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What Is Handicap Betting In Football?

What Is Handicap Betting In Football?

Welcome to Late Casino and our guide on understanding handicaps in football betting - a tool that can level the playing field in matches where one team is a clear favourite over the other. 

In this blog post, we'll break down what a handicap in football betting is and how it works, providing easy-to-understand examples to help beginners grasp the concept. We'll also explore the intriguing world of Asian handicaps, which offer a unique twist on traditional betting handicaps. 

Whether you're new to football betting or looking to refine your strategy, this guide will equip you with the essential knowledge to get started. 

How Does a Handicap Football Bet Work?

In football betting, a "handicap" is a way of levelling the playing field when one team is significantly stronger than the other. Bookmakers assign a virtual disadvantage or advantage to teams based on their strength to balance the odds. 

For instance, if Team A is much stronger than Team B, a handicap might involve giving Team B a 1-goal advantage before the game starts. 

Here's how it works: If you bet on Team A with a -1 handicap, they need to win by more than one goal for you to win your bet (e.g., a score of 2-0 or 3-1). If you bet on Team B with a +1 handicap, you win if they draw or win the game. Essentially, handicaps adjust the scoreline virtually to give weaker teams a fair chance and make betting more exciting and challenging. 

Example of Handicap Football Betting Example

Let's go through a couple of examples of common handicaps in football betting. 

0.5 Handicap

Consider the match where Manchester United (-0.5) competes against Leeds United (+0.5). Betting on Manchester United means they must win outright for you to secure a win on your bet. Conversely, a bet on Leeds United pays out if they either win or manage a draw. 

1 Handicap

Take the match-up of Chelsea (-1) versus Brighton (+1). Should you place your bet on Chelsea, they are required to secure a victory by at least two goals for you to win the bet. A single-goal victory by Chelsea results in a virtual tie and your bet may be returned. Betting on Brighton is successful if they win, tie, or lose by only one goal. 

1.5 Handicap

Using Liverpool (-1.5) against Norwich City (+1.5) as an example, a bet on Liverpool means they need a win by a minimum of two goals. On the other side, betting on Norwich City will pay out if they win, draw, or lose by a single goal. 

2 Handicap

In a game with Arsenal (-2) facing Fulham (+2), a successful bet on Arsenal requires them to triumph by three goals or more. If Arsenal wins by two goals, it counts as a tie, and you might get your stake back. A bet on Fulham wins if they win, draw, or lose by no more than one goal. 

2.5 Handicap

Looking at Manchester City (-2.5) versus Southampton (+2.5), a bet on Manchester City requires them to win by three or more goals. Conversely, betting on Southampton will result in a win if they win, draw, or lose by up to two goals. 

What Is Asian Handicap In Betting?

Asian Handicap is a popular form of betting that removes the possibility of a draw in football games, making it an attractive option for bettors seeking clear outcomes. This betting style assigns a goal handicap to each team based on their form and expected performance - effectively levelling the playing field. 

For example, if a stronger team has a handicap of -1.5 goals, they must win by 2 goals for a bet on them to pay out. Conversely, if the weaker team has a handicap of +1.5 goals, a bet on them would win if they lose by no more than 1 goal, draw, or win the game. 

This method not only simplifies betting choices by eliminating the draw option but also increases the excitement, as every match will have a definitive winner in betting terms. 

Can Handicap Betting Be Profitable?

Handicap betting, like any form of gambling, does not guarantee profits. The potential to make money from handicap betting exists, but it fundamentally depends on whether your bets win. Winning bets can indeed be profitable, but how much you profit hinges on several factors, including the size of your bet and the odds at which you placed it. 

For example, if you place a larger bet at favourable odds, your potential return increases. Conversely, smaller bets or bets placed at lower odds yield lesser profits. It's crucial to understand that while handicap betting can add excitement and provide a strategic edge, it carries the same risks as any betting. 

Making informed decisions and understanding the dynamics of the teams and games you're betting on are key to improving your chances of success. 


In conclusion, handicap betting in football offers a way to balance the odds by giving an advantage or disadvantage to teams based on their expected performance. This makes matches involving unevenly matched teams more exciting and bet-worthy. Asian handicap betting enhances this by eliminating the draw as a possible outcome, ensuring there's always a winner in betting terms. 

While potentially profitable, like all forms of gambling, success in handicap betting isn't guaranteed and depends on well-informed betting choices and understanding the nuances of each game. 

Remember, responsible betting is key to enjoying this exciting aspect of sports gambling. Set a budget and stick to it while bearing in mind that winning is never guaranteed.