If you have been following our articles at bonusreferrercode.com for a while now, then you will know that from time to time, perhaps most notably when we cover NFL-related action, we will perhaps sometimes refer to a ‘handicap’ for a betting market on those games.

While handicap betting is one of the most prevalent forms of betting in the United States, it is not quite so widely used across Europe and in the United Kingdom. So, if you are a new to this type of betting and are wondering how the handicap betting system works, in this article we are going to explain what it means and look at how it is used on a couple of different sports.

Most sports betting sites now offer some form of handicap betting on a number of the sports where it is a very popular form of bet (American Sports are a great place to start). If you want to see this type of bet in action and need to join a site that offers plenty of it, then the latest bet365 New Player Bonus is a great place to start.

That is because not only does the site offer lots of handicap betting on a number of different sports, but you can also get a fantastic bonus of up to £100 worth of bet credits when you sign up and start placing bets on the site as a new customer.

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If you are based in the United States then you will likely be well familiar with this type of betting and the great news in states that allow sports betting is you can access plenty of great handicap betting with quality sports betting operators in each state. In Pennsylvania, BetRivers Sportsbook is a very good option and you can sign up here to access a great value starter bonus with the latest BetRivers Promo Code.

The same site also offers a good deal in Indiana too, only here you can use a different option to claim your bonus and that the latest BetRivers Affiliate Code, which you type into the redeem code box when making your qualifying deposit.

In other states, one good option for handicap betting is the latest DraftKings Online Sportsbook which offers this type of betting across a number of sports, including all the most popular for US-based customers.

Let’s now explore how handicap betting works, some of the markets it is used in across a number of sports and how it is notated on a sports betting site for punters to understand.

What is handicap betting?

Handicap betting can go under lots of different names and the name used depends on the market and sport on which you are betting. In Soccer for example, you may find a “Handicap Result” market for a game. There may also be other “Alternative Handicap Result” options which involve different levels of handicap for the game in question. Both of these are shown in the screenshot below.

However, in American Football betting. Handicap betting is known under the term “Spread” betting. And this is found in the Game Lines section of the betting markets for NFL matches and it often looks like this:

ThThThe Spread betting column, the first on the left being the one where you are going to be betting on teams with a handicap applied to them.

You will often find American Sports have Spread bets available on the games played and this form of betting is very popular on sports like American Football and Basketball in particular.

In all these cases, handicap betting means that you are placing a bet on the game with a handicap either in addition to or against the team you are backing to win the game. This handicap is applied to the final score of the game and your bet is decided on the final score with the handicap applied.

  • An example of how a handicap bet works.

Let’s say for example you decided to back the Green Bay Packers to beat the LA Rams in the NFL Divisional Round next weekend and took the -7.0 spread bet option at 10/11.

Let’s now also say that in this first example, the Green Bay Packers win the game 23-20.

Now although you backed the Packers to win, you will notice that they have a -7.0 handicap. This is applied to the number of points the Packers score in that game. In this first example, this is 23. So with a -7.0 handicap applied, that means the Packers score for the purposes of the bet is 16 points.

16 points against the Rams 20 points means that your bet is now a loser as you backed Green Bay to win.

Now if you had backed the Rams to win at +7.0 at 10/11, then if you apply that handicap to the Rams 20 points scored, even though they actually lost the game in real life, with a +7.0-handicap applied to their 20 points, that will give them 27 points to Green Bay’s 23, thus this time the handicap bet would be a winner!

The key thing to remember is that you only apply the handicap of the team you have backed and that handicaps can add to your team’s points (which generally means they are the underdogs to win the game) or subtract from it (which means they are the favourites).

The greater the value of the handicap above zero, the greater the difference in perceived strength between the two teams is. For example, a game which has a handicap of between +/-1.0 and +/-3.0 is generally a very close game. However, a game with a handicap of +/- 10 or greater, is generally one between a much stronger team and a weaker opponent.

Why have a handicap at all?

Many punters, especially in the UK are used to betting without handicaps, so you may wonder why bookmakers want to offer markets on games with handicaps in play?

The answer to this is that in some games, one team is so much stronger than another that backing them to win would result in such paltry returns that they are not appealing to punters. Similarly, if you want to back an underdog in a game against a very strong team, your chances of winning would be so small that the bet is very unattractive, even at huge odds.

What handicap betting does is even the field and the aim of the handicap is to give punters as close to a 50/50 bet between the two teams as possible. This is why both options on the Spread Bet tend to be either the same, or if not, odds that are very similar in value and those odds tend to be close to even money bets.

This type of betting is hugely popular in the United States and Asia on particular and is known by other terms, such as spread betting.

How is handicap betting used in other sports like Soccer?

We have shown you how the handicap is applied in spread bets in American Football. The process is exactly the same for football handicap bets. You simply apply the handicap for the selection you made to your bet for the result to decide if your bet is a winner.

So in the example above, if we backed Newcastle to win the game at +1 at 8/15, and the game finished as either a Newcastle win, or any draw, then your bet would be a winner. If Sheffield United win the game, your bet would be a loser.

In Soccer Handicap betting, you can also bet on the Tie option. Here, you will see a + or -1 rating shown and when you click on this bet, further details of which team the handicap is applied to is shown.

In the above example, the +1 option for the tie in the Sheff Utd v Newcastle game is applied to Newcastle’s score, so for your Tie bet to be a winner, you would need the game to finish as a win for Sheffield United but by a single goal (1-0, 2-1, 3-2, 4-3 etc).

Essentially, that is all you need to understand about handicap betting. Once you understand how it works it is a very good way to bet on games that appear to be unattractive to punters due to one team being so much stronger than the other.