Handicap betting

Handicap betting is where competitors within the field of an event are ‘handicapped’ to even out the entire field a little. Physically – in horse racing, for example, horses that in the past have performed well will be given extra weight to carry in attempt to slow them down, allowing the lesser-performing horses more of a chance.

In terms of bookmakers, bookies may offer bets in which one of the competitors is given an advantage over the other. For example in football, say Arsenal were playing a lower-league side such as Accrington Stanley. A bookie may offer a bet for Arsenal to win where Accrington Stanley is given a fictitious two-goal start. As Arsenal are handicapped, the odds of them winning will lengthen.

handicap-bettingWhich Betting Company Offers Handicap Betting?

Plenty of bookmakers offer handicap betting – in fact any reputable bookmaker will offer events with handicap options. When you’ve chosen the event in which you wish to place a wager, you need to consult the odds and your expected returns offered by the different bookmakers out there. You should stick to a reputable company with a huge amount of investment behind them; leading names such as Coral and Stan James, both of whom offer handicap options to main sporting events.

If you are intent on making a bet, it pays to work out the options available to you. For example, you may be thinking of wagering on Andy Murray to beat Roger Federer in a tennis match by at least two sets. You may find it works out better for you to wager with a handicap bet on Murray to win in which Federer is given a one-set start instead. Just calculate your potential winnings in both scenarios.

Is Handicap Betting Right For Me?

Handicap betting has both disadvantages and advantages. The advantage is that you get better odds on favourites, as of course, the better prospects are handicapped. The main disadvantage is that the chances of an “upset” are more likely, as the lesser fancied competitors are given an artificial “leg up”.

Handicaps bets are best left until you, as a punter, have gotten used to wagering. To be a successful handicap better, you really need to be able to study form and be aware of unexpected influences on an event. Perhaps in football, you’ve heard a whisper that a team’s star player is likely to be injured or rested, or know that certain golfers who are routinely winners struggle at a course where the next event is to be held. A little bit (or a lot) of homework gives a punter a distinct advantage when it comes to being successful in handicap betting.


Handicap betting is a great way of swinging the odds back into the favour of those punters who are willing to go that little bit extra with the expectation of finding favourable returns. It’s a way of evening the field when it comes to events, and therefore needs that little bit of extra wagering nuance to understand when and where the best returns are likely to be found.