When it comes to placing wagers, it isn’t uncommon for people to look for angles and scenarios that will allow them to gain a little bit more value than if they were to just place a straight Win bet. One way that people try to find themselves a touch of value is by opting for a handicap bet, which sees one team either given a handicap or the other getting an advantage. This can shift the odds slightly in a way that will make the bet more appealing to place, although it will also give the favourite a disadvantage that they’ll need to overcome to win.
-1: Giving a Team a Handicap
If you were hoping to place a wager on an FA Cup match between, say, Manchester City and Bristol Rovers, you would be hard-pushed to find a bookmaker willing to offer you any sort of decent odds on City. Such is the extent to which the Premier League team would be favourites, most bookmakers wouldn’t even think about giving them Evens to Win, let along more generous odds than that. As a result, one thing you can consider doing is giving City a handicap, which they will need to overcome in order for your bet to become a winning one and be paid out on.
In this instance, we’re looking at a bet of -1, which means that Man City effectively start the game a goal down. In order for your bet to be a winner, they will need to win the game by two goals or more. A 1-0 win to City might mean that they’ve won the game in real life, but your bet will be a loser on account of the fact that the ‘handicap’ score is 0-0, given that City’s goal is taken off them by the handicap. If they were to win the real game 3-0, however, then your bet would be a winner because the ‘handicap’ score would be 2-0, handing you the victory.
You might be watching a match and wondering what is likely to happen in the event that opted for the -1 option. Here is a selection of scorelines, giving you a sense of what the outcome would be on your bet if that is how things end up when the full-time whistle is blown and the bet is decided.
As an aside, because writing the score as ‘1-0’ and so on would look confusing when you add in the handicap, making it 1–0, it makes more sense to us to display the scores here as 1:1. This will allow you to see when a goal would’ve been taken away from a team by the handicap relatively easily. It isn’t how British football fans are used to seeing the scores displayed, but it is the better way of doing it here.
|Score||Match Result||-1 Adjusted Home Result||-1 Adjusted Away Result|
|0:0||Draw||Away Win (-1:0)||Home Win (0:-1)|
|1:0||Home Win||Draw (0:0)||Home Win (1:-1)|
|0:1||Away Win||Away Win (-1:1)||Draw (0:0)|
|1:1||Draw||Away Win (0:1)||Home Win (1:0)|
|2:1||Home Win||Draw (1:1)||Home Win (2:0)|
|1:2||Away Win||Away Win (0:2)||Draw (1:1)|
|2:2||Draw||Away Win (1:2)||Home Win (2:1)|
|3:0||Home Win||Home Win (2:0)||Home Win (3:-1)|
|3:1||Home Win||Home Win (2:1)||Home win (3:0)|
|3:2||Home Win||Draw (2:2)||Home Win (3:1)|
|3:3||Draw||Away Win (2:3)||Home win (3:2)|
|0:3||Away Win||Away Win (-1:3)||Away Win (0:2)|
|1:3||Away Win||Away Win (0:3)||Away Win (1:2)|
|2:3||Away Win||Away Win (1:3)||Draw (2:2)|
In essence, the handicap makes no difference if the team suffering the handicap is two or more goals ahead, but makes a huge difference if the game is close. If it is a draw then it makes it a loss for the team suffering the handicap, whilst if the team given the handicap has only won by one goal then the handicap adjusted score becomes a draw. This is why the -1 tends to only be offered on the team that is considered to be the favourite.
+1: Helping a Team Out
If you’d rather, you can opt for a bet that will help the other team playing out, rather than handicap a side. In other words, you can choose the +1 market, which sees the team selected given a goal before a ball is kicked. Whilst you can theoretically do that for City in our example, it is worth bearing in mind that that would further reduce the odds that you’ll get for them, which doesn’t seem like the most sensible decision. Usually, the bet would be displayed as something like this:
- Manchester City (-1)
- Handicap Draw (-1)
- Bristol Rovers (+1)
You can see that you’re betting on City with a goal taken off them or Bristol Rovers with a goal added on. You can also bet on the draw with City starting the game a goal down, so your wager would be a winner if the match finished 2-1 to City, say. Such handicap betting always has one team as the favourite and the other as the much less-fancied side.
Just as with betting on the -1, it is handy to have a look at some examples when you’re thinking about the +1 and want to get a sense of how your bet is likely to end up. Here is a look at those same scorelines, this time with the adjustments to show how the bookmakers will treat the final score when the advantage is taken into account. Once again, we’ll display the score using the 1:0 style rather than 1-0 to remain consistent:
|Score||Match Result||+1 Adjusted Home Result||+1 Adjusted Away Result|
|0:0||Draw||Home Win (1:0)||Away Win (0:1)|
|1:0||Home Win||Home Win (2:0)||Draw (1:1)|
|0:1||Away Win||Draw (1:1)||Away Win (0:2)|
|1:1||Draw||Home Win (2:1)||Away Win (2:1)|
|2:1||Home Win||Home Win (3:1)||Draw (2:2)|
|1:2||Away Win||Draw (2:2)||Away Win (1:3)|
|2:2||Draw||Home Win (3:2)||Away Win (2:3)|
|3:0||Home Win||Home Win (4:0)||Home Win (3:1)|
|3:1||Home Win||Home Win (4:1)||Home Win (3:2)|
|3:2||Home Win||Home Win (4:2)||Draw (3:3)|
|3:3||Draw||Home Win (4:3)||Away Win (3:4)|
|0:3||Away Win||Away Win (1:3)||Away Win (0:4)|
|1:3||Away Win||Away Win (2:3)||Away Win (1:4)|
|2:3||Away Win||Draw (3:3)||Away Win (2:4)|
As you can see, if there is only one goal in it and the team you haven’t bet on with the advantage is leading, the advantage makes it a draw. If the real result is a draw, the adjusted resulted is in favour of the team you’ve bet on to have the advantage. If one team is leading by more than one goal then the advantage doesn’t make any difference to the end result of the match.