Asian Handicap Betting

asian handicap table

What is Asian Handicap Betting?

Asian Handicap betting involves staking money on the outcome of a match in which one team is given a ‘head start’ before the contest begins. It is most commonly applied in football, where these head starts can be in multiples of one goal, 0.5 goals (‘half goals’) or even 0.25 or 0.75 goals (explained below). In other sports, Asian handicaps could be a number of points or, for example, a head start of a number of games in a set of tennis.

The advantage of including ‘half goals’ on your Asian handicap football bet is that they eliminate the possibility of the outcome being a draw. With a ‘half a goal’ handicap, one or other team will always ‘win’ because in a real football match, of course, scoring ‘half a goal’ is impossible.

Asian Handicap Betting Explained

Asian handicap betting is so called because this form of bet is very popular in Asian markets, having reputedly originated in Indonesia. It offers a more interesting and nuanced alternative to the straight-forward win, lose or draw (1X2) bet.

Asian handicaps make a sporting contest more even, in theory, by giving both teams a relatively equal chance of winning. This is done by giving one or other team in a match a positive or negative goal handicap.

Manchester United, for example, may be strong favourites to beat Accrington Stanley in a domestic cup competition. But if you believe United will beat Accrington by a three-goal margin, you could bet on Manchester United to win with a handicap of –2.5 or Accrington at +3.5 or more.

If both teams are level after the handicap is applied (e.g. if you bet on ‘Manchester United -3’ and they win 3-0, 4-1 or 5-2 etc) then your bet is refunded. This is why betting on ‘half goals’ provides an attractive option for the punter, because it takes the draw, and thus a void bet, out of the equation.

With no prospect of pesky draws scuppering your single bet or weekend accumulator, betting margins are lower, offering higher chances of making a profit over a longer period.

Asian handicap betting also provides more value in matches where there one team is perceived as a strong favourite to win. Odds on the stronger team obviously tend to be unattractively short, so an Asian handicap bet spices up what would otherwise look to be a dead cert.

Asian Handicap table:

asian handicap table

Asian Handicap 0.0 explained

In this form of Asian handicap neither side is actually given a handicap, so it would most commonly apply when both teams are perceived to be evenly matched. If your selection proves correct your bet will be successful, regardless of the scoreline. If the match ends in a draw, your stake will be returned. Essentially, it is identical to the ‘draw no bet’ market.

Asian Handicap 0.25 explained

Quarter handicaps mean your selection starts with either a head start or a deficit of a quarter of a goal (or ‘quarter ball’). The 0.25 Asian handicap bet is a bit like an each-way bet in that it splits the bet between the two closest ½ intervals. For example, a £10 bet at +0.25 is the same as betting £5 at 0 and £5 at 0.5. With 0.25 handicap bets you can win and draw (and thus win half your wager) or lose and draw (and lose half your wager).

In Asian handicap +0.25 betting, if your selection wins by any margin, your bet is a winner. Likewise, if they lose, you’ve lost your stake. If the match is drawn, however, half the stake is settled at the price chosen by the punter, and the other half is refunded.

With Asian handicap -0.25 bets, if your selected team wins by any score your bet is a winner and if they lose, you’ve lost your money. In the event of a draw, the outcome is slightly different to a +0.25 bet in that half your stake is refunded, and the other half is deemed as a losing bet and goes to the bookmaker.

Asian Handicap 0.5 explained

The Asian handicap 0.5 is easier to explain. Your bet will always result in a win or loss because, in reality, it’s impossible to score ‘half a goal’. If, for example you back Arsenal to beat Manchester City with a +0.5 Asian handicap, you will get a return if Arsenal win by any scoreline or if the game ends in a draw, but if Arsenal are beaten, your stake will be lost. If you choose Arsenal to start with a -0.5 Asian handicap, you will get a pay-out if Arsenal win by any scoreline, but a draw or a defeat for the Gunners will see you lose your bet.

Asian Handicap 0.75 explained

Rather like a 0.25 handicap, the 0.75 Asian handicap splits the bet between the two closest ½ intervals. For example, a £10 bet at +0.75 is the same betting £5 at 0.5 and £5 at 1. With +0.75 handicap bets you can win and draw (and thus win half your bet) or lose and draw (and thus lose half your bet).

A 0.75 bet essentially gives your selected team a three-quarters of a goal head start (+0.75) or deficit (-0.75). If you’ve selected +0.75 then your bet wins if that team win or draw. If they lose by a one-goal margin, half the stake is refunded to you, and the other half is lost.

With a -0.75 bet, you lose your entire stake if your selected team loses or draws, but if they win by a margin of two or more goals, your bet is a winner. If they win by a one-goal margin, half your stake is settled by the bookie at the chosen price, and the other half is refunded to you.

Asian Handicap -1 explained

The simplest form of Asian handicap betting sees one team or another start the match with a one-goal head start (sometimes referred to as ‘full ball’). If, for example, you bet on Chelsea beating Southampton with a handicap of -1 then you get a return if they win by a margin of two goals or more (e.g. 2-0, 3-0, 3-1, 4-2 etc). If the bet ends in a ‘draw’ - i.e. Chelsea win the match by only a one-goal margin – your stake is returned as there is no ‘winner’. If the match itself ends in a draw or Southampton win, you obviously lose your cash.

Asian Handicap -1.5 Explained

In this instance, your selected team begin the match in question with a deficit of one and a half goals. If you go for Liverpool to beat Leicester City with an Asian handicap -1.5, the Reds must win the game by a margin of at least two goals for your bet to come in. A defeat, a draw or a Liverpool victory margin of just one goal would result in a losing bet. Obviously, this type of Asian handicap bet should be reserved for matches where one team look to be strong favourites.

Benefits of Asian Handicap betting

The most obvious benefit of Asian handicap betting is the way it can be used to eliminate the draw – so often the scourge of your average punter’s Saturday afternoon or midweek selections. By selecting quarter- or half-goal bets, those annoying draws are removed from the equation.

In essence, Asian handicap betting provides a more exotic type of bet than a straight-forward 1X2 punt and additionally can reward slightly more in-depth thought and knowledge of the game.

You’re not betting on which team you think will win or lose, but on the margin of victory they will win or lose by. This brings more nuances into play. If Barcelona, say, are playing Leganes in a weekend La Liga fixture and have a crucial Champions League game the following Tuesday night, will they be going all out to win 5-0? Or will they go a couple of goals up, make a raft of substitutions at half time and take their foot off the gas? On the other hand, if they have no forthcoming big-game distractions and all their key forwards are fit and in form, a bigger Asian handicap of -3 or more might offer decent rewards.

Half-ball or quarter-ball bets are useful if you can use your knowledge to spot an under- or over-priced team in a particular match. Betting against the so-called stronger team can pay dividends here, when a draw in the match or a slender victory margin for the favourites can be turned into a profit by giving the underdog a head start.


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