William Hill’s Handicap betting guide: bets, rules and examples

Updated: 21/03/2023


Round betting, general odds and football tips are all the rage, especially with the restart of the Premier League and the massive feast of boxing on show this month. But a handy form of wagering that has slipped into the shadows is handicap betting.

As a term that is probably not familiar to most sporting fans, we’ve decided to construct a guide for those less aware of its usefulness. So without further ado, read on for our handicap betting guide:

What is handicap betting?

Also referred to as an ‘Asian handicap’, handicap betting is a process whereby a bookmaker turns a sporting event in which the odds are unbalanced into an even money competition.

In a contest of any sporting event, the inferior team is given a virtual advantage (or perhaps the superior team is given a disadvantage) in order to level the playing field.

So how is the competition evened out, you might ask? Well, in any points-based contest, this is created by simply adding points onto the side deemed to be the outsiders, and our handicap betting guide explains how this occurs.

Examples of handicap betting:

Still confused about what handicap betting entails? We’ve got a few sporting examples to further clarify this form of betting.

Lets take the example of last weekend’s Premier League fixture, Liverpool vs Southampton.

Just imagine that prior to the match you placed a handicap bet, and the bookmaker had set the handicap at 4-0. Your bet on Liverpool would’ve still paid out even if the Reds lost the game 3-0, because in the eyes of the bookmaker, they’d be 4-3 winners.

So the odds are evened out, posing for a more thrilling encounter.

Mane scoring to support our handicap betting guide

Mane did our handicap betting guide gurus proud by sealing the win against Southampton

Types of handicap betting:

This is where things can get a little complicated because there are several different types of handicap betting. Our handicap betting guide breaks down the lingo for you in order for you to place the perfect bet.

The two main types are:

  1. No draw handicap match betting: The bookmaker ensures that there is a clear winner by ensuring the handicap bet gives a certain team more leeway with the betting. For instance, if Watford are given a 1.5 bet against Everton but lose 3-2, they’ve effectively won 3.5 to 3 points. Capiche?
  2. Asian handicap betting: Similar to the no draw handicap match betting, this involves split handicaps, whereby your selection can have one handicap that is a whole number and one that is a half number. For example, if Leeds are given a handicap of -1 and -1.5, they’ll need to win the match by two clear goals in order to win the market, due to the handicaps applied. But if Leeds win by one, then the whole number handicap results in a draw, while the number handicap gives Manchester United the victory.

Key things to remember:

  1. If the competitors in the event you are placing a bet on are deemed by the bookmaker to be evenly matched, you might see the term ‘scratch’ (sometimes presented as ‘scr’ by bookmakers) instead of a handicap. This means that there are no handicaps applied to the game, and the actual winners will be viewed as the market winners by the bookmaker.
  2. Remember, you will only get back in monetary gains what the handicap bet selection initially applies to.
  3. These wagers even out the odds for underdog teams, so do your research before tipping a particular side to win (after reading our handicap betting guide, of course)

Click here to access our football accumulator guide, for all the information you need in relation to handicap betting

This post first appeared here

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