Soccer handicap betting explained

November 2, 2022

Soccer handicap betting is when the bookmaker artificially favors the underdog to make the odds on both sides more equal.

When an underdog is playing against a heavy favorite, handicap betting, which is all about the margin of victory, can add extra spice to the game.

Key lessons from the soccer handicap

  • A style of gambling where the underdog effectively has the advantage.
  • It more evenly distributes the odds on either side.
  • The focus of handicap betting is the margin of victory, and it’s a terrific method to increase the intensity of a game.

What is handicap betting in soccer?

Handicap betting is an excellent option if you think you can predict the margin of victory for a team in a soccer match.

When placing a handicap wager, the bookmaker gives one of the teams a theoretical advantage over the other to bring their odds closer together; This means that if you believe a favorite will win by a margin higher than the advantage assigned to their rival by the sportsbook. You may back them at odds that are considerably better than the moneyline.

The term “point spread,” used most frequently in US sports, is related to “handicap soccer betting.” The basic idea is the same: one team receives an advantage, and the other must defeat it by a certain margin or more to “cover the spread.”

Asian handicap betting is becoming increasingly popular since, by employing fractions, often 0.5 of a goal, there is never a chance of a tie, and a certain outcome is always guaranteed.

You can also place handicap bets in a parlay, a wager made up of many picks, to increase the likelihood of a greater payoff, 

How to make a bet on a soccer handicap

Examining handicap betting on a Premier League game will help. Liverpool may have very slim winning chances when they meet West Ham. There isn’t much money to be made on moneyline wagers.

However, the odds on each club will be much closer together if the sportsbook gives West Ham an early lead.

In soccer, handicap odds are typically expressed as follows:

Team Handicap Odds
Liverpool -2 -105
Handicap tie -2 -115
West Ham +2 -120

West Ham effectively has a two-goal lead to open the game.

This means that for every $105 you bet on Liverpool, you will win $100 if they win by three goals. Your wager will be returned if the Reds tie.

You win $100 for every $120 you bet on West Ham if they win, tie, or lose by only one goal. Your wager will be reimbursed if they fail by a score of two goals or more.

The game would have needed to end with a Liverpool victory by a clear 2-goal margin, e.g., 2-0, 4-2, 5-3, etc., for the handicap tie (-2) to prevail.

When there is no longer a chance of a tie, you will hear it stated as follows:

Team Handicap Odds
Liverpool -2.5 -105
West Ham +2.5 -120


This means that for every $105 you bet on Liverpool, you will win $100 if they win by three goals. You win $100 for every $120 you bet on West Ham if they win, tie, or lose by no more than two goals.

You don’t have to bet $100 when you place your wager. You can wager as much as you’d like. You can use our odds calculator to determine your potential winnings based on your bet.

The advantage of handicap betting over straight moneyline wagering is that it can offer value to games with uneven matchups.

What exactly do plus and minus odds indicate when betting on soccer handicaps?

A number with a plus (+) or a negative (-) symbol before it is displayed as the odds in sportsbooks. A team is considered the favorite when the odds are minus, while the underdog’s moneyline odds will have a plus. If you bet on a team with a plus sign (+) in front of their moneyline odds and they win, you will win more than you bet, and if they lose, less.

If we win a $100 handicap bet with odds of +105, we will receive $105 in profit in addition to our initial $100 stake ($105 total).

Favorite betting, on the other hand, results in higher stakes and lower odds of success. For instance, a bet with odds of -210 indicates we must stake $210 to receive an additional $100 in winnings.

While having a basic understanding of soccer odds and how they operate is helpful, you can verify your potential gains on a handicap bet with the online betting bet calculator. Additionally, you can change American odds to decimal or fractional odds (popular in the UK and Europe).

Soccer moneyline betting versus handicap betting

We’ll note that with a soccer handicap wager, you frequently see the opposite of moneyline betting, where the favorite has negative odds and the underdog has plus odds. The moneyline favorite will often have plus odds and a -1.5-goal handicap, while the moneyline underdog will frequently have minus odds and a +1.5-goal advantage.

In soccer, handicap betting is an excellent alternative to moneyline betting, especially when the favorites are involved. A favorite on the moneyline at -200 will frequently be available at plus odds on -1.5 goals.

When betting on games with a firm favorite, this provides gamblers with excellent value.

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