Introduction to Asian Handicap Betting

If you’ve not heard of Asian Handicap betting before, it’s nothing to do with betting on football matches in Asian countries. It gets it’s name due to the fact it originated in Indonesia and was given the term Asian Handicap by a journalist called Joe Saumarez, when he was asked by an Indonesian bookmaker to provide a translation of the betting method.

Essentially it’s a form of betting where the considered weaker team is given an initial advantage, so that the stronger team must score more goals in order for someone betting on them to win. The main benefit it provides over regular betting is it takes the draw out of the equation.

As an example let’s take a look at today’s only English League match, between Millwall and Charlton.

Millwall are the home team and are considered favourites for the match, you’ll see that bet365 have priced the match giving Charlton a half goal head start.

By giving Charlton the half goal lead there’s now only 2 outcomes to the game, as if the match ends in an actual draw, it would be an Asian Handicap victory for Charlton. It also enables bet365 to offer the same odds for either team.

  • If Charlton win the game by 1 or more goals – Charlton win
  • If the game ends a draw – Charlton win due to the half goal head start
  • If Millwall win by 1 or more goals – Result Millwall win

Ok that’s a pretty simple example, it gets slightly more complicated when you introduce quarter goals.

In addition to the 0.5 handicap, bookmakers also offer a range of alternative handicaps. This enables you to increase your odds depending upon the margin of victory you think there’ll be for either team.

So if you felt Millwall would win the match by 2 or more goals, you could back them with a -1.5 goal start, at odds of 3.35. This would give you better returns if they were to win by 2 or more, but your bet would be lost if they were to win, but only by 1 goal.

They also have -1 goal priced up. In this situation if Millwall were to win by 1 goal, it would cancel out the 1 goal head start given to Charlton, but rather than be classed as a losing bet, under Asian Handicap rules the stake would be refunded. This is referred to as a push bet.

You’ll also notice bet365 have some odds quoted where two handicaps are shown. These are also often referred to as quarter-goal handicaps. So -0.75 would be the same as saying -0.5,-1.0.

In this situation you’re effectively placing 2 bets, 1 with a handicap of -0.5 and the other of -1.0.

If Millwall were to win by 1 goal, the -0.5 part of the bet would be a winner and the stake would be returned on the -1.0 part of the bet. If Millwall were to win by 2 or more goals, both parts of the bet would win.

Bookmakers also offer a number of other Asian lines, including Goal Line, 1st half handicaps and corners. I’ll take a look at those in a future blog post.