A fairly straightforward game, handball most resembles soccer. Instead of kicking a ball, it is passed and thrown. Like many sports, the playing field is rectangular, with 7 players on each side. Each side has a goaltender, while the other 6 attack the opposing team’s goal as they are also trying to defend their own. The object is simple: throw the ball so that it gets past the goalie and into the goal. Whichever team scores the most goals win. A handball game consists of 2 periods of 30 minutes.
There are a few different things to bet on in a handball match. The most common selection is taking the winner of the match. A standard expectation before the start of each game is one team will be considered the favorite to win, making its opponent the underdog. If you bet the favorite, your net gain will always be less than the amount you wagered because the favorite is expected to win. Therefore, the opposite applies for the underdog. Here is an example of what a line might look like on a handball match:
Team A -140
Team B +130
Team A is the favorite, hence the minus symbol that precedes the number. The -140 simply means if you bet $14, you will only win $10. The underdog’s line is preceded by a plus symbol, indicating that the payout will be greater than the amount wagered. If you bet $10, your net win will be $13, because for every $1 you bet, you receive $1.30 on a win.
The above example is what’s known as the “moneyline”, betting exclusively on who you think will win the match. The spread is where the line is set with the favorite expected to win by a certain number of goals. And if you take the favorite, that means they have to win by at least that many goals in order for you to win. Failure to do so results in a loss. The favorite can still win the game, but if they do not “cover the spread”, it is a losing bet. Here is an example of what a spread line looks like:
Team A -7
Team B +7
Once again Team A is the favorite, and as you see, they are slated to win by 7 goals. If you bet the favorite, and they win by a final score of 30-17, you will have won since their margin of victory will have exceeded the line of 7. If they win by exactly 7, the outcome of the wager is a tie, and your bet is returned to you. You are essentially subtracting 7 goals from the favorite’s total. In a score of 30-17, it’s as though they won 23-17 for the purposes of your bet. That is why it is still a winner.
With the underdog, the concept is the same. You are adding 7 goals to their score. If you bet the underdog at +7, and they lose the game by a score of 26-24, your bet is still a winner because you have the 7 extra goals to work with. It is a cushion. And of course if the underdog wins the game anyway, then you win too.
When betting the spread, whether you bet the favorite or the underdog, the payout line on both teams will be -110. In either case, your net win will be less than what you bet. When comparing the moneyline to the spread, you see that taking the favorite on the moneyline pays less than the spread. You also see that taking the underdog on the moneyline pays more than the spread. This correlates to directly as to how difficult it is to achieve each task. Having to win by at least 7 goals is harder than winning by any amount, hence the more profitable payout. Being able to lose a game by as many as 7 goals is an easier task than having to win the game entirely, hence the lesser payout when you bet the underdog on the spread.
Also known as the “over/under”, betting the total pertains to how many goals you think will be scored during a game. It does not concern the winner of the match. If the total is 45, and you think it will be a high scoring game, you can bet the over at -110. If you expect the teams will not score that many goals, you can take the under at -110.
A note on the payout…
The standard payout for totals and the spread is -110, but these numbers do vary from time to time. For instance, if people are piling money on the favorite, the bookmaker may adjust the line to -120, now making it a more expensive wager to win the same amount. This could happen for a total as well. They do this to entice you to bet the underdog. The bookmaker’s goal is to get the wagers as balanced as possible on both sides so they are guaranteed a profit. If the payout is not adjusted, they may adjust the line. If everyone is betting the under at 45, they may lower it to 44.5, encouraging people to take the over in the interest of balancing their books.
Bookmakers commonly provide you with various options on betting individual games. A line for the first 30 minute half will be set, and then there will be another individual line set at halftime. If you think a certain team will definitely outperform its opponent in the first half of the game, but you aren’t sure if they’ll win the game, you can bet on them just for the first half. If a team is favored to win a game by 7 goals, the line on the first half will most likely be -3.5 or -4. Betting the moneyline on a specific half is not unheard of, but it is unusual. You can do this as well with the total.
If you bet on the second half, all of the statistics from the first half are irrelevant. You are starting over. For the purposes of the betting, the score at the start of the second half is 0-0. If you take the underdog at +3.5 for the 2nd half of a game, if they do not outscore their opponent, they can be outscored by as many as 3 goals and you will still have a winner.
Depending on who is handling your bets, prop bets may be available too, especially if you are betting online. Props are bets that concern very specific outcomes that do not have anything to do with who wins the game. Usually they are just for fun, but there are some props that reveal some exploitable edges for a thinking bettor. One example of a prop would be is which team will score the first goal. Or who will score the last goal. Or which player will score the first goal. The possibilities are nearly endless when it comes to betting on props. It really all depends on what kinds of things the bookmaker thinks it can get people to bet both sides on so that it still rates to yield them a profit.