What is handicap betting: Definition, strategies and tips in June 2024

In sports betting, handicap betting is a strategy used to level the playing field in a match by giving an advantage to the underdog and a disadvantage to the expected match winner. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about handicap betting in Nigeria.

Here, we’ll explore the different types and meaning of handicap in betting, best handicap bookmakers in Nigeria, and tips to win handicap betting in Nigeria.

What is the meaning of handicap in betting?

Handicap betting, also known as spread betting, is a betting type where the two opponents in a match are either given an advantage or a disadvantage before the match starts to make the betting more competitive.

Handicap in betting is mostly available in sports betting where there is a clear match favourite and an underdog. This “advantage” or “disadvantage” is mostly expressed in terms of goals (for example football) or points (in basketball). It is often used to make the bet more even.

Handicap betting meaning

Example of handicap in betting

In the current Euro 2024, imagine a match between France and Albania. With the likes of Mbappe, Kante, Dembele, and Griezmann, France will obviously be the favourite winner, while Albania is the underdog. This is where handicap in betting comes in. If a handicap of +1.5 goals is given to Albania (the underdog), here’s what it means:

  • If you bet on France: They need to win by 2 or more goals for you to win the bet. If they win by only 1 goal, the bet is a loss.
  • If you bet on Albania: You win the bet if they win the match, draw, or lose by only 1 goal. If they lose to France by 2 or more goals, the bet is a loss.

I mostly place handicap bets whenever the EPL season is active. I tend to place bets on Manchester City because they tend to win by more than 2 goals, helping me easily win my +1.5 handicap bets.

Handicap betting in football

Football is one of the most popular sports where you can find different types of spread betting. I’ve been playing football handicap bets in Nigeria for over 5 years now and here are the most popular types of handicap bets I’ve played over the years:

  • First Half Handicap: The handicap applies only to the first half of the match. For example, in an English Premier League (EPL) match between Manchester City and Arsenal, you might see a first-half handicap of +0.5 for Arsenal. This means that if you bet on Arsenal, they need to be winning or drawing at halftime for your bet to win.
  • Draw Handicap: In this type of handicap, a specific number of goals will be added to one team’s score to see if the match will end in a draw. Let’s say there’s a match between Enyimba FC and Sport Lagos, and you bet on a draw with a +1 handicap for Sport Lagos, this means that they must lose by just one goal for the bet to win.
  • Handicap No Draw: This is my favourite type of spread betting in football. A no-draw handicap means the possibility of a draw is removed, and the bet is decided on which team wins after the handicap is applied. Imagine a Euro 2024 match between France and Germany, with a no-draw handicap of +1 for Germany. If you bet on Germany, they need to win the match outright for you to win the bet.
  • Goal Handicap: This is the most common type, where the handicap is expressed in the number of goals. For example if you bet on Chelsea with a -1 handicap in an EPL match against Tottenham. Chelsea needs to win by 2 or more goals for you to win the bet.
Handicap betting - goal handicap

Asian Handicap betting

Asian handicap betting is a variation that offers more nuanced options and eliminates the possibility of a draw. It often includes half-goal handicaps (e.g., +0.5, -1.5) to further balance the odds. For example, a -0.5 handicap means the team needs to win the match outright for the bet to win.

Asian handicap

Let's say you're like me and you're a big fan of Enyimba in the Nigerian Professional Football League and they have a big home game against Sunshine Stars. You're a bit cautious because Sunshine Stars has been in decent form lately.

You could place a regular bet on Enyimba to win, but you're looking for a safer option that still offers good returns. This is where Asian handicap betting comes in.

Instead of a standard win bet, you decide to bet on Enyimba with a -0.5 Asian handicap. This means Enyimba needs to win the match outright for your bet to win. If the match ends in a draw, you lose your bet. There's no possibility of a half-win or a push like you might have with other handicap types.

Why would you choose this? The -0.5 handicap balances the odds in your favour. Since Enyimba is the favourite, a standard win bet might not offer great odds. But with the -0.5 handicap, the odds on Enyimba will be higher, increasing your potential payout if they do win.

Additionally, the Asian handicap eliminates the risk of a draw, which is a realistic possibility given Sunshine Stars' recent form. You're essentially putting all your eggs in the Enyimba win basket, but with better odds than a standard win bet.

League Handicap betting

League handicap betting applies handicaps to teams throughout a league season. This type of betting is used to predict which team will finish higher in the standings after the handicaps are applied.

Example of League Handicap Betting

Imagine the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) season is about to start. The bookmakers might offer league handicap betting with the following handicaps:

  • Enyimba: -3
  • Rivers United: -1
  • Akwa United: 0
  • Kano Pillars: +2
  • Remo Stars: +4

If you bet on Enyimba to win the league handicap, they would need to finish the season with at least three more points than their final points tally. For example, if they finish with 70 points, they would have 73 points for the purposes of the league handicap bet.

If any other team has more than 73 points after their handicap is applied, you lose the bet. I placed a handicap bet on Enyimba last season, and thankfully they won the league, and helped me win over 100,000 NGN on Bet9ja.

Handicap betting tip

Best handicap betting bookmakers in Nigeria

When it comes to spread betting in Nigeria, there are a couple of reliable bookmakers certified by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission where you can find competitive odds and multiple handicap events. Here are my top 5 bookmakers for spread betting in Nigeria:

  1. Betano
  2. Bet9ja
  3. BetKing
  4. Paripesa
  5. Nairabet

These bookmakers not only offer the best odds to place handicap bets in Nigeria, they also offer massive welcome bonuses which you can use to explore various handicap markets.

How to win a handicap bet? – Handicap betting tips from our expert

Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve been playing spread betting for the past 5 years, and during that period, I’ve developed a lot of strategies which have helped me win my bets. Here are some of my handicap betting winning strategies:

  • Research: Check out each team’s forms first. Check out their last 5 games, the number of goals they scored and the number of goals they conceded.
  • Available players: You should also check out the list of players who are injured or suspended as it may affect the match results. For example, if you want to place a handicap bet on France, check to see if Mbappe, Griezmann, and Dembele will be available for the match as it may affect the number of goals scored.
  • Place value bets: Don’t just focus on betting on the favourites, check out the underdogs with favourable handicaps.
  • Set a betting budget: Set a fixed amount for betting in a month and ensure you never exceed your budget.

What is handicap in betting: More questions answered

What sports is handicap betting available on?

You can place handicap bets on football, basketball, volleyball, and many other competitive sports.

What does +1.5 handicap mean?

A +1.5 handicap means the team starts with a 1.5-goal advantage. You’ll win the bet if your chosen team loses by 1 goal, plays a draw, or wins the match.

What does 0.5 handicap mean?

A 0.5 handicap means there is no possibility for a draw and the team must win outright.

What does 2 handicap mean in football?

A 2 handicap means the team needs to win by 3 or more goals for the bet to win.

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Jerry Falade

Hi there, I'm Jerry, and when I'm not strategizing on the chessboard or cheering on Barcelona every weekend, I'm passionate about writing about sports betting and helping others navigate the world of betting. I enjoy writing informative articles that will help people make informed betting decisions. When the work is done, you can find me eating a box of KFC's hot wings.