What Does Handicap Mean In Betting? Explained

If you want to make your life simpler when it comes to betting, then you would bet on the moneylines. This is betting on who will win the game.

Pretty simple stuff.

You don't get good returns on your bets, but the bets are easy to make if a little bit bland. Of course, the world of gambling is so much more than making tiny little gains here and there.

In our opinion, moneyline bets are bland. They have no excitement. Handicap bets? Fantastic.

So, what does handicap mean in betting? Let's explain, shall we?

In Betting What Does Handicap Mean?

As we said, moneylines are bland. They can make consistent returns, don't get us wrong. However, they are very predictable. Most of the time, you can pretty much work out which way a game is going to go. You know that one team is better than another, and they are probably going to be the winner. This means that the potential returns can be small.

Handicap betting shakes things up a little bit. The aim of a handicap bet is to put the two teams on a level playing field. Let's take the idea of a soccer handicap bet, for instance.

Let's say that Brighton is playing against Crystal Palace. Since Brighton are performing a lot better than Crystal Palace, the moneyline odds may indicate that Brighton are the likely winner. Small, but comfortable returns.

The handicap bet, however, will give Brighton a disadvantage. Let's say that they have a handicap of 1 goal.

In order for Crystal Palace to be the winner in a handicap bet, one of the following would need to happen:

Essentially, this handicap bet has made the game a whole lot less predictable. This means that the potential winner for the bet opens up. The result? You are going to end up with much more competitive odds. If your bet comes through, then you will be able to enjoy far, far greater returns.

It is no wonder people love handicap betting. Handicap betting can apply to pretty much any bet that you can make on a game. Although, we are strictly talking about moneylines here, since this is when the vast majority of people will encounter handicap betting.

The Handicap In Betting Means What For Your Bets?

Handicap betting completely changes up the way that you would bet. It means that you will have to do a lot more research into the games that you are betting on.

Let's give a couple of examples of how this works, shall we? We will continue to use the Crystal Palace and Brighton examples from before.

Of course, you will still need to be doing the traditional research that you would be doing whenever you make a bet. This means looking at the current form of a team, injuries, potential changes to morale, etc. However, with handicap betting, you will be taking this all to the next level.

You Have To Understand TheTeam's Offense

With the handicap bet, you need to have a solid understanding of how many goals a team is likely to score in a game, particularly the team that has been given the handicap.

In our example, Brighton has a handicap of one goal. This means that to be a winner in the eyes of the bet, they would need to score at least 2 more goals than Crystal Palace.

If you go through the stats and see that Brighton tends to score just 1 goal more than their opponents, then you know that there is a bit of a risk to the bet. This can change the odds in ways that your traditional moneyline bet wouldn't change them.

In our example, Crystal Palace doesn't need to have a huge attacking force. They have that one goal lead for the purposes of the bet.

You Have To Understand The Team's Defense

You also have to understand the way in which both teams defend.

For example, for Brighton to be a winner in this bet, they need to let in as few goals as possible, while also scoring 2 more goals than their opponents.

Crystal Palace, on the other hand, needs to have a good defense. You don't want them to let in more than 2 goals than they score in the game.

This is going to take a deep dive into the recent form of both teams to let you know how each of the teams tends to perform defensively.

You Have To Understand How Teams Traditionally Play Against One Another

One of the things that we really love about handicap betting is that you have to spend a lot of time focusing on how the two teams traditionally perform against one another.

With traditional moneylines, this is less of a focus. There is always one team better than the other.

While there may be one team better than the other in a handicap bet, everything is leveled out. You have to think about the tactics that each team uses against one other.

The players on the field, etc. You have to learn whether, traditionally, these teams have performed in such a way that they are going to be able to overcome the handicap.

This is something that becomes incredibly important when you are comparing the bigger, better-performing teams in the league. They tend to be very defensive and not quite so offensive (you don't want to lose points to your rivals), so you are unsure as to how the game is going to go.

What Are Handicaps in Betting Pros and Cons?

We have gone through how handicaps in betting work, so we want to give you a brief overview of the pros and cons of this type of betting. This way, you will be able to decide whether it is right for you.

The Pros of Handicap Betting

Obviously, the major pro is that with handicap betting, there is the potential to win a lot more from your bets. This is because they are riskier.

It also makes it much easier to bet on teams that traditionally wouldn't be seen as a winner in a particular match-up. This means that you may be able to bet on teams that you follow, even if they do not normally perform well.

We also love the whole research aspect behind handicap betting, although we do understand that this may not be for everybody.

The Cons of Handicap Betting

While the odds behind handicap betting are higher, they are higher for a reason. There is a much greater chance that you would lose your bet. if you don't like huge amounts of risk, then handicap betting is for you.

Unlike moneylines, handicap betting will likely have you carrying out a deep dive into the stats for teams. As we said, some people enjoy this, but it isn't for everybody. if you just want to place a quick bet every now and then, then handicap betting probably isn't for you.


Handicap betting is an exciting way to bet. With handicap betting, the two competing teams are brought level on the moneyline (by giving the favorite a handicap). If you really get into handicap betting, you can make a lot more cash than you would with the traditional moneyline bet.