What is a handicap?

What is a handicap?

Handicap is a well-known concept, and not all punters know exactly how it works. In the world of sports betting, handicaps are an inseparable element of coupons placed on football, basketball or tennis events. How does the handicap work? Who can use it and what types of handi are there? We invite you to read!

This type of combination is used by both new and experienced players, thus trying to increase their chances of winning. Detailed information on this subject can be found in the article below.

What is a handicap? By definition, it refers to the number of goals or points that the betting online or landline bookmaker adds or subtracts from one of the participating teams. The task of the handicap is to level the chances of competing teams, while also ensuring higher online rates. Colloquially, the slogan "handicap" means giving a weaker player or team the so-called "Forums" before the match, thanks to this, bookmakers can benefit from a better rate than in a regular 1X2 bet, even if they bet on the favorite of this match.


We can find several types of handicaps: equal, quarter, single or split handicaps , each of them works differently, as you can read about in the article below. Handicaps play a different role from the betting operator's point of view and different for players - in the latter case, it is worth remembering about higher stakes and returns in the event of a tie in the Asian handicap variant.

Handicap betting is attractive to players because:

  • the rates for matches that are placed in this way are higher. The winning stakes for the team considered to be the favorite is higher after applying the handicap, i.e. adding points to the weaker team.
  • Asian handicap "eliminates" a draw from possible outcomes, which means that in the event of such a result, the player will be returned the bet (return to zero). In this situation, the player considers a given match only in terms of the team's win-lose.

As a curiosity, it can be added that handicaps in bookmakers are especially beneficial for fans of famous sports teams such as Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, ​​Manchester United or Manchester City, because it widens their room for betting maneuver and gives them wider betting options than just classic 2X1 bet with usually quite low odds. If you want to test handicaps on top teams, you can do it with classic bonuses. The best promotions for tipsters can be found in the table below.


There are two main types of handicaps : the European Handicap (EH) and the Asian Handicap (AH or AH0) . In the case of the European handicap, we have three options: home win, draw and away win. In this case, the handicap is as follows: (a: b), where a and b are integers representing how many points at the start for a specific team (home: away). While adding points to the weaker squad (subtracting the stronger one) theoretically equalizes the bet, we still have three possible options: win, draw and lose.

Asian handicap

With this setup , the Asian handicap seems more attractive to players because it eliminates the possibility of a draw . More specifically, if there is a tie, the amount invested in the bet is returned to the player. How handicap betting works - see the following infographic.

Asian handicap

The second difference between the European and Asian handicap is the possibility of betting with a non-total handicap. The simplest of them is the half. For example, a -1.5 handicap for the first team means that this team must win by at least two points (if they win by one or draw, we lose the bet). Similarly, if we bet a 1.5 handicap on the other team, then for the bet to win, the other team must not lose by more than one point.

Quarter handicap

The above two examples are the most common handicaps. Now let's move on to the others. The quarter handicap can be considered the most complicated . This type of bet is a hybrid of European and Asian handicaps. We divide the bet placed into two parts: the first half goes to the bet to which we add 0.25, and the second to the bet from which we subtract 0.25.

Equal handicap

Another example of this type of bet is the Equal Handicap . It is used when the competing teams do not differ significantly in level. Each team then adds a handicap equal to zero. To win, all you need to do is predict which team will win, and in the event of a tie, your bet will be refunded.

The last type of handicap common to bookmakers is  the split bet . It comes in the form of "0.5 and 1", for example. The stake is split equally between the two handicaps.

Single handicap

You can also meet the so-called " single handicaps"  when there is a clear difference between the strength of the teams participating in the match, in this case the team considered to be the favorite receives an equalizing handicap (for example, -1 or +1 goals).


Like any betting system, handicaps also have advantages and disadvantages from the player's point of view. Why is it worth using handicaps and what should you be careful not to lose on such a bet?

The advantages of betting with a handicap:

  • Increased attractiveness - the elimination of the three-stage win-draw-lose split in favor of a win-lose split and, in the event of a draw, the return of the bet.
  • Smaller bookmakers 'margins, i.e. higher bookmakers' odds, more favorable for players and increasing their winnings
  • In the case of matches with a clear favorite, no handicap means a very low odds for the victory of the stronger team. When this type of bet is applied, the odds become more attractive.
  • Handicaps enable a safer game - the use of quarter handicaps gives a good chance of returning at least half of the bet (with a small mistake in the result).

Disadvantages of handicap betting:

  • Less chance of hitting - This is due to the fact that with handicap bets more factors determine the final victory. In some cases, a single penalty shot or a referee's mistake could result in a "one" calling and the handicap bet not.
  • Handicap betting requires more knowledge from players. In order for this type of bets to increase the player's chance of winning, it is necessary to carry out, inter alia, a thorough pre-match analysis including the squad, home and away games, exact results, styles of play of both teams, etc.
  • In some cases , handicap betting odds are unattractive - for example, they may be specially understated for some matches or simply updated with a delay, which may mislead the bettor.
  • Among Polish bookmakers, the offer of handicap bets  is relatively limited and includes only the basic offers. In terms of handicap bets, the offer of forBet and LvBet is the best.


In this section, we'll give you some practical examples of how to use handicaps. Let's follow the types of bets one by one, taking into account real sports matches. Let's take an example to analyze how the handicaps work for the Bayern Munich - Paris Saint-Germain game. Seasoned bettors have a great understanding of the differences between 1X2 betting and handicap betting and are able to choose the option that has a higher chance of success. If you read these examples you will surely be familiar with the concept of handicap.

European Handicap Bets

If we bet on Bayern, which starts the match with 1 goal advantage, we win the bet if it wins or draws. We lose the bet when it loses at least one goal. If we bet on Paris SG, we win if he wins by at least 2 goals.

  European handicap 1-0  

Example 1  : The final result of the match is 2: 1, in the settlement of the handicap we have 3: 1 for Bayern Munich - we won by betting on this team to win.
Example 2:  The final result of the match is 1: 1, in the settlement of the handicap we have 2: 1 for Bayern Munich - we won by betting on the German team to win.
Example 3  : The final result of the match is 1: 2, when the handicap is settled we have a 2: 2 draw, we lost betting on Bayern Munich to win.
Example 4  : Final result, PSG win 1: 3, when the handicap is settled we have the score 2: 3, we won by betting on PSG to win.

Asian Handicap Bets

By betting on Bayern, we win if the goal difference is not greater than 1 in favor of Paris SG. The bet is refunded to us if Bayern loses by exactly two goals. If we bet on Paris SG, we win when this team scores at least 3 goals more than Bayern.

  Asian handicap 1.5  

Example 1  : The final result of the match is 1: 2, in the settlement of the handicap we have 2.5: 2 for Bayern Munich - we won by betting on the German team.
Example 2  : The final result of the match is 1: 4, in the settlement of the handicap we have 2.5: 4 for PSG - we lost betting on Bayern Munich to win.

Quarter Handicap Bets

The bet is divided into two parts: the 1: 0 handicap and the 0.5 handicap. By betting on Bayern, we win the bet when that team wins or draws. In the event of a loss by one goal, half of the stake is returned to us, and in the remaining ones, we lose the bet. When we bet on Paris SG, only winning by two goals is the winning bet.

  Quarter handicap 0.75  

Example 1  : The final score of the match is 2: 1, with the handicap reaching 0.75, we won betting on Bayern to win.
Example 2  : The final result of the match is 1: 2, when the handicap is settled, the bookmaker returns half of the bet.
Example 3  : The final result of the match is 1: 3, when the handicap is settled, we win if we bet on PSG.

Equal Handicap Bets

In this case, the winning bet equals the win of the selected team, thanks to which our chances of winning are 50/50. In the event of a tie, the entire contribution is returned to us if we have placed a Single coupon, in the case of an AKO coupon, the position with this match is settled at the odds of 1.0 (the coupon is still in the game until all events have been settled).  and

  Equal Handicap (No Draw Bet)  

Example 1  : The final score of the match is 2: 1, with the handicap reaching 0.75, we won betting on Bayern to win.

Split Handicap Bets

The stake is split between the 0.5 and 1-0 handicaps, meaning the stake is split into two separate handicaps. In this combination, it is possible to win two bets, one bet or lose two bets. For example, by placing a coupon with 1 event for PLN 100, PLN 50 goes to the handicap 0, the rest is 0.5.

  The handicap is divided between 0 and 0.5  

Handicap at Bayern Munich 0 and 0.5
Example 1  : Match Result 1: 2 - we lose both handicaps.
Example 2  : Result of the match 2: 2 - half of the handicap 0 is returned, while the other half of the handicap 0.5 is lost.
Example 3  : Match Result 3: 2 - we win both handicaps.


In many ways,  handicaps  are more favorable to players than other types of bets. First, they allow for a more varied type of game, as opposed to a win-draw-lose split.

They also enable a safer way to allocate the amount of the contribution. Asian handicaps eliminate a draw - in this case the bet is returned to us. With handicap betting, bookmakers 'margins are lower, and as a result, bookmakers' odds increase. Additionally, thanks to handicaps, a bet on the winning of a significantly stronger opponent makes sense. When using a quarter bet, we reduce the probability of a loss to a low level - dividing the stake into two types gives a good chance of at least a half of the contribution returned.

In which sports is handicap most used?

Handicaps are most often used in sports where the victory, draw or loss is dictated by the difference in points scored by both teams / participants. Handicaps used in winter sports, motor sports and athletics are less common.

Handicaps most often occur in team games such as:

  • football  (any type of handicap - bet on the final or half-time result),
  • volleyball  (set handicap or "small" points),
  • basketball  (points handicap per quarter, half or full match),
  • ice hockey  (handicap for individual periods or the entire match),
  • baseball  (handicap for the final result of the game),
  • tennis  (handicap for games, sets or the entire match),
  • speedway  (handicap on points in the final result of the meeting),

How do I know my handicap type?

In the case of the European handicap, there is EH (a: b), where a, b are integers denoting how many points / goals are added to a specific team at the start, e.g. (1.0) means adding 1 goal to the first team. The notation for the Asian handicap is characterized by half values, eg AH (-0.5), while for the quarter one we have the form AH (-0.75).