Handicap league betting
Handicap league betting is a form of handicap betting whereby a bettor places a bet on which team will accumulate the most points across a league season at the start of the campaign after every side has been given a respective handicap.
The aim of a handicap league betting is to even up a market by giving an outcome deemed inferior a greater chance of winning. Bookies give the less likely outcomes a virtual head start to make this outcome's chance of success more likely and consequently make a lopsided event a more open and attractive prospect to bet on.
How does handicap league betting work?
Handicap league betting spans the entire season of a competition and it is therefore only available to place a bet on at the start of the season. Every team in the division is given a handicap prior to the campaign kicking off.
The team considered the favourite for the league title starts with a handicap of 0 - otherwise known as 'scratch' (scr)- and every other team is given a virtual head start with a handicap points score.
At the end of the season, every team's individual points score is added to their handicap, and the team with the most points collectively is the winner of the market.
Every team is given identical odds, as the intention of the handicap system is to completely even up the market so that every team is on a level pegging.
Handicap league betting example
Ahead of the 2020/21 Premier League season, Manchester City were considered the league title favourites and consequently started the season with a handicap of 0.
Reigning champions Liverpool were expected to run Manchester City close, and were given a handicap of +5.
Chelsea and Manchester United were expected to challenge for the remaining Champions League places but were considered title outsiders. Chelsea were given a handicap of +16 and Manchester United had a handicap of +18 applied to them.
Newly promoted Fulham and West Brom were both expected to struggle and spend the season in a relegation battle, and were therefore given substantial handicaps of +53 and +52 respectively.
These handicaps would then be added to every side's points total, and the team with the biggest combined score would win the market.