Asian Handicap explained

Asian Handicap (quite similar to spread betting in US sports) is a popular way to bet on the outcome of football games where the options to choose from are reduced from 3 to 2 and the chances of both teams get balanced through the handicap value. Some say that in AH the draw is "eliminated" which is not really so - while it is not possible to bet right on the draw it can mean profit or loss depending on the handicap. For many reasons AH is considered to be the best and most rewarding way to bet on football:

- It is much easier to decide between two than three possible options;
- Better payout, up to 3-4% higher than the fixed odds (1X2) market. This is a huge difference allowing to get much better returns in the long run;
- Easy management and pattern. With fixed odds players are often tied to bet either on big favorites not paying much or try long shots usually missing the target. In Asian Handicap we can back either team in any game at both quite decent odds and ~50% chance to have our bet winning.


The term "Asian Handicap" is credited to the British journalist Joe Saumarez Smith. A system of handicap betting known as "hang cheng" was existing in the Far East before 1998 when the Indonesian bookmaker Joe Phan asked Smith to translate it into something suitable in English. Not much later Asian Handicap and the 2-way betting on football was introduced to the world following the boom of online gaming.

How it works?

"Handicap" means a fictive head start given to one of the teams (by default the underdog) - virtually leading the game by 0.25 goal, 0.5 goal, 0.75 goal , 1 goal, 1.5 goal, etc. The player must either back a team to beat this handicap or the other side to hold it. The handicap can be also 0 goals (level ball) when both teams are rated as equal. It may seem weird but actually not hard to comprehend. The bet is settled by adding the handicap to the actual result of the game. For example if Wigan have received 0.5 goal advantage against Blackburn (Wigan +0.5) and the game ends with a draw the bet on Wigan wins by half a goal. Bets on Blackburn are winning if Rovers win the game by whatever result. When we go for -1.5 handicap our team must win the game by 2 goals at least, otherwise the underdog (+1.5) is winning by half or more goals. For 0, 1 and 2 goals handicap the bet result can be a virtual draw, in such case the stake is refunded. For example if Man United are set one goal down to Middlesbrough and they win exactly by 1 goal the Asian Handicap result is draw and all bets are settled as void.

In fact many AH lines cover the same as other betting options. The -0.5 means nothing more than win, the 0 handicap is equal to "Draw No Bet", +0.5 is same as "Double Chance", -1.5 is same as the Euro (0:1) Handicap.

Something very important - live (in-play) Asian Handicap bets usually apply only to the remaining time of the game and not to the full 90 minutes. Always be sure to check the bookie rules first.

Split (quarter ball) handicaps

It comes a bit harder with the "split" handicaps, lines like -0.25 or +1.75 look strange and confusing in the beginning. Lacking a clear standard to display split handicaps doesn`t help too, various bookies and sites use different formats to show one and the same thing. You can see 0.75 as "3/4" or "0.5, 1" ; 1.25 as "1 1/4" or "1, 1.5" etc. Not a problem though once we get the idea:

Note that 0.25 is an average value between 0 and 0.5, 0.75 between 0.5 and 1, 1.25 between 1 and 1.5. Some bookies give a hint in the way they display handicaps like 0, -0.5 or +0.5, +1. In these cases the bet is virtually split in two separate handicap bets. For example, if we bet €10 on -0.75 (-0.5, -1) handicap in fact we bet €5 on -0.5 and €5 on -1 handicap. If our team wins by 2-1, half of our bet going for the -0.5 handicap (€5) is winning at the given odds and the other half of the stake is refunded.

One more example - lets say we bet €50 on Torino +0.25 (0, +0.5) against Parma with odds 1.80. If Torino wins it is clear that we will take €90. If the game ends with a draw, half of our stake is winning (€25 x 1.80 = €45) and the remaining €25 are refunded so we get back 70 EUR. On the opposite, if we bet on Parma -0.25 (0, -0.5) and the result is draw then half of our bet (going for -0.5) will be lost and the other half (€25) will be refunded.

To make things most clear, we have summed it all - show the table

Asian goal lines

Asian goal lines (betting on the number of goals scored in a game) are quite similar to the classic under / over bets but here you can find more different lines as 1.75 goals, 2.25 goals etc. which work with the same idea as the split handicaps. For example, if we bet on under 2.75 goals and game ends 2-1 we will get half of our stake back and other other will be lost; if we bet on under 2.25 goals and the game ends 1-1 the bet will be half-won. If the line is exactly 3 goals and there are 3 goals scored in the game our stake will be refunded. Something that must be mentioned too, unlike the Asian Handicap in live betting goal lines apply to the full 90 minutes.

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