Jul 6, 2020
Jul 6, 2020

What is Handicap betting in esports?

Esports Handicap betting explained

Round Handicap betting in CS:GO

League of Legends Handicap betting

Handicap betting in Dota2

What is Handicap betting in esports?

There a number of markets to bet on in esports, in this article we cover Handicap betting and explain how a handicap bet works in esports.

Handicap betting in esports

In Handicap betting, the ‘handicap’ is a virtual advantage, or disadvantage, that is given to a team by a bookmaker prior to the start of a game. The goal of this type of bet is to provide bettors with a market that makes the perceived chances of a team winning more equal.

When a team is perceived to be stronger than their opponent, they are given a negative handicap, represented by the negative symbol, while on the other end the weaker team will be given a positive handicap, represented by the positive symbol.

While the premise of Handicap betting is the same for every esports game, different genres like first-person shooters (FPS) and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games can present the Handicap in different ways.

In a traditional sport like soccer, a Handicap bet can be settled in three ways: win, loss or tie (push). In esports however, the majority of matches played will have one team win and one team lose, with the rare occasion of a draw if the tournament structure allows for it.

League of Legends and Dota 2 Handicap betting

In MOBAs such as League of Legends and Dota 2, a Handicap is available when a match is played as Best-of-Three (Bo3) and is typically set at +1.5 and -1.5 prior to the start.

When placing a bet on a team at +1.5, the team is given an advantage of +1.5 games prior to the start of the Bo3 with the bet paid out if the team manages to win one game in the set or win the match overall.

Conversely, a bet on a team at -1.5 means a team is given a disadvantage of -1.5 games before the start of the Bo3 match, meaning the team has to win the match in two straight games for a -1.5 Handicap bet to win.

Handicap betting isn’t mutually exclusive to games played in a match in LoL and Dota 2, Pinnacle also offers Handicap markets on the kills that take place within a game. The range of the Handicap for kills is typically between -5.5 to +5.5, however, each matchup is priced accordingly with the appropriate Handicap applied based on the teams and games being played.

A Kill Handicap functions exactly the same as a traditional Handicap. For example, a bet on a team with a -5.5 Kill Handicap means that to win the bet the team has to have more than 5.5 kills over the opponents kill score by the end of a game and vice-versa for a +5.5 Kill Handicap. A Kill Handicap is not reliant on the team winning or losing overall and is solely a bet on the kills a team could get in a game.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Handicap betting

Similar to MOBAs, first-person shooter titles like CS:GO are typically played in a Bo3 format with the Handicap set at +1.5 and -1.5. In some cases, like for a Major Final, games are played in a Best-of-Five (Bo5) format with the Handicap set at +2.5 and -2.5. Again, the Handicap functions exactly the same as previous examples with a team at +2.5 needing to win two games out of the five in the Bo5 set or to win the match overall to be paid.

Aside from the traditional Handicap, Pinnacle also offers a Handicap market on the rounds played by a team. To briefly summarise, CS:GO is played over 30 rounds with the first team to score 16 rounds, or win an overtime, winning the game overall. The range for a Round Handicap is +7.5 to -7.5, thus a team listed at +7.5 on the Round Handicap needs to win seven or more rounds for a bet to be paid, while a team with a -7.5 Round Handicap needs to win by eight or more rounds over the opponents round score.

Overwatch League Handicap betting

Unlike other esports titles that are played in a Bo3 format, the OWL is played as a Bo5 with the first team to win three out of five maps considered the winner. The Handicap for an Overwatch League game is usually presented as +1.5, -1.5, +2.5 and -2.5, there are no ties that exist.

As noted previously, a bet on a team with a +1.5 map Handicap only requires the team to win one map to be paid, while a +2.5 Handicap requires two games. A bet on a team with a -1.5 Handicap requires the team to win the match with a two map lead while a -2.5 Handicap implies that the team has to win in three straight maps.

Esports Home
See the latest esports odds

About the author

Kristian Medina
Kristian is an SEO Content Strategist and Esports writer. He's the go-to guy when it comes to VALORANT.
Show more Show less