What is handicap in sports betting?

Sports betting has become increasingly popular among fans and enthusiasts of various sports. One of the most common terms in sports betting is "handicap", which is also known as "point spread". In this article, we will explain what a handicap is in sports betting and how it works.

What is a handicap bet?

A handicap bet is a type of bet where a bookmaker gives an advantage or disadvantage to a particular team or player. This is done to level the playing field and make the odds more even. The handicap is usually given in the form of a number of points, goals, or sets that are added to or subtracted from the final score.

For example, if a bookmaker gives a handicap of -1.5 to a tennis player, it means that the player has to win by two sets or more for the bet to be successful. If the player wins by only one set, the bet is lost. Conversely, if the handicap is +1.5, the player can lose by one set and still win the bet.

Handicap bets are available in a wide range of sports, including football, basketball, tennis, and many others.

How does handicap betting work?

To understand how handicap betting works, let's take a closer look at an example. Let's say that Manchester United is playing against Arsenal in a football match. The bookmaker gives Arsenal a handicap of +1.5 goals. This means that Arsenal has a 1.5 goal advantage over Manchester United. If you bet on Arsenal, they will win the bet if they win the match, draw the match, or lose by one goal. If Manchester United wins by two goals or more, the bet is lost.

Similarly, if Manchester United is given a handicap of -1.5 goals, they have to win by two goals or more for the bet to be successful. If they win by only one goal or the match ends in a draw or Arsenal wins, the bet is lost.

When betting on a handicap, it's important to keep in mind that the handicap can change based on factors such as injuries, team form, and other factors. It's also important to understand the different types of handicaps and how they work, such as Asian handicaps and European handicaps.


Handicap betting is a popular form of sports betting that can provide an exciting and rewarding experience for bettors. By giving an advantage or disadvantage to a team or player, the bookmaker can make the odds more even and increase the potential payouts for successful bets. As with any form of sports betting, it's important to do your research and understand the different types of handicaps and how they work before placing your bets.