Definitive Guide: What Handicap Means in Basketball Betting


If you are a fan of basketball and you have been interested in betting on it lately, you will have noticed that the most common bets in this sport are handicap bets. This term is an anglicism that means disadvantage, but in the world of betting it can be used as a disadvantage or advantage depending on how it is done. Although it is not the only type of bet that can be made in basketball, it is a good resource that can be used in some of the elite games that we have to choose from.

What is the handicap in basketball betting?

handicap in basketball betting

As already mentioned, handicap bets aim to provide an advantage or disadvantage in points to one of the teams that are in dispute and this applies both in this sport and in others as well as in the tennis bets you make. We can, for example, take 10 points from the team that has every chance of winning in the final score and, in this way, equalize the differences between the teams in order to make the odds on said bet more favorable.

For example, we can think of a completely unbalanced game like the Los Angeles Lakers against the San Antonio Spurs. It is expected that the Lakers get a simple victory in this match, so the odds will be very unbalanced against the Spurs. Thus, we would expect the odds for that game to be something very close to 1 (for example: 1.20) in favor of the Lakers and a fairly high odds in case the Spurs win (for example: 4.10). .

  Then, since we assume that the Lakers are going to win the game, then we can start to think by how many points difference they will. For this we use the Handicap bet, if we have enough reasons to think that the Lakers are going to win by more than 10 points, we can make a bet of -9.5 in favor of the Lakers. In this case, what you are doing is modifying the final result, that is, if the Lakers win with a difference of 10 points or more, it makes you creditor of the bet.

  Instead, you can place a Handicap bet on the Spurs. In this case, what you will be able to do is a bet of +10.5, which means that the San Antonio team can lose by a point difference of maximum 10, in case they lose by 11 or more, you will have lost The bet.

  In either case, what you are doing is adjusting the odds through the handicap bet. This will translate into a change in the fee. In the case of the Lakers bet: the odds will be improved, but your chances of winning will be decreased. Since you gave the San Antonio Spurs a 10-point lead.

While, in the Spurs bet, what you are doing is lowering the odds, but improving your chances of winning. Since the Spurs are enabled to lose, but with a margin of 10 points. It is as if they have that advantage so that you can collect the bet.

Summarizing, we can classify the given example in two different situations. Being A much better than B, then:

  • If you use a Handicap of -6.5 in favor of A. Team A must win by 7 points or more in order to win the bet. You would be decreasing your chances of winning, but increasing the odds.
  • If you use a Handicap of +6.5 in favor of B. Team B can lose by up to 6 points in order to collect the bet. If he loses by 7 or more, you would lose the same. In this case, you are increasing your chances of winning the bet, but decreasing the odds.

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