Football Betting Strategy: Handicap Betting
When you start betting on football, it’s always a good idea to begin with markets such as Full-Time Result, Both Teams to Score and Over/Under 2.5 Goals. These are all straightforward betting options where you either choose which team will win the match, whether both teams will find the net or how many goals will be scored in the game.
However, once you’ve built up some confidence and a staking plan, then you might just be ready to tackle the handicap betting markets and there are plenty of reasons why customers choose to go for this option time and again. Some of the reasons are as follows:
- You can get tighter and more competitive odds with these markets
- It helps you get a different angle on a particular football match
- You can sometimes get the draw on your side
- It’s similar to betting on the 1x2 market but it’s a two-way market
- You can make a profit even if the team you back lose the game
There are a number of handicap betting markets available with online bookmakers and we’ll explain each one in this article so you can figure out the best option each time. Sometimes you will see handicap markets and sometimes it will be called Asian Handicap markets although the same principle applies to all of these betting options.
When you visit your favourite bookie, you might find the following:
- Asian Handicap
- Alternative Asian Handicap
- Handicap Result
- Alternative Handicap Result
The above might be called different things from bookmaker to bookmaker although the markets are pretty much the same. You essentially want to be finding a bookie that offers a big range of handicap markets for a football match so you can choose the bet that suits your opinion on what might happen.
Let’s start with a really simple example. West Ham are playing Crystal Palace in the Premier League and here are the Match betting odds and the Asian Handicap betting odds:
Full-Time Result Odds
- West Ham 2.05
- Draw 3.40
- Crystal Palace 3.60
Asian Handicap Odds
- West Ham -0.5 @ 2.090
- Crystal Palace +0.5 @ 1.840
You can see that the Full-Time Result market is a three-way affair, while the Asian Handicap market has two available betting options. That is because you can either bet on West Ham with half a goal deficit or Crystal Palace with half a goal start.
- If West Ham win the game, then West Ham -0.5 wins (as the -0.5 goal has been covered
- If the game is a draw, then Crystal Palace +0.5 wins (as they remain +0.5 in front
- If Crystal Palace win, then Crystal Palace +0.5 wins (as they increase their advantage
You might think that Crystal Palace +0.5 is therefore better to place than West Ham -0.5 as you have two options on your side, although it should be realised that the Eagles are a shorter price on this Asian Handicap betting market and they are also the outsiders for this particular football match.
Now let’s look at another Asian Handicap football betting market for the same game:
- West Ham -1 @ 3.000
- Crystal Palace +1 @ 1.375
On this occasion, West Ham have been given a deficit of one goal and Crystal Palace have been awarded a goal start for this handicap. Therefore, if you place a bet on West Ham -1 @ 3.000, you can have the following outcomes:
- West Ham win by two goals or more = you win your bet
- West Ham win by exactly one goal = you get your money back
- West Ham draw or lose = you lose your bet
Therefore, you would place this bet on the Hammers if you felt that they were going to win by one goal as a worst-case scenario but felt confident that West Ham could win by a bigger margin.
This is where Asian Handicap betting steps up a whole new level! However, it’s actually quite straightforward when you get the hang of things, with the bookies often creating an Asian Line where you have split stakes between two different options.
Let’s take a look at the below example for a match between Arsenal v Southampton:
- Arsenal 0.0, -0.5 @ 1.970
- Southampton 0.0, +0.5 @ 1.960
At first, this might seem hard to understand although we’ll break things down and explain how the bet works. If we placed a NZ$10 bet on Southampton 0.0, +0.5 @ 1.960 before the match, then the bet would be broken down as follows:
- NZ$5 of our stake would go on Southampton 0.0
- NZ$5 of our stake would go on Southampton +0.5
In order to win with the first part of our bet, we would need Southampton to win the game although that stake would be refunded if the game was drawn.
In order to win with the second part of our bet, we simply need Southampton to draw the match as they already have half a goal start over Arsenal.
Asian Handicap betting markets generally offer a great deal of value and the bookies might offer tighter margins than you would find betting on other markets. In the above example featuring West Ham and Crystal Palace, you can see that the Hammers are 2.05 to win the game but can be backed at 2.09 with a -0.5 goal handicap and that means it’s essentially the same bet at different prices.
You might also get an Asian Handicap betting market where you can bet on Southampton 0.0 @ 2.300 to win a match and that’s a bit like wagering on the Draw No Bet market as you can get your money back if the game is drawn. Therefore, you can use certain Asian Handicap markets in order to bag yourself some insurance should there be a draw.
Another scenario could be that Manchester City are playing Burnley and they’re priced at 1.10 to win on the Full-Time Result betting market. However, City -2.5 could be priced at evens on the Asian Handicap market and that is great for punters who expect the home side to win by three goals or more. This way, you can potentially double your money by betting on a team with this market.
Yes, Asian Handicap football accumulator bets are pretty popular, with punters able to pick out a number of different selections and combine them together. Should you place an Asian Handicap acca and any of the options are pushed (refunded), then your stake just goes on to the other selections at reduced odds.
An Asian Lines accumulator can be a good idea if you want to combine together a number of “safe selections” to good effect, with customers able to choose whether they want a decisive winner with each selection or alternatively have the opportunity to get money back with certain selections.
While Asian Handicap betting markets are increasingly popular, there has always been the chance to bet on the Handicap Result instead and this is probably easier to understand and doesn’t involve split stakes or half a goal advantages. You might have a bet on the Handicap market when it comes to other sports and you might find something like this:
- Arsenal -1 @ 4.00
- Tie +1 @ 4.00
- Southampton +1 @ 1.66
As you will see, this is a three-way betting market so you have to be exactly right to win and there is no money back option with any of the selections.
- If you bet on Arsenal -1 @ 4.00, you would need the Gunners to win by two goals or more.
- If you bet on Tie +1, you would need Arsenal to win by one goal
- If you bet on Southampton +1, then you need the game to end in a draw or away win
You can also choose to bet on Alternative Handicap Result and this means getting to choose your own selection and odds. You can take a chance and choose a big price such as Arsenal -2 @ 8.50 or alternatively go for a safer option such as Southampton +2 @ 1.20 and that could work well in an accumulator bet. The best new bookies will offer all of these handicap betting options.
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