Handicap Betting Explained for New Bettors

Handicap betting is a widespread practice in sports that are based on points, like ice hockey, basketball, and tennis, and it is also regularly made use of for wagering on racing events like horse racing.

Handicap betting impacts the manner in which odds are offered, and it is vital that Canadian bettors have a solid understanding of this type of betting in order to properly interpret these odds and then place handicap bets that are effective.

What Exactly is Handicap Betting?

Handicap betting is also sometimes referred to as line betting, spread or points betting, and Asian handicap. It refers to the process whereby a sportsbook will turn a sporting event in which the odds are varied into a contest of even money by providing a virtual advantage or disadvantage to particular participants in order to render the field more even.

Examples of Handicap Betting on Ice Hockey Teams

In sports that are based on points, even money contests are normally created by the side seen to be the underdog receiving additional points. For example, if the Montreal Canadiens were favourites to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs, the sportsbook may give the Canadiens a handicap advantage of 2 – 0.

Were a Canadian bettor to then place a bet on the Canadiens to win, and they managed to do so with a score of 1 – 0, the bet would lose, thanks to the fact that a handicap had been applied. In the eyes of the sportsbook offering the bet, the Canadiens would have lost the bet by 1 point.

Punters must bear in mind that handicap betting only applies to the selection of the sport that they are betting on.

In a similar manner, if a punter placed a handicap bet on a match between the Vancouver Canucks and the Calgary Flames, and the sportsbook had set the handicap at 3 – 0, a punters bet on the Canucks would still manage to pay out even if the Flames won the match with a score of 2 – 0, thanks to the fact that, in the eye of the sportsbook, the Canucks would have won with a score of 3 – 2.

Hockey player shoots the puck and attacks

How are Handicap Bets Presented?

In the example used above of the match between the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs, the bet may be presented as follows:

Montreal Canadiens (-2) evens

Handicap Tie (-1) 3/1

Toronto Maple Leafs (+2) 2/1

The match ended in a victory of 1 – 0 for the Montreal Canadiens, but, should the punter have elected to lay a wager on this team, this bet would not have been successful in the market. The Montreal Canadiens would have been required to score at least as many goals as the handicap indicated in order for that wager to pay out at cricket betting sites.

Should a bet have been placed on the handicap tie, the bet would have been successful, as the Canadiens triumphed by the exact margin which the handicap specified. When laying a bet on a handicap tie, it is the margin of the win which is the focus, rather than the amount of goals scored.