Another increasingly popular form of betting is handicap betting. You may have heard of it under one of its many guises: Asian handicap, Line Betting, Spread Betting or Points Betting.
Whatever you like to call it, the basic concept is simple: Bookmakers make a sporting event an even money contest (50-50 proposition) by adding and subtracting a number of points to and from the competition teams or players.
American football is perhaps the most famous sport in the world for handicap betting. Throughout both the NFL and College football seasons, millions of bettors across the nation and increasingly the world, bet on American football handicaps.
So let’s say this week the San Francisco 49ers are playing the New York Giants. The bookmakers have made the 49ers a 3.5 point favourite.
What does this mean?
Well it means that if you bet on the 49ers, they have to win by 4 points or more for you to win your bet. If you bet on the Giants, they can either win or lose by 3 points or less.
It is often depicted in this manner:
San Francisco 49ers -3.5 vs New York Giants +3.5.
It might look confusing, but it’s actually quite simple. If you bet on the 49ers, you subtract 3.5 points from their final score (-3.5) and if their score is still greater than the Giants final score, you win the bet.
On the other hand, if you bet on the Giants, you add 3.5 points (+3.5) to their final score. If after adding those points the Giants score is greater than the 49ers, you win the bet.
Bookmakers now offer handicap or line betting on a tremendous range of sports not limited to American football but also basketball, baseball, ice hockey, rugby, tennis and of course, football.