Handicap in sports betting: what are they and what types exist?

The standard definition of handicap in major dictionaries refers to a handicap as an unfavorable circumstance or factor that has a negative impact. But the meaning of "handicap" in sports betting is different.

So, does it have anything to do with the commonly accepted definition? What is actually a handicap in sports betting? It is a sports betting system by which a match of a different level can be matched by subtracting or adding goals to the participants.

There are two types of handicaps: the classic and the Asian handicap. Both have the same purpose, but they are structured differently. Let's take a look at both of them below.

Main types of handicaps

The classic handicap is the one that is executed by subtracting a certain number of points or goals from the favorite team, and they are added to the weaker one. When betting on the favorite, the favorite will have to beat the handicap that will be subtracted from the final result in order to win the bet. On the other hand, if you bet on the underdog, you will have the advantage of having the handicap added to the final result.

Now, how do classic handicaps work in betting? First of all, there is no cumulative effect. In other words, the handicap is only added to or subtracted from the result of the team you are betting on.

As for the Asian handicap, it is basically the same type of handicap, except that you cannot bet on the draw of a match. In addition, fractions of halves, a quarter or three quarters are allowed, something that cannot be included in the classic handicaps.

On the other hand, in the Asian handicap, if the result of the match with the handicap is a draw, the amount of the bet is returned. And if the match is resolved with a win by a quarter of a goal, the win or loss is divided by two.

European handicap: another way of balancing bets


Now that you know what the handicap means in betting, it is time to go one step further and dive into what is the most common handicap in our territory: the European handicap.

What does the European handicap mean in betting? Very simple: it means that an advantage or disadvantage is added to the contenders, without eliminating the possibility of a draw, and which is noted by numbers, mainly 1, 2 and 3. Normally, it means that there is a very unbalanced match and it is decided to use a mechanism to balance it.

The most complicated thing about this type of handicap is that it takes into account at all times the possibility of a draw. Normally, what is done is to bet on participants before the draw, which helps, at the same time, to understand how handicaps work.

If you remember what we said earlier, you will have noticed that it is the Asian handicap that does not allow for a draw in betting. That is why it is easier for many people to get started with this handicap, since it is much more manageable from the start, and much more intuitive. What this does is to turn this mechanism into a much more manageable alteration, something that this type of resource suffers in most occasions.

How the European handicap works according to the wager

It is easy to understand the dynamics of these mechanisms, since, ultimately, they only give you two or three options: add, subtract or opt for a draw. The one that adds is usually called a positive handicap. In the case of the European, the handicap allows you to add the indicated advantage to the score of the designated team, as is always the case.

The opposite is the case of the negative handicap, which subtracts the value indicated to the team indicated in the bet. But in the draw, what is done is to keep the bet balanced, which for many purposes is like performing a much more limited compensation of results.

Although at the beginning it is a little complicated to know how the handicap works in betting, especially considering the different types that exist, it is necessary to understand the effects they can have and what are the basic differences between the European handicap and the Asian handicap.

The handicap is also a resource widely used in the field of sports in general, so it is a resource available to all those users who are fans of rugby, tennis, soccer or basketball.

In short: what do I have to take into account about the handicap?


It is a resource used in the sports betting sector to balance the competitive balance of the game. It is used when there is a team or an opponent that is too powerful, which makes it possible to make the bets more even and to avoid an exodus of participants by leaving clear winners and losers even before the halfway point of the game is reached.

It is, in other words, a way of allowing all participants to have an equal chance to win with their bets. If there is an excessively powerful player or team and the game becomes unbalanced, those who win will win a lot, but those who lose will lose the entire amount of their bets. This is exactly what you want to avoid.

Each type of handicap has its own particularities and not all of them allow to play with the singularities of the draw. In fact, the complexity added by this factor makes many choose to start with the Asian handicap, which does not work with draws, and leave other types such as the European handicap for later.

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