What Does Handle Mean in Betting? Handle Sports Betting Explained

The question what does handle mean in betting is a common one that comes most notably among novice sports bettors. However, recapping the concept is also helpful for experienced bettors as well. 

What is Handle in Betting?

Handle in sports betting refers to the total amount of money wagered by all bettors on any given sporting event or sports bet across any given period of time. Furthermore, the betting handle is used by offshore sportsbooks to calculate odds in order to reduce their risk. 

Betting Handle and Betting Revenue Explained

Betting Handle

The term handle in sports betting refers to the total amount of dollars bet on a specific event or betting market over a specific timeframe. It is used to define the betting odds

When you bet, you are contributing to the overall betting handle. It does not matter which sports you are wagering on.

What Does Handle Mean in Betting? Betting markets
Source: Las Vegas Review Journal

Betting Revenue

Conversely, betting revenue refers to the bookmaker’s profits from more bets placed. Thus, the key difference between the two is the profit vs. the amount wagered. 

Sports betting revenue continues to grow in the US, and the way sportsbooks, including the top Reddit sportsbooks, earn their revenue is by applying what is known as vig, or juice, to particular betting markets. 

Betting Handle and Betting Hold Explained

Below is a quick recap of the difference between the betting handle and the betting hold.

Betting Handle

  • The total amount wagered on a sporting event.
  • Does not include the bet types or profit margins. 

Betting Hold

  • The total earnings from all wagers that encompass the handle. 
  • Also means betting revenue for sportsbooks. 

Handle Percentage Betting

Here’s a quick rundown of how the handle percentage compares to online sports betting tickets. 

Handle Percentage

  • Defined as the position of the total amount wagered on an event.
  • If $60,000 of the total $100,000 handle was placed on a moneyline wager, then the moneyline wager has a handle percentage of 60%. 

Betting Tickets

  • The count of individual bets placed on an outcome. 
  • If 300 bets were placed on a football game to total a betting handle of $500,000, you would simply ignore the $500k and refer to the 300 bets to get the total number of betting tickets.

Can Knowing the Handle Help?

Here is how understanding the handle can help inform your sports betting strategies. 

  • Low Handle – Signifies limited betting interest, which typically translates to more favorable odds or lower juice.
  • High Handle – Indicates widespread interest, which can mean that the odds may be volatile given the overall betting activity.
  • Line Movement – The handle will influence betting line movement because oddsmakers will adjust their risk based on the wagers accepted.
  • Market Depth – Means there’s a lot more cash in the betting handle, so you can place bigger bets without causing major changes in the odds.
  • Public Betting – Refers to the amount of public money bet by the casual fan on betting lines or events.


Should you bet with the handle?

What is the total betting handle?

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