Asian Handicap betting is becoming more popular in Europe but what is an Asian Handicap and why should punters latch on to this new kind of bet?
The growth of online betting means that bookmakers are offering more and more markets on every event and one kind of bet that is booming in popularity is Asian Handicap betting.
What is Asian Handicap betting?
Unlike Handicap betting, or European Handicap betting, an Asian Handicap bet is one in which there is no possibility of a tie. It has been popular in the Far East for many years, originating in Indonesia and becoming popular in the early 21st century. Handicap lines are set by a bookmaker in order to make a contest more even and gives punters two options, each with around a 50% chance of success and odds that reflect this.
The official name for Asian Handicap betting is ‘hang cheng betting’ but the term ‘Asian Handicap’ was coined by journalist Joe Suamarez Smith in 1998, when he was asked to translate the bet for an European market.
Why does Asian Handicap betting exist?
This type of football betting is both good and bad for bookmakers. It is good because it allows them to trade equally on both sides of a bet. So, rather than having all the money come in for a favourite, they can balance their book by making a moveable handicap line, that can be adjusted depending on the volumes of money coming in for the favourite, giving away goals or points, or the underdog, receiving goals or points.
However, it is also a fantastic option for punters, as the two options significantly reduce the bookmakers’ over-round, or vigorish on a bet. Generally Asian Handicap odds offer far less potential for profit for a bookmaker than a standard 1X2 bet.
How are Asian Handicap lines set?
In a football match there are traditionally three outcomes. There is a favourite, an underdog and a draw. In Asian Handicap betting, the bookmakers will use these odds to determine by how much a favourite is expected to win and will set a line based on this perceived superiority.
For example, Celtic are expected to beat Cliftonville comfortably in a UEFA Champions League qualifier. The favourites are 1/25 and a three goal line is set on the Handicap and odds are offered on Celtic winning by more than three goals, Cliftonville winning when given a three goal start and a tie (exactly three goals).
Asian Handicap betting eliminates the tie by offering odds on the favourite’s superiority to the nearest half, or even quarter goal. In this example odds would be offered on Celtic (-3.5 Goals) and Cliftonville (+3.5 Goals). In order for the favourites to cover the Handicap line they would have to win by four and for the underdogs to win the bet they would need to lose by three goals or less.
Asian Handicap betting options at bet365
What about close matches?
Asian Handicap betting does not allow for a tie but it does allow for a push, or void bet. This occurs when there is either no discernable favourite, and the line is set at 0.0, or when the advantage can only be calculated in a whole goal. If, for example, Manchester United were to play Arsenal at the Emirates and United the bookmakers might feel that there is an equal chance of both sides winning. Both sides may be offered at 6/4 with a draw a 2/1 chance. The Asian Handicap line would be set at (0.0) and the bet would simply be on either side to win. If the match ends in a draw then stakes would be refunded.
This refund option would also come into play if there was an Asian Handicap line of (+1). If the favourites won by exactly one goal then the stakes would be refunded.
More advanced Asian Handicaps
The final, and most advanced form of Asian Handicap betting is the quarter goal Handicap, which is usually marked on a betting slip as (+0.0, +0.5). This is where things can become a little confusing as the bet is split between both options. The first stake is placed on the side at a (0.0) Handicap (stake refunded if a draw) and the second is placed at (+0.5) Handicap (bet won if the match is drawn). This can also be referred to as (+0.25) and is an option when punters are unsure but want to marginally favour one side over another.
Why bet on Asian Handicaps?
The biggest advantage to Asian Handicap betting is the fact that one result is eliminated. This should, in theory make it easier to predict the result of the match. The fact that close games see stakes returned in the event of a draw is also a huge advantage to punters as it means that they have some significant insurance on a bet that may have previously been difficult to place.
The other advantage to Asian Handicap betting is the reduced bookmaker edge. Gambling is all about maximising chances to win and a traditional Asian Handicap bet will feature odds of 1.95 on each side. Whilst this is not an even book, it is far more in the punter’s favour than any other offered on a 1X2 market and so it will be consistently better value in the long term.
How to bet on Asian Handicaps
Asian Handicap betting is only available online and is also available at only some of the online bookmakers. The likes of 10Bet, 888Bet and 188Bet are obviously experts in Asian Handicap betting, and they will accept bets of the highest volumes to the smallest margins, while firms like bet365, Paddy Power and William Hill will also take these kinds of bet.
The god thing from the punter’s point of view is that all the calculations are done by the bookmaker’s automated system and so there is no need to work out the returns of a bet in any of the more complex Handicap lines (such as the quarter goal matches). However, the payout is still broken down and available to view prior to placing the bet, so there is no worry from that side.