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Asian Handicap Betting Guide

For Intermediate

The Asian Handicap betting market is perfectly suited for soccer fans who are looking for something slightly different from the typical 1x2 market. On the face of it, this type of bet can seem a little daunting but worry not, we are going to get the Asian Handicap explained in this guide and you will know exactly how to play this intriguing betting market.

The English term comes from journalist Joe Saumarez Smith. In the late 90's he was asked by an Indonesian bookmaker named Joe Phan, to provide a translation of the betting method that was termed 'hang cheng betting' by bookmakers in Asia.

Table of Contents

Best Sportsbooks for Asian Handicap Betting in the USA

What does Asian Handicap mean?

What do we mean by the term Asian Handicap? Well, let’s start with the ‘Asian’ aspect. It gets its name as the bet type originates from Indonesia and is hugely popular across the continent. The handicap aspect, as its name suggests, gives the lesser team an advantage. This bet type removes the possibility of a draw and works similarly to runline in baseball and puckline in ice hockey.

In any given sports event there are several variances that determine a difference in quality between two opponents. These variances consist of things like:

  • League Position
  • Form
  • Home Advantage
  • Financial Backing
  • Player availability via suspensions or injuries

When placing bets for a particular game, sportsbooks will consider all these factors when creating odds, and depending on the two teams in question, there can be a huge discrepancy in overall ability. This translates to leaving almost no value in the favorite, which makes the 1x2 market unappealing in terms of betting value. 

This is where the Asian Handicap comes in. It works against this predetermined bias in abilities and removes the chance of a draw, which in turn helps to increase the odds. This is done by adding either a positive or negative goal/point handicap to the two sides. The favorite will get a negative goal handicap and the underdogs will benefit from a positive. 

There are several variations on the Asian Handicap market, so let’s explore these to get a better understanding.

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Variations on the Asian Handicap betting market

When placing Asian Handicap bets there is a range of levels that you can choose between. Let’s start with Level Asian Handicap betting first and then move on through to Single and Split betting.

Level Asian Handicap betting:

A Level Asian Handicap bet essentially means there is no difference in ability between the two playing sides. Therefore both start with 0 goals and your bet is simply on who will win the game. However, the draw market has been removed, so if the match results in a draw then your stake will be refunded. Therefore, there are three outcomes when you back either side:

  • You bet on Team A. Team A wins and your bet pays out
  • You bet on Team A. Team B wins and your bet loses
  • You bet on Team A. The match ends in a draw. Your bet is void and you get your stake back

Single Asian Handicap Betting:

Single Asian Handicap betting comes into its own when the difference between the two sides is significant. As we previously touched on, the side deemed to be the better of the two will be given a handicap value for their goals. So for example, they will start the game with -0.5, -1, -1.5, or -2 goals. There will be a varying number of outcomes that depend on how many goals you apply as a handicap. Let’s look at this further:

  • Bet on Team A with -0.5 Asian Handicap. Team A wins. Your bet wins.
  • Bet on Team A with -0.5 Asian Handicap. Team B wins or the match ends in a draw. Your bet loses.
  • Bet on Team A with a -1 Asian Handicap. Team A wins by 2 goals. Your bet wins.
  • Bet on Team A with a -1 Asian Handicap. Team A wins by 1 goal. It is technically a draw and your bet is void and your stake is returned.
  • Bet on Team A with a -1 Asian Handicap. Team B wins or the game ends a draw. Your bet loses.

As you can see from the above, this format will continue for -1.5, -2, etc. We will outline the full payout situation of the Asian Handicap bets situation in a table shortly, but first, let’s take a look at the split version.

Split Asian Handicap Betting:

Split Asian Handicap Betting is used when the difference between two opponents is less easily defined. This is possibly the most complicated example of an Asian Handicap market. It allows you to split your stake on a team over two different handicaps. For example, a split Asian handicap of -0.75 would mean that you split your stake over -0.5 and -1. So, what does this mean exactly? Let’s look at an example.

  • LA Galaxy -0.75 (two bets split as -0.5 and -1.0)
  • Seattle Sounders +0.75 (two bets split as +0.5 and +1.0)

If you were to back LA Galaxy as the favorites and they win by 2 or more goals then your bet is a full winner. It wins on both -0.5 and -1.0 bets. If the Galaxy were to win by just one goal, you would get 50% of your bet back because -0.5 would win but -1.0 would technically end in a draw. If the game was to end as a draw or a Sounders win then both of your bets would lose.

Asian Handicap Payouts

The table below provides a detailed look into the eventualities needed for each bet. It also details which outcomes provide a full or partial win, and which will result in a full or partial loss, so you know exactly the results you are hoping for after placing your stake.

Your WagerFull WinPartial WinFull LosePartial Loss
-0.25Win by 1 or moreLose by 1 or moreDraw
+0.25Win by 1 or moreDrawLose by 1 or more
-0.5Win by 1 or moreLose by 1 or more
+0.5Win by 1 or more or drawLose by 1 or more
-0.75Win by 2 or moreWin by 1Lose by 1 or more
+0.75Win by 1 or more or drawLose by 2 or moreLose by 1
-1.0Win by 2 or moreLose by 1 or more or draw
+1.0Win by 1 or more or drawLose by 2 or more

Typical odds for an Asian Handicap bet

Asian Handicaps are designed to try and ensure a fairer contest between two uneven teams or players. They also remove the possibility of a draw which means they essentially present two outcomes. Of course, some of these markets technically return a void bet as a third option but this will just see the return of your stake. This means bookmakers will look to offer payouts close to even money.

All of this will depend on several factors, though. How big is the handicap that are you putting on? How big is the difference between the two sides? Some games will require a more significant handicap than others to make the tie even. Of course, the higher the odds, the less ‘likely’ the result is according to the sportsbook, however, that shouldn’t put you off if you believe the odds to be generous.

Balancing out the market

Asian Handicap betting is a great way of balancing out some of the more one-sided ties, minimizing risk, and making them more appealing to bet on. On the face of it, it can seem fairly complex but hopefully, you are now feeling confident about how to play this particular market. Once you do get the hand of these bets then it can be a great addition to your overall betting strategy. Feel free to give it a try at any of our recommended sportsbooks!