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Handicap Bet in Cricket

Handicap betting is a popular form of betting where one team is given a hypothetical advantage or disadvantage before the match starts. This is done to even out the playing field and provide more balanced betting options.

In cricket betting, handicap betting is commonly used to make one-sided matches more interesting by giving the weaker team a head start or or giving a disadvantage to the stronger team.

Let's dive in the world of Handicap betting!

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Types of Matches Suitable for Handicap Betting

Handicap is a betting strategy that can be applied to various types of cricket matches, including One-Day Internationals (ODIs), Twenty20 (T20) matches, and Test matches. It is particularly useful when there is a clear favorite and an underdog, making the outcome of the match predictable.

A handicap bet increases the odds for outcomes that would otherwise not be very profitable.

So for example, if India are playing Ireland, who are a weaker team on paper, the reward for India winning will be lower, and won't attract many bets. In such situations, a handicap is given in order to make the bets more interesting, read on to find out how this looks in practice.

How to Place a Handicap Bet?

To place a handicap bet, you need to understand how the handicaps are expressed. The handicap is typically displayed as a positive or negative value, followed by a specific number.

You can see how that works in the sections below.

Positive Handicap

If a team has a positive handicap, it means they start the match with an advantage. For example, in a T20 match between India and Ireland, Ireland might have a +20.5 runs handicap ( as on paper they are a weaker team).

This means that before the match even begins, 20.5 runs are added to the final score of Ireland.

To win the bet on Ireland, they must either win the match outright or lose by fewer runs than the handicap (20.5).

So to explain the last line, if Ireland loses by 17 runs and you bet on Ireland. You win your bet, as they have lost by less than 20.5 runs.

Positive and Negative handicap in cricket

Negative Handicap

If a team has a negative handicap, it means they start the match at a disadvantage. For instance, in an ODI match between Australia and New Zealand, Australia might have a -15.5 runs handicap.

This means that before the match begins, 15.5 runs are deducted from the final score of Australia. To win the bet on Australia, they must win by more runs than the adjusted final score after the handicap is applied.

If you had bet on New Zealand, consider the odds were 2.75, and New Zealand lost by 7 runs, so although New Zealand lost, they lost by less than the margin of 15.5, and hence you would win your bet.

So if you had bet INR 1,000 on New Zealand, you would have won INR 2,750 (1,000 x 2.75)

Understanding Odds in Handicap Bets

Now, let's talk about the odds in handicap betting. Odds represent the likelihood of a particular outcome happening. Just like in regular betting, odds are displayed as decimal numbers.

Here are some examples to make it clear.

In a T20 match between India and England, India might be the stronger team, and England could have a +5.5 runs handicap.

The odds for India to win with the handicap are set to 1.80, while the odds for England to win are set to 2.10. If you bet INR 500 on India, and they win by more than 5.5 runs, you would receive a total payout of INR 900 (₹500 x 1.80), including your initial stake of INR 500.

Let's expand on the example of handicap betting in cricket by considering a handicap in wickets. In a cricket match between Pakistan and West Indies, the bookmaker sets a handicap of -2.5 wickets for Pakistan or +2.5 wickets for West Indies.

If you place a bet on Pakistan with a handicap of -2.5 wickets, it means Pakistan must take more than 2.5 wickets than WI for your bet to be successful.

If Pakistan takes 5 wickets more than Windies during the match, considering the handicap, the adjusted wicket count will be +2.5 wickets (actual wickets taken by Pakistan minus the handicap).

So, if you bet on Pakistan with a handicap at odds of -2.5 wickets your bet will be successful.

Handicap bet in cricket explainer infographic

Tips for Placing Handicap Bets

When you are placing handicap bets in cricket, there are some factors to consider that will help you maximize your returns. Follow the tips below to place more profitable bets.

  • Pay attention to the batting order. If a team has a lot of powerful hitters at the top of the order, they're more likely to win by more than the handicap.
  • Consider the pitch conditions. If the pitch is good for batting, it's more likely that teams will win by more than the handicap.
  • Be patient. Don't expect to win every handicap bet. Just keep studying the stats, using your gut instinct, and being patient, and you'll start to win more handicap bets than you lose.
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