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What is Handicapping?

One term you will hear often when you are gambling on sports is “handicapping.”  You probably intuitively know what handicapping means, because odds are you have encountered the concept somewhere in your life before.  A lot of people became familiar with handicapping in America thanks to Jimmy Snyder on CBS (“Jimmy the Geek”).  Jimmy was a famous handicapper.  Because he was on American television, he couldn’t bluntly talk about sports betting, but he could predict the scores of future games. 

Online betting sites sometimes handicap teams when one team is a clear favourite and the other is a clear underdog.  The handicapped team is assigned points in advance, and in a sense, is given a “head start.”  The handicap is taken into account at the end of the game and factored into the final score.  This handicapped score is the one that counts for your wager, not the real-life score.  If you are smart about handicapping and get in on the right bets, it can play to your favor, but if you do not know what you are doing, it can seriously cost you.

What is the difference between handicapping and buying sports?  Technically, not much (the terms can be used interchangeably), except that handicapping often refers to the online betting site itself applying points to the scores, not you doing it.  It’s simply a type of wager you can choose to participate in, whereas when you buy points, you actually pay to shade the lines, and you choose how many points to add to the underdog or subtract from the favourite (but you can also call this handicapping).  Handicapping is particularly popular with horse racing, but you can find it in every sport. 

How do handicappers determine how much of a handicap to assign?  It depends on the sport, but handicaps are designed to compensate for specific disadvantages.  For example, in horse racing, a handicap can take many factors into account, including the weight of the jockey and saddle, the lead pads, speed, pace, form, class, post position, other factors such as the weather and the condition of the track.  In football, handicapping may be based on factors like injuries, illnesses, arguments, suspensions, fatigue, and even the opinion of the public.  For every sport, the factors are going to vary, but some will always be the same. 

There are two main reasons you want to familiarise yourself with handicapping and how it works.  One of them is that you need to be able to look at handicapped wagers and know whether they are worth taking on, and if so, what side you should bet on.  Remember, you can lose your bet even if the team or horse you predict will win in real life actually does.  All that matters is the final point distribution with the handicapped factored in.

The other reason you want to know about handicapping is because you essentially are doing it yourself if you decide to buy points.  If you can become an expert at handicapping, you may very well be able to make great use of this system and win more bets than you lose on the basis of your expertise.

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Horse Racing Betting

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New to sports betting?

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Gambling on the Internet

A few things to consider when gambling online:

  • Take advantage of first deposit bonuses
  • Have a budget and stick to it
  • Don't lose more than you can afford
  • When drunk, don't bet!
  • Don't chase losses
  • Bet on markets you know well
  • Don't abuse bonuses