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What is handicap betting in football?

Any kind of betting can be sometimes difficult to get your head around. There are many ins and outs to learn even with the most basic kind of betting, and things only get more involved from there. You might be familiar with the idea of a handicap, but are not entirely sure what it all means. This can be especially important in football betting—so, today, we’re going to give you the best run-down we can of what handicap betting is in football.

Let’s get started. 

What are betting handicaps? 

Simply put, a betting handicap is a deficit placed on one team in a football game. It’s a virtual deficit used for betting. No two teams are ever going to be perfectly evenly matched. When two teams are very unevenly matched, this can make betting odds difficult. Odds will be too good for the better team, and thus bets won’t be profitable. But betting on the other team is just too risky. 

So, the team with the better chance of winning is given a deficit to overcome. This means they start with a handicap of perhaps one or two goals. This would mean they would either need to score one or two goals to be at 0-0 with the other team, for the purposes of betting. 

These handicaps are very commonly used in football betting, but they are also used in all kinds of sports, from horseracing to Olympic betting. 

Why are they used in the first place? 

Why are handicaps used? 

Football, being so popular, is played a lot in the UK—in the Premier League alone, each team plays 38 games. This is not to mention all of the dozens of other games that take place in the Champion’s League, whatever international tournaments might be happening that year, and so on. 

This demand for football games means that you have to pit teams against each other who are not necessarily evenly matched. Even in the Premier League alone, the best and the worst teams will be virtually incomparable in terms of ability. 

Without the use of something like handicaps, betting on these games just wouldn’t be interesting. You either take a huge risk on a team that has very little chance of winning, or you play a safe bet on the better team and receive a tiny pay out. 

Giving the better team an obstacle to overcome makes the betting more interesting and just more feasible. Bookmakers can offer more advantageous odds, and bettors can have a more interesting bet. 

So, then, how can you best use handicaps to your advantage? 

What handicaps mean for your betting 

Another important reason that handicaps are used in football is that there’s an ocean of punter knowledge out there helping bettors make more informed decisions. Before you think about anything else, handicap bets are best made use of when you have extensive knowledge of the leagues and teams involved. 

Anything from injuries to which players are on the squad can inform your decision about how to bet. If there’s one or two small factors which might give you some insight into the likely outcome of the game, handicap bets can be of huge advantage. If you’re really sure of a bet, you can bet on handicap odds and make an even bigger winning than you might have on a normal game. 

Even for the more casual bettor, though, handicaps just make it easier for you to bet on a wider variety of games. With a levelled playing field, you don’t need to worry that you have little chance of making a big win or of winning at all. The average Brit only spends around £2.60 on betting per week, so handicap betting is just as important to keep options open as it is to make those options fair.  

So, handicaps are really just a way of levelling the betting playing field for two unmatched teams. Betting on and setting fair odds for football games can be very difficult when there is a considerable distance in terms of ability of both teams. Handicaps are a simple and effective way to sidestep this problem and make football betting more inclusive. 

Read – Five summer signings who have failed to make an impact this season

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