Handicaps look too complex to understand. But they are relatively easy to comprehend. They are also some of the best wagers in football. They also promise great value, which increases your returns on investment better than most bets.

What is a Football Handicap Bet?

Handicaps are an alternative way to bet on teams with extremely high chances of winning and still get good returns.

Traditionally, betting on Juventus to beat lower side Parma means getting little returns for your bets. With a handicap bet, bookies award one or more goals to underdogs Parma.

Let’s say Parma gets two hypothetical goals at the beginning of the match. For your bet backing Juventus to be counted as a win, they must beat Parma by more than two goals.

Although it’s more challenging to predict that Juventus will beat Parma by +2 goals, the handicap will usually attract better odds. And because everyone football bettor is always looking for bets promising high returns, handicaps provide plenty high-value odds.

European vs. Asian Handicap: What’s the difference?

Bookmaker bookmakers offer two kinds of handicap bets: European and Asian. There’s a slight difference between the two wagers, but it can make a significant difference in your betting returns.

European Handicaps

European handicaps are typically listed in whole numbers. In an example, you want to bet on Liverpool to beat Bristol FC in the FA. A bookmaker could offer a +2 handicap so that your wager on the reds is only awarded if they win by over two goals.

If Liverpool draws, loses or fails to win by the specified margin, you lose your bet. Keep in mind you also lose if Liverpool wins by two goals. Your wager is only awarded if the reds win by three or more goals.

Asian Handicaps

With Asian bets, there’s the possibility of getting your stake back. Also, odds feature a decimal point format so that instead of +3 or -1 handicaps you get +1.65 or -1.75 handicaps. This makes Asian handicaps a tad bit challenging to understand.

Nonetheless, they share the same concept with European handicaps. One team perceived to be an underdog is awarded several goals before the start of a match. This also works by deducting the favourites one or more goals.

As we mentioned above, handicaps also come with improved odds. A game where Liverpool would get odds 1.20 for beating Bristol FC would mean odds 1.90 for the reds in a handicap wager. Needless to say, this would result in more returns for your investment.

So, when do bookies return your stake in Asian handicaps? If you wagered on two teams whose total handicap is +3 goals, it would imply they must score four or more goals for your prediction to be correct. If there were to score three goals, it would be counted as a draw.

But lucky for you, draws aren’t counted as losses in Asian handicaps. A tie is considered a push and you get your stake back when this happens.

Should you bet on Handicaps?

Betting experts advise newcomers to gain gambling experience on regular wagers before branching into handicaps. It makes sense if you consider the amount of research you need to do be confident one team could beat the other by multiple goals.

Still, you can venture on handicaps as a beginner punter. European handicaps, for instance, are easy to play. They’re also available in nearly all top betting sites. Check a list of the best bookmakers with handicap bets on this page.  Research betting markets skillfully and pick the best teams.

Handicaps’ Betting Tips

Although some teams have a long history of defeating specific opponents by multiple goals, it doesn’t mean that will always happen. To help you pick the right clubs when betting in handicaps, use the following tips:

  • Examine the importance of a match

Football teams relax all the time, mainly when tasked to play matches with little importance. But if a team is motivated to win a game for any reason, they will fight to win games. Of course, you want to find matches in which one side aims to win by huge margins.

In European knockout matches, for example, score lines can help determine which team qualifies. As such, teams will always try to score multiple goals.

  • The Odds Given

Most handicap odds look impressive on the surface. But when you dig deeper to assess the competitiveness of a game, you might realize the odds are not worth the risk. As such, compare odds from different bookmakers and wagers and bet on matches that offer the best value.

  • The Opponent’s Level of Motivation

Head to head statistics can help you identify teams to bet on. However, you should also use motivation to enable you to predict whether the favourites will be motivated to blow out their opponents in the next match. Motivation can also help you know whether the underdogs are better prepared or they will likely ship in multiple games.

  • Playing Styles and Manager Philosophies

Some teams like Bayern Munich have no problem beating their opponents by +5 margins. They romped up FC Rottach 23-0 in a pre-season friendly over the summer. Man City also outscores premier league opponents by +2 goals consistently.

By comparison, former Man united Coach Jose Mourinho has a philosophy of scoring a few goals and defending them to the end. When wagering in handicap games, you want to back teams whose playing styles and manager philosophies lead to maximum goals scored.

In Conclusion

Handicaps are an alternative betting method for people that want to bet on traditional favourites and still get decent returns from the stakes. The wagers work by awarding or deducting one team several goals before the start of a match. For a bet to be considered a win, your preferred team must win by a specific margin of goals.

Consider practising with European handicaps before trying out Asian handicaps as well. Also, use the tips shared above to help you identify the best betting matches.