What is handicap and what is it for? Handicap gives us an opportunity to bet on the difference of goals (points, seconds...). Let's have a look:
What you see means, that if we are sure that Arsenal will win with the difference of 2 or more goals, we should bet on Arsenal (-1.5) @ 2.15 Probability of such outcome is less than that of Arsenal simply winning, but the odds are higher and so are the possible winnings. And what if we are confident that Newcastle will fight to the end and if they lose, then only with the difference of 1 goal? Then the best bet will be Newcastle (+1.5) @ 1.62 We will win money if Newcastle wins, ties or loses with the difference of 1 goal.
In football, handicap ranges usually -2.5 to +2.5 with rare exceptions. The more the difference between the teams according to the bookmaker, the bigger the handicap. Handicap bets are to be found in many kinds of sport: in basketball handicap is given on the points difference (handicaps are certainly bigger here), in tennis - on games and sets, in motor racing - on seconds.
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So, handicap is a bet on the difference of something. But handicap can be not only -1.5 or +1.5, but also -1 or +1. What it means? Let's have a look at the following example. If you bet Arsenal (-1) and Arsenal wins with the difference of exactly 1 goal, you get your money back - you neither win nor lose. Another example: Arsenal (0). This handicap isn't different from the rest, but it often causes trouble with the beginners. It's all very simple: if Arsenal wins - you win money, if they tie - you get your money back, if Arsenal loses - so do you.
And one more thing - you might come across such odds like -1 3/4 or +1 3/4 - such odds area are called asian handicap. I'll now explain what it means. Such odds contain 2 bets inside, so, e.g. a $100 bet @ -1 1/4 means that you bet $50 on -1 and $50 on -1.5; -3/4 means 2 bets on -0.5 and -1; +1/4 - bets on +0 and +0.5 For example, you bet $100 on Arsenal (-1 1/4) @ 1.7 If Arsenal win with the difference of 2 or more goals you win +$70, if Arsenal win with the difference of 1 goal, half of your bet is returned (handicap of -1) and the other is lost (handicap -1.5). If Arsenal ties or loses, you lose the whole bet.
Double chance bets - on a team not to lose, not to win, not to tie
1.05 are odds on Arsenal not to lose (1x) 1.22 are odds on that there won't be a draw 2.65 are odds on Newcastle not to win (x2)
It's worth mentioning, that Newcastle (+0.5) is equal to Newcastle not to lose, because not losing is actually a (+0.5) bet. The bet that there won't be a draw(12) wins when any of the teams wins.
Bets on match total
Total is a sum of goals (points) scored by both teams, so if the score is 3-1, the total is 3+1=4. Let's get back to our match
We have the following odds:
1.68 - total over 2.5 2.05 - total under 2.5
If we are sure that Thierry Henry and Alan Shearer will put up a show with lots of goals we bet our $100 on total over and if there are 3 or more goals in the match we'll become richer by $68. 0, 1 or 2 goals will mean that we've lost the original $100. Total isn't always fractional, it could be for example 2 goals, and if there are exactly 2 goals scored by both teams in the game (2-0 or 1-1), our bet will be returned. Before betting on total, it would be useful to find out if your bookmaker offers odds for normal time only, or if the extra time is included.
Bookmaker can give totals not only on goals, but also on number of yellow and red cards, number of corners etc. Team total
You only take goals of one team into account, for example, if you know that Thierry Henry is not participating in the match, or that Newcastle will use a defensive strategy, you can bet on Arsenal under 1.5 at 2.6
A subkind of team total are bets on team to score/not to score Other bets on this match
A bookmaker can offer as many bets on a match as he likes - on a certain player to score/not to score, ball possession percentage, will there be a penalty or a red card and many more.
I remember a bet once offered by Ladbrokes on a match England - Argentina - Owen to earn a penalty and Beckham to convert it @10
If you want to bet on a certain team becoming a champion long before the end of the championship, this kind of bet is called outright betting. Most professional bettors don't use it, because it's very much extended in time. The only kind of sport, where it may be useful, is tennis.
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