What is a handicap – Origin, examples, tips and differences

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Bettors at the beginning of the journey usually have some very common doubts. One of them is about what is handicap. Despite being a complex betting modality, the handicap can be a good opportunity. Next, understand what handicap means.

What is a handicap – Basic concepts

Handicap, literally translated from English to Portuguese, means « disadvantage ». In this sense, when we are betting with a handicap, we are betting on a handicap. This is a tool that bookmakers have found to level certain event where one team is heavily favored. With the handicap, this team is given a disadvantage, creating new possibilities for results.

For example, let’s imagine that the Brazilian team will play a friendly match against Equatorial Guinea. You don’t need to be a football expert to know that the five-time world champion team is the favorite to win the match. As the result is very predictable, and to maintain interest in the event, bookmakers add a handicap to Brazil.

This handicap can be – 2 goals, – 5 goals, – 1 goal. Therefore, when entering the field, the Brazilian team will enter, in the eyes of those who bet on the handicap – 2 goals, for example, losing the 2-0 game against Equatorial Guinea. In this way, you will need to win the game 3 to 0, 4 to 1, 5 to 2, and so on, to give victory to those who bet on the handicap final result – 2, as if the opponent had started the game with + 2 goals on the scoreboard.

The concept of handicap betting has its roots in the practice of handicapping in horse racing, which goes back centuries. However, its application in other sports and its popularization in sports betting is a more recent phenomenon, gaining prominence mainly at the end of the 20th century.

In Europe, the term was coined by British gamblers and quickly became popular. Only after the creation of the Asian version of the what is handicap, the handicap starts to be called as European handicap.

What is Handicap - Betting Tips

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How the European handicap works

What is European handicap? Also known simply as traditional handicap, It is one of the oldest and most straightforward ways to bet on handicaps. Its operation is simple, but requires attention and strategy on the part of the bettor.

In this type of bet, three possible outcomes are offered: home team win, draw or away team win. The main feature of European is that it always works with whole numbers, like +1, +2, +3 and so on. This means that, unlike the Asian handicap, there are no splits or divisions in the bet.

Let’s take a practical example: suppose Real Madrid is playing against a lesser team, like Elche. Bookmakers, realizing Real Madrid’s favoritism, can offer a European -2 for the Madrid team. This means that, for betting purposes, Real Madrid start the game losing 2-0.

Therefore, for a bet on Real Madrid to be a winner, the team would have to win by a margin of three goals or more.

On the other hand, if you bet on Elche with a handicap of +2, even if the team loses 1-0, your bet will be a winner, since, with the addition of the handicap, the result for betting purposes would be 2-1 in favor of Elche.

The draw, in this context, also has its peculiarity. If Real Madrid wins by exactly two goals apart, the result, considering the handicap, would be a draw. Thus, bets on a tie would win in this scenario. see the possible scenarios about what is European handicap in the table below:

Handicap Meaning Example
0 No advantage or disadvantage. The team must win for the bet to succeed. If Real Madrid has a 0 handicap and wins the match, the bet wins.
+1 The team starts the game with a 1 goal advantage. If Elche has a +1 handicap and the game ends in a draw, for betting purposes, Elche wins 1-0.
-1 The team starts the game with a deficit of 1 goal. If Real Madrid has a -1 handicap and wins the game 2-0, for betting purposes the score is 1-0.
+2 The team starts the game with an advantage of 2 goals. If Elche has a +2 handicap and loses the game 2-1, for betting purposes the result is a 3-3 draw.

Asian handicap differences and rules

Now the what is asian handicap? Unlike the European, the Asian brings a more refined and detailed approach to betting, eliminating the possibility of a draw and consequently increasing the chances of winning to 50%.

The betting method, which originated in Asia, has gained global popularity due to its complexity and the additional opportunities it offers bettors.

In Asian, disadvantages and advantages are often expressed in fractions, such as +0.5, +1.5 or -0.75. This allows for greater accuracy in betting and creates scenarios where bets can be partially won or partially lost.

For example, if you bet on a team with a handicap of +0.75, and the game ends in a draw, half of your bet (relative to +0.5) would win, while the other half (relative to +1) would be returned.

This nuance makes Asian an intriguing and strategic option for punters looking for a more nuanced and challenging approach.

Let’s apply Asian to other examples, and check with the Asian handicap table below, to help your understanding of what Asian handicap means.

  • Example 1: Brazilian National Team vs. Equatorial Guinea

Remember the example of the Brazilian team playing against Equatorial Guinea? In Asian, things work a little differently. Let’s assume that the disadvantage given to Brazil is -2.5 goals. This means that, for betting purposes, Brazil starts the game losing by 2.5 goals.

Therefore, for your bet to win, the Brazilian team would need to win by a margin of three goals or more, such as 3-0, 4-1, 5-2, etc. If Brazil wins by only 2 goals difference, the bet would be lost.

  • Example 2: Real Madrid vs. Elche

In the case of Real Madrid against Elche, let’s assume that the Asian bid is -2.25 for Real Madrid. This means that half of your bet is placed on Real Madrid with a -2 handicap and the other half with a -2.5 handicap.

If Real Madrid wins by 3 goals difference, both parts of your bet are winners. However, if Real Madrid wins by 2 goals difference, half of your bet (relative to -2) would be returned, while the other half (relative to -2.5) would be lost.

Asian Handicap Meaning Example
0.0 No advantage or disadvantage. The team must win for the bet to succeed. If Real Madrid has a 0.0 handicap and wins the match, the bet wins.
+0.5 The team starts the game with a half goal advantage. If Elche has a +0.5 handicap and the game ends in a draw, for betting purposes, Elche wins 0.5-0.
-0.5 The team starts the game with a half-goal deficit. If Real Madrid has a -0.5 handicap and wins the game 1-0, the bet is a winner. If you tie or lose, the bet is lost.
+1.0 The team starts the game with a 1 goal lead. If Elche has a +1.0 handicap and loses the game 1-0, for betting purposes, the result is considered a draw and the stake is returned.
+1.5 The team starts the game with an advantage of one and a half goals. If Elche has a +1.5 handicap and loses the game 2-1, for betting purposes, Elche wins 2.5-2.
-1.25 The bet is split between -1 and -1.5. If Real Madrid has a -1.25 handicap and wins by 2 goals, half of the bet (relative to -1) is a winner and the other half (relative to -1.5) is also a winner. If you win by 1 goal, half the bet is returned and the other half is lost.
What is Handicap - Betting Tips

Tips for using and understanding what a handicap is

Understanding what handicap is is just the first step to make more complex bets. To really master this form of betting and increase your chances of success, it is crucial to consider some essential tips. Below, we highlight three fundamental tips for those who want to delve into the world of betting with what handicap is.

Get to know the teams in depth

Before placing any bet or understanding what handicap is, it is essential to know the teams involved. Study match history, current form, recent stats and any other factors that could influence the outcome. A team that has a track record of overcoming handicaps can be a good choice, even when facing a theoretically stronger opponent.

Stay tuned for the news

Injuries, suspensions, tactical changes and other news may drastically affect a team’s performance. Being up to date on this information can be the difference between a winning bet and a losing one, even mastering the handicap what it is. For example, if a team’s key player is injured, this could influence the team’s ability to overcome a handicap.

Consider team motivation

In some games, one team may be more motivated than the other, whether due to rivalry, table position or other factors. This extra motivation can influence the outcome and, consequently, the success of your bet, even if you don’t know what handicap is.

For example, a team struggling against relegation may have an extra motivation to overcome a handicap, even when facing a top-flight opponent.

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Conclusion – What is a handicap?

The world of sports betting is full of interesting features, and what is a handicap is one of the most intriguing and strategic questions available to bettors. The best way to master handicapping is to understand the basics of handicapping. Knowing its origins and the differences between the European and Asian variants will give you more knowledge to apply when betting in handicap mode.

The handicap what it is, in essence, is a way to level the playing fieldproviding betting opportunities on events that, at first glance, might seem unbalanced or predictable. It challenges bettors to look beyond the obvious odds, to delve into the stats, news and psychology of the teams involved. It is a modality that rewards research, analysis and, above all, intuition.

For novices, what a handicap is can seem intimidating at first glance, but with study and practice, can become a valuable tool in any punter’s arsenal. And for veterans, it offers an added layer of complexity and challenge, making the betting process even more engaging.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions about what is a handicap

What is a handicap in the game?

What is handicap, well, it is a technique used on betting sites to balance the chances between teams or players in a match. By handicap betting, you are not simply deciding who will win, but by how many points, goals or any other scoring metric.

What does +1.5 handicap mean?

When you see a +1.5 handicap, that means the team or player in question is getting a 1.5 point lead, or goals. For example, if you bet on a team with a handicap of +1.5, even if that team loses by 1 goal, your bet will still win, as with the handicap, they would have scored 0.5 more goals.

What is Handicap 10?

The term “handicap 10” is not commonly used in the context of sports betting. However, if you are referring to a 10 point or goal lead, it would mean that the team or player with that handicap would start the game with a 10 point or goal lead.

What does handicap 1-0 mean?

A handicap of 1-0 indicates that the team or player with that handicap starts the game with a 1 goal, or point lead. If you bet on a team with a 1-0 handicap and the game ends in a draw, your bet will be a winner, as with the handicap, the team you bet on would have a 1 goal lead.

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