Definition of Handle
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What does the term "handle" mean in the world of sports betting? What is the definition of the term "handle" as it applies to the world of wagering on sports?
In sports betting, the "handle" is the total amount of money that is wagered on an event by punters.
"For instance, let's say that an online sports book processes $10 million worth of wagers on the Super Bowl game between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. This would mean that the "handle" for the game was $10 million.
Here is another example - in the aftermath of UFC 193: Holm vs Rousey, the media was making a big deal out of the fact that the "handle" for Rousey vs Holm amongst the Las Vegas sports books was almost equal to that of a Sunday NFL game. This means that the Las Vegas sports books accepted wagers that nearly totalled the amount that they would receive on a Sunday NFL game, which is quite an accomplishment for a UFC event.
Sports books make money by accepting bets on both sides of an event. The sports book's goal is to even out their risk so that they can make their money in the "vigorish". If the sports books accept too much money on one outcome, this might mean that they could have to accept an outsized loss. For this reason, odds will adjust depending on the amount of money that is coming down on an outcome.