Asian Handicap bets are a variation on regular handicap betting. They are most commonly used for football betting and the premise of it is to eliminate the draw in a handicap outcome, instead creating a push which returns lost stakes. Because of this type of bet offering stake refunds, they have become increasingly popular.
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What is an Asian Handicap bet?
An Asian Handicap (AH) will, as with any handicapping, handicap the stronger team in a football match. What this means is in that virtual result of the handicap, the winning team has to win by at least a set margin in order for the bet to win.
The simple example is AC Milan -1 Asian Handicap. The handicap sees them, in terms of the handicap, kick off the match 1-0 behind their opponent. So in the physical game, they have to win by a two-goal margin to overcome that handicap for the bet to win. A drawn result after handicapping returns the stake (if AC Milan won 1-0 or 2-1 for example).
How does an Asian Handicap bet work?
The Asian Handicap creates something of a virtual level betting field for a game. Let’s say Tottenham were playing Norwich in a league game. The home team would likely be heavy favourites to win.
But because in this scenario Tottenham would be handicapped, then it gives the punter viable options on the game as alternatives to a regular 1X2 match outright. For example, Spurs were 1/6 in the match outright. That’s prohibitive odds not worth looking at. However, if you backed them in an Asian Handicap at -2, you would find more favourable odds on them, because it would require them to win by at least three goals.
The reverse of that would be backing the underdogs Norwich at +2 for example, which would mean that your Asian Handicap Bet on them would win, as long as they didn’t lose by more than a two-goal margin in the game. If they lost by two goals, that’s a Push and the stake is refunded.
0.0, 0.5, 1.0 handicap explained
Asian Handicap betting brings quarter goals, half goals and full goals into the equation. This can look a little complicated at first. Let’s look at the key conditions:
Whole Goals (1.0, 2.0 etc)
When a whole goal is used in an Asian Handicap, if the handicapped result is a draw, then the stake is refunded. That is because, according to the handicap, neither team won, neither team lost.
Half Goals (0.5, 1.5 etc)
A half goal Asian Handicap is the midway point between two whole goal intervals. For example, the midway point between +1 and +2 is a + 1.5 Asian Handicap.
A +1 handicap pays out if the team doesn’t lose by more than one goal.
A +2 handicap pays out if the team doesn’t lose by more than 2 goals.
So in the case of a 1.5 bet, if the team loses by no more than a one-goal margin, the bet wins (as it’s under the 1.5 handicap ) but if the team loses by two goals or more, the bet loses (as it’s over the 1.5 handicap).
Quarter Goals (0.25, 0.75, 1.25, 1.75 etc)
Quarter goals add even more to the Asian Handicap. A quarter goal Asian Handicap is the midway point between a whole goal and a half goal interval. Note that in playing a quarter goal Asian Handicap, half of the stake goes to the whole goal interval, the rest of it goes to the half goal interval.
That means situations of refunds, half loses or half wins can occur (along of course with an outright loss or win).
As an example, the interval between a -1.00 (whole goal) and a -1.5 (half goal) is -1.25 (quarter goal). Half of the stake goes to the -1.00 part and half to the -1.5 part. If you played a £2 stake on that -1.25 Asian Handicap, it’s exactly the same as playing a £1 stake on a -1.00 (whole goal) and £1 stake on a -1.5 (half goal) as individual bets.
A -1.00 AH bet will pay out if the team wins by at least two goals, or will refund the stake if the handicap outcome is a draw.
A -1.50 AH bet will only pay out if the team wins by at least two goals and it is a straight loss if they only win by one goal (or they draw or lose of course).
So in the interval between those two you have the -1.25 quarter goal which gives you:
- Half a loss if the team wins by just one goal (half the stake refunded if you like)
- A win if the team wins by at least two goals
So if the team only won 1-0, half of the stake that went to the -1.00 option would give you the refund. The other half of the stake on the -1.50 option is entirely lost. So either way, you look at it, it’s a half loss of stake. See the table / chart in the “Winning Asian Handicap example in soccer” section below, for more details.
Asian Handicap Table Chart
Winning Asian Handicap example in Soccer
Tottenham are backed at -1.25 AH against Norwich at 2/1 odds, because Spurs are strong favourites to win the match outright. The odds on Spurs covering that Asian Handicap are more appealing than in the match outright where Spurs are only 11/10 to win. You still need them to win, just by at least two goals for the AH to pay out.
Spurs collect a 3-1 victory in the match. That is enough to cover the minimum margin of victory required (at least two goals).
In a -1.25 (quarter goal Asian Handicap) half of the stake goes to each of the nearest intervals, in this case -1.00 and -1.50.
Because Spurs won by a two goal margin which covers BOTH the -1.00 handicap and the -1.5 handicap on them, both halves of the bet wins.
A £1 stake on a Tottenham -1.25 Asian Handicap at 2/1 odds then, returns a total of £2.00 profit:
|Bet||Stake (£1 total)||Result||Payout||Profit|
Losing Asian Handicap example in Soccer
Sticking with the exact same scenario of Tottenham -1.25 against Norwich at 2/1. In this example however, instead of winning 3-1, Spurs only manage to win by a 2-1 scoreline.
That’s just a one goal margin then which doesn’t do enough to cover either the 1.00 or the -1.5 intervals. But because the one goal winning margin creates a Push from the -1.00 interval, that part of the stake is refunded, so the bet ends in a half loss.
|Bet||Stake (£1 total)||Result||Payout||Profit|
1st Half Asian Handicap
There is the option of a 1st Half Asian Handicap market as well. If you don’t want to wait for a game to play all the way to the final whistle at 90 minutes, you can take a look the result at half time for a bet to be settled. It’s exactly the same operation as an AH over 90 minutes.
The scoring in the first half of games, when teams are generally feeling themselves into fixtures and fitness levels and discipline are up, is more commonly the lower scoring half of fixtures. So what that does is allow punters to look for value in smaller Asian Handicap lines, in the scenario for example of backing the underdog to not be losing at the halftime break.
Asian Handicap odds
The goal of an Asian Handicap is to create the virtual reality of the two teams being evenly matched. That means that a bookmaker will have odds around even money on the most common (most likely) options.
The most common winning margins in matches are 1 or 2 goals, it’s not that common in comparison, that teams win by 3 or more goals.
But games vary and the odds on Man City -1 AH to beat Scunthorpe is going to be far less generous than on Man City -1 AH to beat Man Utd.
What happens when a game is in-play / live?
Asian Handicaps can be played with live in-play bets. Man City are 2-0 up at half time in a game for example, and you then backed a -1 Asian Handicap on them. What does this mean? It means that they have to cover that handicap spread in the second period of the game.
It’s not a case of them being 2-0 up already and backing them at -1 handicap which is already a winning bet because of the scoreline. If the game ends 2-0 as it was at half time in this scenario, your in-play Asian Handicap loses!
Placing an in-play live Asian Handicap bet basically, for the purpose of the handicap, sets the on-field scoreline to 0-0 from the point when you struck your bet. It wipes out anything that has gone before it.
So in this example even though City were 2-0 up when you put your -1 Asian Handicap on them, they would need to cover that handicap in the remainder of the game. Again it’s basically back to 0-0 for the purpose of the bet.
It doesn’t matter if that live in-play handicap is struck at half time, in the 60th minute or the 75th minute, from the time it is placed, City would have to produce a two-goal margin scoreline.
The Asian Handicap 0 option
If you are picking an AH option 0 (zero) then that is the same as backing them in a Draw No Bet in regular betting. It’s treated as a whole goal, so the team would just have to win the match for the bet to win. A draw returns the stake. A loss and the bet loses.
What is an alternative Asian Handicap?
A bookmaker will have its standard Asian Handicap option on a game. Let’s say it is -0, -0.5 on the stronger team (0, +0.5 on the weaker). That is the Asian Handicap line in the market which will be closest to even money. It is the main AH option which will be presented. All of the other options, -1.75, +1.00 and everything else are the alternative Asian Handicap options which then start veering away from that middle ground.
How to place an Asian Handicap on Bet365?
Bet365 were one of the first UK bookmakers to offer an Asian Handicap. The quickest way to access their Asian Handicap markets for a game is to simply click on Asian Lines in the menu right at the top of the page.
You will see their standard Asian Handicap Line. But if you then want to expand and look beyond that, you will go to the Alternative Asian Handicap market. This will bring up the odds for all of the alternative options to the standard line offered.
Click the odds on your desired selection to send it to the betting slip and strike the bet from there.