting advantage to the Colts to offer more parity to the odds. The handicap betting market will look something like this:

  • Kansas City Chiefs: -5.5 (-115)
  • Indianapolis Colts: +5.5 (+135)

This means a bet on the Chiefs is successful if they win by more than 5 points (6 points or more).

The Colts have to lose by 5 points or less or outrightly win the game in order to cover the spread.

The odds are now much closer together, offering almost equal value for both sides. The decimal figures are used to eliminate the chance of a draw. With handicap betting, the winner or loser of the game doesn't matter. What matters is the points difference in the outcome.

Types of handicap in football betting

Three-way handicap

With a three-way handicap, a draw is possible. It uses whole number points, which allows for the possibility of a tie. Here's an easy illustration of what this kind of handicap market looks like:

  • New York Giants: +2
  • Handicap Draw: -2
  • Buffalo Bills: -2

The Bills have to win by at least three points to cover the spread, whereas the Giants will meet the spread requirements by losing by no more than one point. If there's a two-point difference, say 21 – 19 for the Bills, the draw bet wins. This is also referred to as a European handicap. It’s not common among US sportsbooks but some of the best betting sites will make the option available.

No draw handicap

The no draw handicap is just like it sounds. It eliminates the draw, and as such, it only includes half-point handicaps. The decimal point ensures that one side or the other will have to cover the spread, and a draw can't occur.

Asian handicap betting

The Asian handicap offers the opportunity to split handicaps. Asian handicaps are available as full lines (-1, +1), half lines (-1.5, +1.5), and quarter lines (-1.25, +1.75).

With the full lines, a draw is a push. All players' wagers will be returned with no profits. Half lines, on the other hand, are like the no draw bet.

The quarter lines are slightly more complicated, but they tend to offer higher payout odds. A quarter line is an each way bet that splits between two intervals. For instance, a 2.25 Asian handicap is split between 2.00 and 2.50, while a 2.75 handicap is between 2.50 and 2.00.

A $100 bet on 2.25 means $50 on 2.00 and $50 on 2.50. The bets are independent, so you can lose one side of the bet and win the other.

Conclusion – The best odds action are in handicap football betting

Handicap betting or spread betting is a great way to bet on football. The advantage over moneyline or totals is that you're not betting on the match's outcome but by how much a team will win or lose. Since it evens out the odds, you're not constrained to select whichever team is the heavy favorite. Instead, you could find value in the underdog and get significant sports betting payouts in return. Since there are multiple types of handicap betting, you can diversify your bets even more.

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Football betting handicap explained FAQs

πŸ§† What is handicap betting in football?

Handicap betting is one of the numerous sports betting markets that exist. To find out what it is and how it works, go ahead and read our comprehensive guide on the topic.

πŸŽ–οΈ Who should bet on football handicap bets?

To know whether or not you should place a handicap bet on football, you need to understand the purpose of this unique betting option. Luckily, our online betting guides cover all you need to know about sportsbook markets, including the best strategies and tips for using them.

πŸ’΅ Can you win money from handicap betting?

If you're betting to win on handicap markets, you're not alone. There are different types of handicap betting, providing different ways to bet on your favorite teams. Find out how to play this bet and your potential chances of winning.

βš–οΈ What's the relationship between handicap and point spread?

These are two exciting betting options that you can take advantage of at the best sportsbooks. Follow our dedicated guide, where we've explained the similarity between the two.

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