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Depending on where you are from, handicap betting is treated essentially the same as wagering against the spread. The term “handicap betting” is more popular in Europe and often replaces the term “spread.” Therefore, handicap bets work the same way as a spread in the sense that the underdog gets a “head start” before the game begins. For a comprehensive review of how to make bets against the spread, you can refer to this article.
In soccer matches, a standard handicap is one goal that is given to the underdog. This number may vary depending on how big the favorite is. However, what if you were so confident in one side that you were tempted to bet on a bigger handicap?
Much like alternate spreads, many sportsbooks offer alternate handicaps with bigger payouts that bettors can take advantage of.
In this article, we take a look at some alternate handicap examples and discuss how to bet on such lines at a sportsbook.
What is a Standard Handicap Bet?
While spreads are very common in sports like basketball and American football, they are not as applicable in soccer. That’s mostly because a soccer match can end in a draw and does not always produce a clear winner. Thus, when betting on a moneyline in a soccer match, one will always be able to bet on a draw as a third option.
With regards to handicap bets, sportsbooks will get creative with their offerings.
Below is a graphic from FanDuel’s Betting Rules Questions section:
In this example, notice how the spread section in the Liverpool vs. Atletico Madrid match includes a “Handicap Draw” option. Here is how each scenario would win:
Liverpool (-1): This bet would cash if Liverpool wins the match by more than one goal.
Handicap Draw (-1): This bet would cash if Liverpool wins by exactly one goal. Handicap draws are always tied to the favorite. Since Liverpool is the favorite in the match, they would need to win by one goal for the handicap draw to cash.
Atletico Madrid (+1): This bet would cash if Atletico Madrid won the match outright or tied. This bet would lose if Atletico Madrid lost by one goal or more.
Bettors should take note that a handicap draw bet is different than wagering on the draw option in the moneyline section. It’s always important to read a sportsbook’s betting rules to know exactly what you are wagering on.
What is an Example of an Alternate Handicap Bet?
While a handicap draw is one option for a handicap wager, different sportsbooks offer a variety of others.
Here is an example of alternate handicap lines taken from gamblingsites.org.
In a match where Liverpool would be heavily favored to beat Southampton, oddsmakers get creative in setting multiple variations of lines instead of one spread. Thus, bettors are given an opportunity to find value in these alternate handicap results while potentially earning payouts at greater odds.
Here is one scenario from each column:
Liverpool -2.0 (13/5): A bettor making this wager would need Liverpool to win by more than two goals. Simply winning by two goals would not be a push because of the “tie” column’s offerings. If Liverpool wins by more than two goals at odds of 13/5, a bettor would be paid out 2.6 times their original bet. Thus, a $100 wager would profit $260.
Tie +3.0 (5/1): A bettor making this wager would need Liverpool to win by exactly three goals. If they did, they would profit five times their original wager. Thus, a $100 bet would profit $500. This goes to show you how big of a favorite Liverpool is to begin the match.
Southampton -2.0 (22/1): This bet has the highest payout on the board. That is because a bettor would need the underdog Southampton side to beat Liverpool by three or more goals.
How Do I Make an Alternate Handicap Wager?
On a mobile device or app, follow these steps:
- Log into your sportsbook account.
- Find the league and game you wish to bet on.
- Look for a heading that says “Game Props” or “More Wagers.”
- Find the heading that says “Spread Props” or some variation of that.
- Look for an option that says, “Alternate Spreads.”
- Type in the amount of your wager.
- Review the odds and click “place bet.”
When making an alternate handicap bet in person at a sportsbook, make sure you are very specific in your wording. Tell the cashier you wish to make an “Alternate Handicap” bet. When you tell the cashier which game you wish to wager on, he or she will show you all available alternate handicap lines. Decide on which alternate handicap you wish to wager on. If the odds are agreeable and the cashier inputted your bet correctly, tell the cashier your wager amount. Lastly, hand your money to the cashier and take your betting ticket with you.