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While more traditional forms of betting are preferred by the majority of punters, others will use handicap betting markets. If you have not tried handicap betting before, you are likely to have heard of it, with this page outlining exactly what it is. Whether it be Asian handicap or others, we will also deliver the best handicap betting sites, which are all nothing but safe and reliable. 

Many often become unnecessarily confused by the notion of handicap betting. It is generally used by those looking to bet on the favourite but still wanting good value, however on this page, we will provide a definitive answer to the question: What is handicap betting? However, let’s start by listing our top 10 recommended handicap betting sites.

Best Handicap Betting Sites For The UK Punters

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#1 UK Handicap Bookmaker

Bet £10 Get £30 In Free Bets

  • Appealing welcome bonus
  • Handicap betting odds are hugely competitive
  • No minimum deposit requirements
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Join and place a £10 fixed odds bet at odds of 1/2 or greater and get 2 x free £10 fixed odds bets plus 2 x free £5 Total Goals football spread bets. Full T&C’s apply. 18+ begambleaware

Bet £5 Get £20 in Free Bets

  • Handicap markets on a host of sports
  • Generous free bet welcome offer
  • Excellent bookie for in-play betting
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Place a bet of £5 within 14 days of signing up at Coral and claim £20 worth of free bets (4x £5 tokens). Minimum odds of 1/2, free bets are valid for 7 days, with stakes not being returned. PayPal and some other payment methods are excluded.

Treble The Odds On Your 1st Bet

  • Large number of Asian handicap betting markets
  • Vast experience in the industry
  • Generous welcome offer & ongoing promotions
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New customers. Max £10. 200% Odds Boost Token. Keep it fun - set your deposit limit.T&Cs apply. 18+

Bet £5 Get £30

  • Leading handicap betting odds
  • One of the best welcome offers
  • Excellent sports market coverage
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18+ new customers only. Opt in, bet £5 at odds 2.00+ within 7 days of registering, no cashout. Get 2x £10 Free Bets, set events at odds 2.00+. Plus £10 Slot Bonus, selected games, wager 20x to withdraw max £250. 7 day bonus expiry. Card payments only. T&Cs apply. | Please gamble responsibly

Bet £20 and Get it Back if it Loses

  • Huge number of specials
  • Football, tennis and Esports handicaps available
  • Live sports streaming on desktop and mobile
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New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any Football market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using cards will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.

Bet £10 Get £10 Free Bets

  • Instant & free of charge payments
  • In-play handicap markets available
  • Attractive welcome bonus
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Available to new customers, deposit and bet £10 or more in order to claim your £10 free bet. Free bets are valid for 14 days after being credited, with payments made using PayPal, Neteller, Paysafe and Skrill are ineligible. Free bets to be used on coupons with odds of 4/5 or greater.

Bet £5 Get £20 in Free Bets

  • Daily boosts available
  • Mobile app for iOS and Android users
  • Plenty of Asian handicap markets
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Receive £20 worth of free bets (4x £5 tokens) when you sign up and stake £5+ on sports markets at Ladbrokes. Free bets are valid for 7 days, with stakes not being returned, while deposits made using prepaid cards, Moneybookers, Paypal, Paysafe, Neteller or Skrill will not qualify.

Bet £10, Get £10 + Up To 100 Free Spins

  • Weekly free bets up for grabs
  • Handicaps on most sports markets
  • NetBoosts available daily
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New players from 11.08.2021. £10 bet to qualify. £10 in Free Bets and up to 100 FreeSpins. Free Bets valid for 3 days. Terms apply.

50% Match Bonus Up To £40

  • Excellent choice for football bets
  • STS weekly Free Bet Club
  • Handicap market odds among the best online
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Available to new customers in the UK & Ireland, punters depositing at least £10 will see it 100% matched, up to £30. 1x wagering at odds of 3/4 or greater required to unlock free bet funds, with only deposits made using debit cards and PayPal being eligible. Offer is valid up until 7 days after a new account is created.

Money Back As a Bonus Up To £40, if your 1st bet loses + £10 Casino Bonus

  • Live streaming available
  • Excellent mobile betting app
  • Handicap betting on football, tennis and other sports
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18+ New customers only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first bet loses. Wagering requirements: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 50x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. No deposit required for NI customers. Call 08081699314 to claim. Full T&Cs apply.

How We Rank the Best Handicap Betting Sites

We do not take selecting our favourite handicap betting sites lightly, with a number of factors being taken into consideration. So, let’s take a closer look at what separates the best handicap betting sites from the rest:

  • Safety – As with any form of betting site recommended at, security and reliability is the most important thing. As such, punters can rest assured that the bookies listed above are all licensed and regulated by the Gambling Commission, while also having a number of safety measures in place. 
  • Markets – Handicap markets, including Asian handicap, should be available surrounding a host of sports, including football, tennis, basketball and American Football, among others. The best handicap betting sites will also offer a variety of handicap types, catering for the needs of all customers. 
  • Odds – Punters often turn to handicap markets in an attempt to drive the odds up. As a result, handicap betting sites must ensure that they offer some attractive prices in this area, otherwise customers will stick to simpler markets. 
  • Live – Handicap markets should still be available after kick-off, the opening serve or the tip off. Live betting is now hugely popular, with the leading handicap betting sites recognising this. 
  • Mobile – Betting customers should also be able to locate the handicap markets using their mobile device too. Whether it be through dedicated betting apps or their mobile site, this is a must for any respected bookie today. 
  • Bonuses – While this does not concern handicap betting specifically, it is always nice to be in a position to claim bonuses and free bets. All of our recommended handicap betting sites offer a welcome offer, while ongoing promotions are also available. 
  • Usability – There is no point in offering handicap markets if they are near impossible to access. The top handicap betting sites ensure that their interface is easy to use, while also being quick.

What is Handicap Betting?

What is handicap betting

Handicap betting is a form of wagering that involves one team or player being given a deficit, a handicap in which they must overcome during the match. Handicaps are used by bookies in order to effectively level the playing field when two mismatched opponents go head to head. In the event of two unevenly matched teams going up against each other, punters may find that the odds on offer are not too appealing, which is where handicap betting markets can be so useful. 

For example, in the event of Premier League champions Liverpool having been drawn at home against Hull City in the FA Cup, a handicap of a certain amount of goals will be given, based on the fact that the Reds would be the overwhelming favourites for victory. Handicap betting markets are now available surrounding almost every sporting encounter however, not just in cases where there is a clear favourite and underdog. 

How to Succeed at Handicap Betting

Handicap betting is used in order to gain increased value when betting on favourites generally speaking. In theory, the greater the handicap given, the greater the potential earnings will be. However, while this strategy is used by many punters today, there are a number of factors to consider before getting involved for yourself. Punters must anticipate how sporting encounters may play out in order to be successful. For example, a football team may take the foot of the pedal after going two goals clear, making a low Asian handicap bet an appealing option. 

Meanwhile, it is also advised to expect the underdog to perform better than expected. Staking on them with a plus handicap allows for a profit even if they go on to lose or draw the encounter. Meanwhile, it is also now possible to use handicap betting when it comes to ante-post outright markets, such as betting on the Premier League or Six Nations. An example of this is betting on Liverpool to finish top of the standings with a -10 handicap.

Betting Tips

Below are some of our top tips when it comes to handicap betting, designed to give punters the best possible chance of beating the bookies:

How To Succeed at handicap betting

  1. Do Your Homework – Be sure to check out recent results between the two teams or players in question. Head to head records are a good indicator as to what may happen this time around too. In the event of one team dominating, handicap betting could well be a good option.
  2. Form – Has the football team in which you are looking to place a handicap bet on been in good form of late? This is another question which should be asked before staking on a handicap market.
  3. Player Availability – With handicap betting markets generally surrounding team sports, be sure to check out any potential injuries or suspensions that may effect the starting line-up. Betting on a team who are missing their star striker with a large handicap is obviously not advised. 
  4. Asian Handicap – Check out the variety of Asian handicap betting markets offered by your selected bookie. Take advantage of them where appropriate in order to mitigate potential losses and claim half-wins. 
  5. Bet Type – If you are convinced that the underdog will actually do better than expected, take advantage of plus handicap markets, rather than draw no bet or double chance options. 
  6. Odds Comparison – Prices online can vary greatly, especially when it comes to handicap betting. So, take advantage of odds comparison platforms to ensure that you are utilising the best odds around. Also remember that you can sign up on more than one betting site. 

Our Recommended Bookmaker for Handicap Bets

Bet £5 Get £20 in Free Bets

  • Handicap markets on a host of sports
  • Generous free bet welcome offer
  • Excellent bookie for in-play betting
Bet Now
Place a bet of £5 within 14 days of signing up at Coral and claim £20 worth of free bets (4x £5 tokens). Minimum odds of 1/2, free bets are valid for 7 days, with stakes not being returned. PayPal and some other payment methods are excluded.

Types of Handicap Betting

Today, there are a variety of different options available to punters when it comes to handicap betting, with the following being among the most popular markets:

Asian Handicap

What is Asian handicap? As the most popular form of handicap betting, Asian can appear a little complicated at first. While general handicap betting generally concerns whole numbers, +1 or -2 for example, Asian handicap can involve other decimals, such as -0.5 or +1.5. In sports where a draw is possible, including football, hockey and rugby, Asian handicap markets can be especially useful. 

Split/European Handicap

Split handicap betting effectively means sharing your stake between two outcomes. For example, should Chelsea be +2.5, +3.0 for their upcoming Premier League match against Arsenal, half the stake will go towards +2.5 and the other half to +3.0. So, if Chelsea lose by three goals, the bet will be considered as a push, while the +2.5 bet will lose. 

Handicap League

Here, punters are betting on a team’s performance throughout the entire season. Bets must be made before the opening fixture takes place, with successful bets not being paid out until the season is over. Betting customers are staking on which team will earn the highest number of points, with options such as Manchester United +16 and Aston Villa +50 being available. 

Below are some of the top betting sites for Asian handicap betting, including what they offer in terms of a welcome offer:

Bookmaker Welcome Bonus Visit Site
Coral  Bet £5 Get £20 in Free Bets Claim here
Bet365 Up to £100 in Bonuses Claim Here
William Hill Bet £10 Get £30 Claim Here
BetVictor Bet £5 Get £30 Claim Here
Paddy Power £10 Risk Free Bet Claim Here

Popular Sports for Handicap Betting

While football is the first sport in which most punters think of when it comes to handicap betting, there are a number of other disciplines which now cater for this form of wagering. Below are some of the most popular handicap betting sports markets:

  • Tennis – A host of tennis handicap bets are now available. On top of betting on the outright match winner, both game and set handicaps are available. For example, betting on Novak Djokovic to win his upcoming match at Wimbledon by +1.5 sets. 
  • Golf – Both match and round handicap markets are on offer surrounding golf. Golfers are individually given a handicap based on their likelihood of winning the event, with punters then betting where they see fit. 
  • Basketball – Similarly to football, punters can bet on basketball games with a handicap too. Revolving around the margin of victory, punters could potentially bet on the Boston Celtics to beat the Toronto Raptors at +6.5 points. 
  • Rugby – Whether it be Union or League, handicap markets are also available when it comes to rugby. Here, teams are again given a handicap based on their likelihood of victory in an upcoming match. For example, Leinster could be available to back at -8 to beat rivals Munster.

Bottom Line

Handicap betting is now a hugely popular form of wagering on sporting events. This page has delivered some of the best betting sites for punters looking to stake on such markets, while also explaining the ins and outs of handicap betting in general. So, if you are searching for greater value when there is a clear favourite and underdog, be sure to consider handicap markets, as well as the bookies listed on this page. 


What is handicap betting?

Handicap betting is a method used by betting sites in order to even the playing field between opponents ahead of an upcoming event. Bookies give one team or player a handicap, which they must then overcome in order for the bet to be successful.

What is Asian handicap betting?

Asian handicap markets effectively make draws null and void, with only a win and loss being possible as a result. Asian handicap markets offer options such as +0.5, -2.5 and +3.0.

Which is the best betting site for handicap betting?

All of the betting sites listed on this page perform well when it comes to handicap betting. Therefore all are likely to appeal to punters, with the best for you being one which best suits your strategy and demands. As with all betting sites at, all of our recommended bookies are 100% safe, legal and trustworthy.

Is handicap betting available on all sports?

Handicap betting markets are appearing surrounding an increasing number of sports. Football, American football, rugby, basketball and even Esports are now available, however this will differ from bookie to bookie.

Can I use bonus funds on handicap betting markets?

This will depend on the terms and conditions set by the bookie itself. However, in most cases, punters receiving a bonus or free bet will be able to use such funds on handicap markets. Be sure to look into this further before staking, as you may lose funds if you are not careful.

Can I back a draw with European handicap markets?

Yes. Unlike Asian handicap markets, punters here can bet on three possible outcomes, win, lose or draw.


About James Fuller

James is a freelance writer who specialises in the world of sports and iGaming, producing engaging and accurate content for online publications, including news articles, reviews, press releases and social media marketing.