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Betting comes with its own language and it’s important that you understand the terminology before getting involved. In this guide, I’m going to explain the meaning behind cricket handicap betting.
What is Handicap Betting in Cricket?
The dictionary definition of ‘handicapping’ is to give someone a disadvantage. In sports betting, this usually means that we are handing a theoretical disadvantage to one team.
In cricket, it’s possible to do this with runs or wickets, depending on whether a team bats first or second.
Handicap Betting in Cricket – Explained
Cricket handicap betting works a little differently to other sports. If we take football as an example, it’s all about who scores the most goals. The same principle applies to other sports such as basketball and American football where points win matches.
In cricket, there are two ways of winning matches – either by runs scored or wickets left in hand. That’s why there are two ways of approaching handicap betting in cricket.
In both cases, we are looking to give one team a theoretical advantage. If it’s runs, we give a team a head start in terms of runs. The same principle applies to wickets.
Runs Handicap – Example
The handicapping system in cricket is best explained by using some examples. Let’s say that New Zealand are playing Afghanistan in a T20 international. New Zealand bat first and make a big total of 200.
Afghanistan are chasing and, in the regular match markets, their odds are significantly long. By applying the handicap, we can change all that.
We’re not confident about Afghanistan winning but what if they got close? If they hit 175, that can have a bearing on the handicap betting.
In this example, we find a handicap that lists Afghanistan at +30. This means that, if the team wins the game or they get within 30 runs of the total, the handicap bet pays out. In the above example, Afghanistan are 25 runs short, so they win on the handicap.
You can also bet on New Zealand. In the above example, the Kiwis would need to win by 31 runs or more for the bet to pay out on the handicap. While these are just examples, they show you how run handicaps work and how they can be applied to other games.
Wickets Handicap – Example
Handicap betting in terms of wickets is less common but it can still be used. For this example, we’ll say that England are playing the Netherlands in an ODI. The Dutch have batted first and have made just 225 all out.
In the live markets, England are heavy favourites and their odds aren’t too interesting. By using a handicap, we can adjust those odds.
We can, for example, set that handicap so that England have to win by at least six wickets. Under this option, if they lose five wickets in their run chase, the Netherlands win the bet. If England lose four wickets or fewer, bets on the English team will pay out.
Once again, this is just an example and those bookmakers that employ handicaps will make them available for any of the major cricket matches.
In-Play Handicap Betting
Prior to a cricket match, we don’t know whether a team is going to bat first or second. That’s why handicap options may not appear until the toss has taken place.
Moving forward, the majority of those handicap bets will drop into the live sections of the sportsbooks. This is where the majority of the action can be found with fluctuating markets and lots of options for both runs and wickets.
Anyone looking to bet live on any market should be familiar with the way things work. Odds can change very quickly and bettors need to be fast, both in terms of thought and action.
It certainly helps to have a fast internet connection and updated equipment. If you’re betting on mobile, download the latest updates and make sure you have plenty of battery life.
It’s an interesting way to approach betting and the handicaps are a perfect fit for the live markets.
Recommended Betting Sites for Handicap Betting
Handicap betting is quite specialised. Most bookies offer it in some form but there are those who cover it more extensively. Here are the recommended cricket handicap betting sites.
For UK Bettors – bet365
Across the UK and beyond, bet365 are known as the best option for live betting. That’s a plus point in terms of handicap betting, but there’s much more to this cricket platform.
Bet365 will list one of the widest sets of markets for any sport – both in play and pre-match. That means there will be lots of handicaps available. They will also offer better odds than most, if not all of their competitors.
There is good infrastructure to back things up. The platform has solid customer service support and there is a wide set of funding options at bet365 including bank cards and Paypal.
It’s a good all rounder and, when looking for something specialised such as handicap betting, bet365 is the first port of call for UK bettors.
For Indian Bettors – 10Cric
Anyone who bets regularly on cricket within India should be familiar with 10Cric. There is a clue in the name and this is a bookmaker who takes the sport very seriously indeed.
You’ll always find lots of cricket markets here and this is one of the few sportsbooks that covers handicap betting to a great extent. Like all good betting sites, that great choice of markets is balanced by competitive odds across the industry.
Customer service is fast and friendly while deposit and withdrawal options are plentiful. Indian fans like lots of choice when it comes to funding and they will be able to find bank cards, Neteller, EcoPayz and Bitcoin among others.
For Australian Bettors – playup.com.au
While they were officially formed in 2019, Playup arose out of a merger between two former bookmakers, so there is a lot of history here. You have to look a little harder for the cricket markets as the focus on the homepage tends to be on horse racing.
Just click on the A to Z menu on the left of the page and you’ll find that it’s worth it. All the big games are covered and a wide choice of markets includes handicap betting on cricket. Odds come in early so bettors will have plenty of time to make their selections.
Once again, the back up services are good and the range of deposit and withdrawal methods includes PaySafeCard, BPAY and POLi.
For US Bettors – MyBookie
The choice of sportsbooks for US bettors has steadily increased over the years since sports betting opened up from 2018 onwards. While interest in cricket is also increasing, not every bookmaker has fully embraced the sport as yet.
MyBookie are an exception. They list what I feel is the best choice of cricket markets out there and that list naturally includes handicap betting. These appear for all the big games and they will be very active in the live markets.
The choice of funding options is a little limited when compared to other sportsbooks and this is one area that could be improved. For those that wish to deposit with regular currency, bank cards are really the only option.
For crypto bettors, there’s a wider list including Bitcoin and Ethereum.
For Canadian Bettors – SIA
Sports Interaction, frequently abbreviated to SIA, sets itself up as Canada’s most trusted sportsbook. That’s a bold claim but there are good reasons to back that up. A long history and high levels of security help in this respect.
Canada is another country where cricket is on the rise. The team has qualified for World Cups in the past and are one of the more competitive associate nations. Handicap betting on cricket is available here and, once again, there is a great deal of choice at competitive odds.
This outlet has one of the wider sets of funding methods. Along with bank cards and regular eWallets such as PaySafeCard, they also offer the specific Canadian providers iDebit and Instadebit.
Handicap Betting Tips
Like any form of betting, it pays to do your research. With handicap betting, it’s equally important. Here, we are not asking a simple question as to which team we think will win the game. Instead, we are looking at what we think will be the winning margin.
Remember to study all the important information such as form for both teams. How are recent results shaping up in both camps?
Take some time to consider head to head results between the two teams on show. Has one side enjoyed a long winning streak over their opponents?
Results at the ground in question will also be important to your research. Does one team play better on a particular surface than their opponents? These are the factors that you need to research if you are serious about cricket handicap betting.
Handicap betting on cricket won’t be for everyone but it can certainly make things more interesting at times. If a strong side such as India are playing one of the weaker nations, we can use the handicap system to lengthen India’s odds.
If you are looking to get involved, my advice would be to study all the information in this guide carefully. You need to find the best sportsbook and there are recommendations here for bettors around the world.
Research is also important so take a close look at the results and form guide. If you are betting in live markets, be certain to have the type of equipment that lets you react quickly.
By being knowledgeable and prepared, you can approach cricket handicap betting with greater confidence.