14.11.2023, 18:25
27.05.2024, 06:19

What is the Handicap in Basketball?

NBA fans study what a handicap means in basketball, what outcomes exist, how to calculate betting, and what strategies to use to place winning bets on their favourite game at sportsbooks.

The handicap in basketball is an advantage or lag of the club. It allows to equalize the opponents' chances before the start of the match.

The handicap allows placing bets on the favourite with larger odds or on the outsider with less risk.

Types of Handicaps in Basketball

Betting on basketball handicaps can be done based on the outcome of an entire match, quarters and halves, and statistical indicators of players - 3-pointers, rebounds, shots, interceptions, assists, and other practical actions. Bookmakers accept bets on match outcomes, with the handicap counting only the primary time and overtime.

You should clarify the order in which basketball bets are accepted in the sportsbook.


Betting companies offer a negative handicap for favourites. A bet on a negative handicap will win if the strong team defeats the opponent with a more significant difference in the score than indicated in the handicap.

For example, a handicap in basketball 5.5 on a favourite with OT considered will win if the club wins with a difference of at least 6 points, with a score of 202:194.


Bookmakers give a positive handicap to outsiders. A plus handicap will bring profit if the lagging team does not lose with a more significant score difference than indicated in the handicap.

For example, a handicap 5.5 in basketball on a weak club with OT considered will win if the outsider wins or loses with a maximum gap of 5 points, for example, with a score of 210:213.


Zero handicap - a bet on victory in a match, half, quarter or a player's win according to one of the statistical indicators with the possibility of a refund in case of a draw. For example, to win H1(0) by 3-point shots, a basketball player makes more 3-point shots than his opponent; in case of an equal number of practical actions, the sportsbook will return the coupon amount to the client's account. 

Betting examples: win, loss, refund

Examples of calculating a market at a sportsbook will help understand what handicap means in basketball. The player bets 500 naira on H1(-3.5) in the "Avtodor" – "Enisey" match with the odds of 1.67. Possible outcomes:
– Avtodor wins by a difference of 4 points or more – payout: 500 * 1.67 = 835 naira. - Avtodor's loss or victory with a lead of 3 points or less
– loss.  The sportsbook client bets 500 naira on H2(+3.5) in the "Avtodor"

"Enisey" match with a coefficient of 2.07. Possible scenarios:
- Enisey's win or loss by a maximum of 3 points
– win: 500 * 2.07 = 1035 naira
- Enisey's loss with a gap of 4 points or more – lost bet.

What are Asian handicaps in basketball?

The Asian handicap in basketball is a bet on a team or player's double handicap, where market values are multiples of 0.25 or 0.75. When placing a bet on the Asian handicap, the sportsbook evenly distributes the bet amount between the nearest whole and fractional handicaps; each deal is calculated separately. For example, H1(-4.75) is a bet on a victory with H1(-4.5) and H1(-5).

Possible coupon calculation scenarios: - Winning the team by a margin of 6 points or more - winning the coupon; - The club's victory with a difference of exactly 5 points - winning H1(-4.5), returning H1(-5); - Loss or victory of basketball players with a gap of 4 points or less - loss. The Asian handicap in basketball is a rare market; the market is not available in most sportsbooks.

Betting strategy for handicap in basketball

Players in the sportsbook use effective betting strategies on basketball handicaps, for example, on the clear favorite, to win a strong team in the first quarter, to chase by quarters.

On the favorite

Experienced players choose betting on the victory of a strong side with a handicap from -5.5 to -8.5 in matches between the favorite and the outsider, depending on the class difference of clubs and quotations. The optimal ratio is from 2.50 to 3.50.

Matches in which the tournament leader plays at home, significantly surpasses the opponent in class, is highly motivated to win and often defeats weak opponents with a significant difference in the score, are suitable for playing by the strategy.

On favorite in the first quarter

In most matches, strong teams actively start the first quarter and win the initial segment of the meeting.

According to the strategy, players bet on the victory of the favorite in the first quarter with H(-2.5).

The bet is relevant if the match analysis showed that the favorite is in good form, often won the first quarters with a difference of 3+ points in matches against weak opponents.

On the "Chasing" favorite by quarters

In case of loss, you can continue the series using the chasing system - place a bet on the win with H(-2.5) in the next quarter.

The amount of each subsequent bet should be increased so much that the first win brings profit and compensates for past losses.


The handicap in basketball provides an opportunity to place bets on favourable terms and win over a long distance.

A negative handicap allows you to increase the odds when betting on the favourite, a positive one - reduces risks when betting on an outsider.

When playing, it is essential to take into account the tournament position, results, form and motivation of the teams, the difference between opponents in class, and the factor of the home court.

Advantages Disadvantages
The opportunity to place bets with increased coefficients or reduced risks Different settlement rules with or without OT depending on the sportsbook
A wide variety of options - on the outcome of the match, quarters, half or on the statistical indicators of players  
Availability in all sportsbooks  



What is the handicap in basketball betting?

Handicap in basketball is a bet with the advantage or lag of one of the sides. Bookmakers give a positive handicap to outsiders and a negative handicap to favourites."

How to properly calculate a handicap bet on basketball?
Experienced players, when determining the optimal handicap, take into account the tournament position, results, form and motivation of the teams, the difference in the strength of opponents, and the home court factor.
What is the difference between European and Asian handicaps in basketball?
With the European handicap, the fan will get a full calculation of the bet as win, loss, or refund depending on the value of the handicap. With the Asian handicap, there is a possibility of a full win or loss, partial win and refund, or loss and refund.


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