The world of sports betting is a wild and complicated one, with many different types of betting possible, and wrapping your head around some of them can be difficult. One of the more complicated types of sports betting is sports handicapping, and getting a full understanding of this type of wager before you start to play is important. In order to help you to get started with this type of sports betting, we have put together a beginner’s guide to sports handicapping.Below, we will introduce you to what sports handicapping is, how it works, and how sports handicapping is different from other types of wagers you can place. Read on below to find out everything you need to know to get started in our introductory guide to sports handicapping!

What is Sports Handicapping?

Sports handicapping is the process of trying to analyze all of the available information in order to make the most reliable bets. Handicap betting tries to take all of the guesswork out of placing wagers, making for more accurate, data-based predictions of who will win in any given sports matchup. There are two main types of sports handicapping: point spread betting and Moneyline betting. Let us take a look at each of these options in this first section of our guide to sports handicapping.

Point spread betting is the most popular option for sports such as football and basketball. This system lists the team which is the favorite to win with a lower point number and the underdog with a higher point number. That means that if you bet on the underdog and win, you will win more money than if you bet on the favorite and win. That is standard betting, and it makes sense. Handicap betting aims to find the difference between the provided point spread and the actual odds of winning, helping you to find the margins that give you the best chance of winning the most money on your bets.

The more popular option for sports like hockey and baseball is the Moneyline odds system. This gives a much wider spread of numbers, allowing for much bigger differences in odds and much bigger potential wins for those who bet on underdogs. Again, handicap betting aims to maximize your potential gains by exploiting differences between the odds listed by the bookmakers and the actual mathematical likelihood of victory for a team.

Handicap betting can sound like it just makes your life harder and more complicated, but it actually makes it easier for you to confidently place a bet without as much anxiety about potential losses. It is not fool proof because no betting system is, but it is a much more reliable option than just betting based on gut instinct.

What does Sports Handicapping consider?

In short, everything.

Let us expand on that. What are the most important factors to consider when you look at the odds of a particular sports matchup? Well, there are a few really important factors that you should always look at first.

The question of home-field advantage is a huge one. Is one of the teams playing on their own turf? Has the other team tended to perform surprisingly well when playing away games? That can make a big difference to performance.

What about individual matchup strengths and weaknesses? Are the strong points of one team matched by identical strengths on the other team, or do they match unfortunate weaknesses? The specifics of each matchup are important, and you can’t assume that a team will play as well against any one team as any other.

Recent performance matters, too. Sometimes a team goes through a bad patch, and that is not always taken into account when opening odds are set up. While recent performance does not directly translate to future performance, it can be an indicator of roughly how things are going for a team at the moment.

Other things to consider are individual variables. What is the weather like? Has a player recently been injured? Has one team changed their lineup recently? Keep an eye on every variable, and bear this in mind when making decisions about bets.


This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sports betting. It is a big, complicated world out there, but hopefully, our basic guide to sports handicapping has given you a start point that you can build from and learn more about. Remember: always gamble responsibly, and take care to research everything before you start on it.


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