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Asian Handicap Betting Explained

Published on: 19/08/2011

Also known as “Asian line betting,” Asian handicap betting originated in the Far East, where it has become the most popular form of football wagering. In traditional 1X2 betting, there are three possibilities for the outcome of an event: the home side wins (1), the two sides draw (X), or the away side wins (2). Asian handicaps take away the possibility of a draw, which means each bet must be either a winner or loser.

In order to eliminate draws, before the match begins a half point or more is assigned to the underdog’s score and a corresponding amount is deducted from the favourite’s total. In other words, when Side A are thought to be the weaker team, they might receive a starting score of +1.5; that gives them a goal and a half head start before the game commences.

Similarly, the stronger Side B gets -1.5 points before the game starts. They will need to make up the deficit by scoring two goals or more than Side A. The assignment of the half point ensures that there is there is no possibility of the match resulting in a draw.

For many years, Asian handicap betting has been China’s most popular form of football wagering. More recently, it has been warmly received in Europe, too. The majority of bookmakers now make some form of this win-lose option available to customers, in addition to the standard 1X2 format.

Playing Asian handicaps afford bettors several advantages. Most importantly, the bettor has a more likely chance of winning than is offered with traditional odds. That’s because the probability of choosing correctly is very close to 50-50. What’s more, there is less to take into consideration when only two outcomes are possible instead of three. Also, profits tend to arrive more frequently, as draws are turned into winners by the extra half point.

Anytime match-ups are unusually lopsided—such as when a league-leading team plays another facing relegation—the gaps created by the handicaps can be very large. This enables wagering by fans of the underdog, who can win even if their side is badly defeated.

In the case of fixtures that are more evenly matched, bookmakers may offer just +0.5 points on the underdog and give no handicap (0) for the favourite. Of course, this opens up the possibility of a draw for those taking odds on the favourite. In such an event, instead of losing the wager, the entire bet may be treated as a push and the stakes can be reclaimed. An alternative method used by some bookmakers is to return just half of the original bet. In either event, the result is preferable to losing the entire stake on a draw.

One of the very latest variations in Asian handicap betting is something called “quarter goal betting.” Instead of awarding half goals, it gives bettors the opportunity to divide their wager into two parts, one on the half goal and the other on a full goal difference. For example, a £40 wager on Side A at ¾ is the same as a £20 bet on Side A at 0.5 and another £20 bet on Side A at a full goal handicap. Some bookmakers call this a “two-way handicap” or a “split handicap.”

Bookmakers say they view Asian handicap betting as both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it makes it easier for them to “balance the action” on either side of a wager, which means their risk is minimized and they can take larger positions on big matches. On the other hand, it detracts from their profits. That’s because Asian handicap markets are typically offered on a low margin.

By contrast, experienced handicappers say mixing Asian handicap wagers with traditional bets creates more winning options while reducing potential risk. Openings are also created to hedge bets, particularly when differences in odds appear among various Asian handicap bookmakers, and in some cases when the gaps are large enough, arbitrage may be possible, profiting no matter which side wins.

Published on: 19/08/2011 © Bet Bind