Asian Handicap Betting in Football
The most popular way to bet on football is on the Full Time Result (also called 1X2), which is a bet that includes the chance of a draw. In these bets, the punter must select which team will win, or if the match will end in a draw. There are a couple of problems with Full Time Result bets however, which Asian handicapping solves.
First, most casual punters prefer to bet on favourites. Without a
handicap, the odds for the favourite can be quite low &
unattractive. Using a handicap to even out the match gives punters the
ability to get better odds on the favourite.
Secondly, the possibility of a draw in Full Time Result bets make them more difficult to win. However, in Asian handicap betting, the draw is removed from the wager. This means that punters only have to choose between two possible results, making it easier to win their bets.
Asian handicap betting also makes matches more exciting, because a handicapped underdog makes them more competitive. All the way around, they’re just more fun, which has resulted in the growing popularity of Asian handicapping in football.
These bets are similar to the point spread in basketball or American football. Points are given to underdogs, and taken from favourites. With a handicap being used, this gives a bookmaker more control to balance the wagers evenly on each side, resulting is less risk. As a result, most online bookmakers are willing to take larger wagers for Asian handicaps than Full Time Result wagers, which is good for high-stakes punters.
Manchester United -1 (1.825)
Leeds United: +1 (2.075)
In this hypothetical match, Manchester United is favoured by one goal. For bets on them to win, they need to win by 2 or more goals. If they win by exactly one goal, the bet is a push and punters are refunded their wager. If the match results in a draw or an outright win by Leeds, bets on them are winners.
The number to the right of the handicap represents the payout in
decimal format. In the match above, Manchester United would pay 1.825,
or £8.25 profit on every £10 wagered (£18.25 total payout per £10
wagered). For Leeds United, the payout would be 2.075, or £10.75 profit
on every £10 wagered (£20.75 total payout per £10 wagered).
Since football is a low scoring game, the handicap will usually be 0-2 goals. In some internationals when one team is a huge favourite over their opponent, higher handicaps can be found. Regardless, the prices are generally close to 2.00 on either side.
Level Handicaps (0 Handicap)
In a level handicap, no handicap is given to either team. Unlike full time result bets however, a draw results in a push instead of a loss, making this more attractive to many bettors. Since a draw results in a push, the odds for a level handicap are lower than a full time result wager.
Half Ball Handicaps (Half Goal)
Half ball handicaps are given when one team is only slightly favoured over their opponent. These are handicaps of .5 goals, meaning that the favoured team still needs to win the game outright. A draw of 1-1 would result in a score of 1.5 – 1, resulting in a winning bet for the underdog (because they are given the handicap). Because a half goal cannot be scored, there cannot be a draw on for either side.
Full Goal Handicaps
Full goal handicaps are handicaps which do not include .5 goals. So,
they are 0, -1, -2, etc.. In full goal handicaps, bets can still result
in a draw, which means the bets are pushed (wagers returned to the
In a game where the favourite is -1, they must win by 2 or more goals. If they win by one goal, the bet is a draw (resulting in a push). If the game ends in a draw, bets on them are lost because they’re giving up 1 goal on the handicap.
For underdogs who are +2, they can lose the game by no more than one goal. For example, an actual score of 2-3 becomes 4-3. If they lose by two goals, bets become a push.
1.5 & 2.5 Half Goal Asian Handicaps
1.5 and 2.5 half goal handicaps work the same way as half ball handicaps, where no wagers can result in a draw. Every bet placed will win or lose.
In 1.5 goal handicaps, the favourite must win by 2 or more goals for bets on them to win. The underdog can lose by one goal, draw, or win outright for bets on them to win.
In 2.5 goal handicaps, the favourite must win by 3 or more goals for bets on them to win. The underdog can lose by two goals, draw, or win outright for bets on them to win. Of course, 2.5 goal handicaps are only given when one team is heavily favoured, and punters should stick to teams that not only win a lot, but also score a lot. This means these bets should only be placed on teams who are very strong on offense as well as defense.
1/4 Goal Handicaps
This is where things start to get confusing for new punters. The first thing to know about ¼ goal handicaps (aka Level Half handicaps) is that they are actually two separate bets placed at one time. Half of the wager amount is placed on one handicap, and the other half is placed on another handicap.
At online bookmakers, ¼ goal handicaps are usually listed as (0, -0.5), (-.25), or (-1/4). These all mean the same thing. This means you’re betting on a team with no handicap, and with -0.5 goal (or +0.5 for the underdog) handicap at the same time, with your wager split 50/50 on each handicap. So, if you bet on the favourite at (0, -0.5), your team must win the match by 1 goal or more for both bets to win. If the match is a draw, you will push the 0 handicap, and lose the -0.5 handicap. If the team loses outright, both bets are lost.
If you bet the underdog at (0, +0.5) and the match is a draw, you will push the 0 handicap, and win the +0.5 handicap. If they win outright, you win both bets. If they lose, both bets are lost.
The same rules apply for higher ¼ goal handicaps, like (-1, -1.5), or (-2, -2.5).
Three Quarter Goal Handicaps
Three quarter goal handicaps work the same as ¼ goal handicaps, except they use combinations of (-.5, -1) or (+.5, +1) handicaps. They may be listed at online bookmakers as (-0.5, -1), (-.75), or (-3.4).
Higher three quarter handicaps can also be placed, such as (-1.5, -2) or (-2.5, -3).
As an example, in a match with a three quarter handicap of (-1.5, -2), the favourite must win by three or more goals for both bets to win. If they win by two goals, the -2 wager is pushed, and the -1.5 wager is won. If they win by one goal, draw, or lose outright, both bets are lost.
For the underdog in a three quarter handicap of (+.05, +1), both bets would win if the match draws, or they win outright. If they lose by one goal, the +.05 handicap loses, and the +1 handicap pushes. If they lose by more than one goal, both bets are lost.
Asian Handicap on Total Goals
Total Goal bets are wagers placed on the combined score of both football teams. If a match has a final score of 1-0, the total is 1. If the score is 2-1, the total is 3. A punters job is to predict if the actual combined score will go ‘over’ or ‘under’ the listed total.
All of the same Asian handicap rules listed above apply to Asian handicap total goal wagers. Bets can be placed on a single total, or split between two totals just like ¼ and three quarter handicaps.
For example, if a total is listed at 2.5, the teams must combine for 3 or more goals for bets on the over to win. They would need to combine for two or fewer goals for wagers on the under to win. If the total was three, and the teams combine for exactly three goals, bets are pushed and wagers are returned.
As mentioned above, totals can also be split. For example, in a total of (3, 3.5), punters are splitting their wager into two equal sized bets on each of those totals. If the teams combine for 4 or more goals, both over bets would win. If the combined score was 3, one bet would push and the other bet would lose. If the combined score was 2 or less, both bets would lose. For the under, a combined score of 2 or less would result in both bets winning. If the combined score was 3, one bet would push and one bet would lose. If the teams combine for 4 or more goals, both under bets would lose.