On this page: What does handicap mean in betting? How calculations are made Handicap Betting Explained What does the term Scratch/”Scr”in handicap betting mean? Rugby League Handicap Betting Asian Handicap Betting Handicap betting is a popular method of wagering and offered by most sports bookmakers. Many find it puzzling in the beginning mainly because handicap betting influences the way odds are interpreted. Points-based or goals based sports like football or tennis are commonly favoured by bookmakers for handicap betting. It is also frequently used in racing events such as horse racing. This form of sports betting is known to provide an even contest and is widely used. Hence it’s crucial to gain an understanding of the various handicap betting practices available. What does handicap mean in betting?Handicap betting is known by various other terms such as points betting, line betting, the spread or Asian handicap. In order to even the field or create even-money contest a bookmaker typically adds points towards the competitor that is deemed an underdog. The procedure whereby a bookmaker turns a sporting event with varied odds into even money contest, by granting a virtual advantage (surplus) or disadvantage (deficit) to certain competitors can be termed as handicap betting. This implies teams get a goal advantage or a head start that makes betting interesting as punters may find it difficult to predict the outcomes and contest seems more on even fields. It is worth noting that in handicap betting the handicap simply applies to the selection punter is betting on.How calculations are madeSuppose you place a 0-4 handicap bet on the football game between France and Scotland and the final score is 2-0. While factoring the handicap the following score results: 0-4 + 2-0 = 2-4Hence the score that counts for the purposes of your bet is 2-4 and if you bet on Scotland in that game, you win.Handicap Betting ExplainedTo understand this let’s look at an example of handicap betting football as it popular in the UK. Say if Manchester United were favourites to beat Arsenal, the bookmaker might give Arsenal a 2-0 handicap advantage. If you then place a handicap bet on Manchester United to win, but they only win the game 1-0, you will lose your bet, due to the handicap that had been applied. Effectively, in the eyes of the bookmaker, Manchester United lost the game 2-1.Manchester United (-2) evensHandicap Tie (-1) 3/1Arsenal(+2) 2/1The match ended in a 1-0 victory for Manchester United, but if you bet on Manchester United to win you wouldn’t win the market. Manchester United would have needed to score as many goals as the handicap in order for your bet to pay out.If you bet on the handicap tie, you would win your bet, as Manchester United won by the exact margin specified in the handicap. It is the margin of the win that matters rather than the number of goals scored when betting on a handicap ties. If you bet on Arsenal to win, you would win, as they effectively won the game 2-1 in the eyes of the bookmaker.What does the term Scratch/”Scr”in handicap betting mean?In case you are new to betting and wondering what exactly the term “scr” means, it simply implies that for a particular game there are no handicaps applied and actual winners will be considered as the market winners by the bookmaker. This is because bookmakers deem that the competitors in the event you are placing a bet on are to be evenly matched so apply scratch instead of a handicap.What is no draw handicap match betting?At this point, we all know that one-sided sporting contests are made more exciting with handicap betting for people who enjoy sports gambling. However, regardless of actual outcomes of a game, multiple bookmakers offer no draw handicap match betting. This implies there is a guaranteed winner of the game in terms of the bet, regardless of the end result. The manner in which no draw handicap match betting is set up is by offering half handicaps to certain teams.For example, in a Premier League match between Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion, the bookmaker has given a handicap of +1.5. You place a bet on Chelsea to win.The match ends 3-2 to West Bromwich Albion, but because of the +1.5 handicap, your bet on Chelsea pays out, and the score was effectively 3.5-3 to Chelsea in terms of the bet.As per bookmakers view, it would have been impossible for punters bet to have ended in a draw, simply because in football there is not even a nitty-gritty possibility for half goals to be scored. Again, remember that the handicap only applies to the selection you are betting on in case of handicap betting.Below table demonstrates examples of handicap football betting in action Handicap Team 1 Team 2 Gets head start of Punters Win if Punters Loose if Draw Stake refunded if 0.5 -0.5 +0.5 Team 1 wins the match. Team 2 win or draw the match. Team 1 match ends in a draw. X X 1 -1 +1 Team 1 must win by at two goals. Team 2 win or draw the match X Team 1 only win by one goal Team 1 only win by one goal. Team 2 lose the match by one goal 1.5 -1.5 +1.5 Team 1 must score at least two goals Team 2 win the match, draws, or concedes by only one goal. X Eliminated X 2 -2 +2 Team 1 must win the game by a margin of three goals or more. Team 2 lose by a goal margin of only one. X X Team 1 win by a margin of two goals. Team 2 lose by a margin of two goals 2.5 -2.5 +2.5 Team 1must win the game by a margin of three goals or more. Team 2 don’t lose by a margin of three goals or more. X X XRugby League Handicap BettingThese days approximately all events in points/goals-based sports, including rugby leagues have a handicap market. With rise in demand for betting options players are allowed to employ variant handicaps in majority cases either to increase or decrease the handicap based on their confidence behind their selection.Consider in a given rugby match where England are favourites to defeat Northern Ireland, the handicap might see Northern Ireland in receipt of 8 points i.e. Northern Ireland +8 for a handicap betting and England, in turn, is associated with -8 in the same market. Therefore, the odd are suggesting an 8-point differential between the teams and is the margin by which the bookmaker’s odds are hinting one team has better chances of winning over the other team. In the scenario above suppose you placed a bet on Northern Ireland +8, and England actually win the game by 7 or fewer points, then your bet wins in the handicap market.Now here a rugby team may be considered even-money to fulfil the 8-point handicap assigned to them. However, if punters believe they have a credible chance of winning by more than 8 points, based on markets offered they can increase the handicap and therefore also increase the odds offered, e.g. England -10 in this instance might be 8/3.Based on a selection of odds (that feature varied handicaps across every team in the division), handicap league betting allows players to place their bet at the start of a season as well as spanning whole season of competition.The team perceived as the favourite to win begins with the scratch (scr) handicap of zero. Rest of the teams are given a virtual head starts or handicap with an equivalent handicap point score based on the bookmaker’s expectations of the league’s likely performances. Hence weaker teams are given larger handicap advantages in order to even the field.At the end of the season, along with individual teams selected, all the teams’ handicap scores are combined with their actual point’s total. The team with the highest points is then considered the winner of the market.Each-way places are then determined by the teams finishing 2nd, 3rd etc.If more than one team ties for a place then dead heat rules would apply.This is the most popular forms of handicap betting whereby you make a handicap bet on a team’s performance across the course of a season. Thus instead of applying the handicap to only a chosen selection in order to calculate the outcome of the bet post-match conclusion, in handicap league betting respective handicaps are applied to all teams in the divisions being bet on. Also, the outcome is calculated at the end of the season. Thus in the eyes of the bookmaker, the final league table is worked out only once all the handicaps have been applied and punter will discover whether their bet was successful.