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Just as with conventional sportsbooks, handicap bets require the bettor to wager on the outcome of a sporting competition as well. The difference with handicap bets is the point spread that is used to level the teams prior to the start of the game. This means that both teams are given a handicap – a negative one for the chalk and a positive one for the underdog. In most cases, points or goals are simply added to the score. The bet will be successful only if the final score in addition with the handicap resembles the selection of the bettor.
Handicap bets are very popular for games where one team is clearly considered favorite over its opponent. As conventional betting types usually don't offer tempting odds for competitions where a strong favorite plays against a clear underdog, sports betting fans often resort to handicap bets because the general level of odds is far more appealing in comparison.
Although the odds for these types of sportsbooks aren't that tempting with regards to the chalk, the lines may indeed reach a high level for a potential victory of the underdog.
For placing a handicap bet, the offset of the chosen competition gets altered in the way that the favorite team receives a handicap, which in turn places the underdog in a more advanced position. Consequently, the lines for this competition become altered as well.
Since the chalk now is less likely to win the game, bookmakers tend to increase the odd levels to adapt to the handicap. On the other hand, odds for a tie and also for a victory of the underdog are lowered.
Example for a handicap bet:
Team A is the chalk in the competition against team B, and thus receives a handicap of one goal. Hence, the game starts with a score of 1:0 from the perspective of team B, the underdog.
A vs. B Result of the Handicap Bet
2:0 2:1 → Team A must score at least two goals in order for the handicap bet to be successful
1:0 1:1 → If Team A wins, the fictional heads up for the underdog would lead to a tie as the final handicap score
0:0 0:1 → If the actual game ends with a tie, the handicap causes a victory of the underdog
A special variant of the handicap bet is the so called Asian handicap, where favorite teams are credited with full-, half – or quarter goal handicaps.
For soccer games, handicap bets are a popular form of sportsbetting, especially since tempting odds are regularly offered for the victory of a chalk with more than two goals ahead. However, the handicap must not always amount to one goal.
For games with a huge difference between the proficiency of the contestants, bookmakers regularly apply handicaps of 2 or more goals as well.
Some sports betting providers even offer various handicaps in their portfolios and leave customers the choice of which one they want to apply for themselves.