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Asian Handicap

An Asian handicap is a method of betting that is popular in football games. The main feature of an Asian handicap is that it changes the possible outcomes of a game by reducing them in number. Normally, in a football game, the possible outcomes include a win, lose or draw. Utilizing an Asian handicap, the possibilities for the outcome of the game are reduced to two: win or lose. This particular betting arrangement has advantages and disadvantages for bookmakers.

From the Bookmaker’s Perspective

Draws are common outcomes in football matches. For most of the people who bet on football matches, however, draws are bad news. In a draw, a bookie typically makes out well, as people bet on teams to win. The downside to an Asian handicap from a bookmaker’s perspective is that the draw is eliminated from the realm of possibility.

There is an upside to an Asian handicap for a bookmaker, however. Provided that the amount of betting on either side is relatively even, the bookie is able to minimize the amount of risk that they are taking in the game. For punters, the Asian handicap style of betting tends to be quite a bit fairer, according to many experts.

Basic Asian Handicap

The Basics

Imagine that the Asian handicap is being applied to a football match. In this particular match, the home team has a significant advantage and, because of that, betting without the Asian handicap would be rather boring. It would be fairly easy for anybody with some knowledge of the game to predict who is going to win the match.

Using the handicap, the odds are brought down to as close to 50/50 as possible. This is accomplished by getting one of the teams quarter or half goals. In some cases, teams are given full goals.

This has the effect of virtually eliminating the chances that there will be a draw in any given match. It still can happen, however. In cases where including the handicapped also results in a draw, all bettors are given back their original bets. Obviously, this arrangement has quite a few benefits for the punters in the game!


If you want to place a bet on a match that’s being offered with an Asian handicap, you have several different options. Depending upon how a draw turns out, the way you place your bet may work in your favor or against it.

The first arrangement is the “Draw No Bet” option. This reduces the handicap level to zero and is the arrangement under which you will have your bet refunded to you if there is a draw. If you want to make certain that a draw does not affect your bet, this is the arrangement to take.

You can also take a -0.5 bet. This type of bet functions exactly the same as if you would have bet on the same team to win. If your team doesn’t win, you don’t get paid.

There is a +0.5 option, as well. Utilizing this handicap, you’re simply betting that the team you are wagering on will not lose the match. If there is a draw, it works out in your favor.

Another handicap arrangement available is the +/-1 handicap. This is also referred to as a one goal handicap. Under this arrangement, if the favored team to win does so by one goal, everybody gets their bet back.

There are also quarter handicap bets that you can take, as well. Under these handicaps, the team is given a one quarter goal before the game starts. Quarter handicaps are much more complex than other arrangements.

Under the 0.25 Asian handicap bet, you can win, lose, when half or lose half of your bet. Likewise, there is a 0.75 Asian handicap that you can take, as well, that is equally complex.

When Asian handicaps are being used, the – or + will be assigned to the favorite and underdog team, respectively. The overall effect of this type of betting is that you have a better chance of winning. In order to win a match, the favorite has to overcome the handicap. At the end of the match, the handicap is added to the score of the underdog team and, if it makes them the winner, the betting has worked out for you. Remember, however, that the handicap is either added to the final score of the underdog team or is deducted from the score of the favored team, but never both.

In Practice

It’s a bit easier to understand the Asian handicap by simply giving some examples of betting on the favored team.

If you take no handicap on a game, you win if your team wins, lose if your team loses and get your bet refunded if there is a draw.

If you take a 0.5 or a -0.25 handicap on a team, you lose half if they draw, lose if they lose and win if they win by one or more.

If you take a -0.5, -1, or a -0.75, you will when half if your team wins by one, win if your team wins by two or more or lose if the team draws or loses.

Take a -1 handicap and you will win if you’re team wins by two or more, your bet refunded if they win by one or lose if they draw or lose.

The various payout possibilities change as you take different handicap options. It’s best to take a look at the chart provided by your bookmaker or another resource to get a good handle on Asian handicaps before you start betting under this system. Even though it does give you better odds of winning and greatly increases the excitement of games that would otherwise be quite dull, it is complex and you need to make certain that you understand it fully before you start betting with a handicap.

Where Did This Start?

Just as the name implies, the Asian handicap did begin in Asia. It has recently become extremely popular in Europe, however.

In football matches where it is more or less a given that one team is going to win and the other is going to lose, using an Asian handicap adds to the excitement of the game by bringing the odds as close to 50/50 as they could possibly be. There is also no chance that you’ll end up losing your money on a draw, which increases your odds of winning overall. It may be complex, but many European gamblers have found the system well worth learning.

Why Bother?

Because Asian handicaps are a very complex type of betting, you might wonder why people even bother. There are good reasons behind it, but much of it boils down to simple fun. The win, lose or draw betting model really only offers you so many possibilities. It also means that you lose in two possible outcomes and only win in one, which makes Asian handicap betting safer for the punters.

Most of the time, you’ll get very close to even odds on your bets, as well. This helps to increase the excitement of engaging in a bit of wagering on a football match.

Bookmakers, because their potential losses are mitigated, can offer better prices to wagers, which also makes getting in on betting on a football match more attractive. The only downside to the Asian handicap system is the inherent complexity. Once you get the basics of it down, however, you’ll find that it is not terribly difficult to manage and that you should be able to understand it as reflexively as you would understand a win, lose or draw bet.

Placing a Bet

Placing a bet with an Asian handicap, to start with, is not terribly difficult. Pick your team and, from the start, you only have two options to go with. At the start of your wager, it’s a 50/50 proposition.

Add the handicap and make sure you understand the payout possibilities and you’re ready to go.

If the half and quarter goal aspect of this type of betting is vexing you, here’s an easy way to understand it. Imagine a football match is going on and the favorite and underdog are tied at 1-1, with a .5 handicap given to the underdog. This means that, at this point in the game, the underdog is actually ahead by one half of a goal. There may not be any such thing as a half of a goal in a football match, but there most certainly is in Asian handicap betting.

Better than Fixed Odds?

There may be some games you might want to bet on under a more traditional fixed odds system. When a game isn’t offering very good odds for your team, however, taking the Asian handicap can allow you to bet on your favorite team and do so with even odds against the opposition, who may actually be favored to win the match. This type of gambling has become extremely popular beyond its Asian countries of origin and, in the future, you’re most certainly going to hear more about it.