6 months ago - 7 minute read

Asian Handicap Explained

An Asian handicap is a two-way soccer bet that removes the draw as an option by giving one team a head start

Forget what you think you know, Asian Handicaps are a simple and profitable way of betting on football. The chances are evened up by giving one team a head start in terms of goals scored and removing the draw as an option. That’s it. It genuinely is that easy.

You pick which team you think will win given the handicap and bet on them at a price around 2.0. They are hugely popular with high-rollers and pro gamblers because they turn every football match into a win or lose proposition with both teams given equal odds. As a result, the odds are consistently some of the best you will find on any match.

Granted you might not immediately think something marked up as Arsenal (-0.0/0.5) was a simple option, but all it’s doing is reducing the game to a win/lose two-way market.

You don’t have to consider endless variables you just need to decide if the market is right or wrong about how the two teams match up.

How to bet on Asian Handicaps

The most common Asian Handicap market is one where one team is given a half goal head start. This will be displayed as Man Utd (+0.5) with Man Utd was given a half goal head start, and Arsenal (-0.5) if Arsenal with the Gunners given a half goal handicap. A draw means the team with a half goal head start (+0.5) will win. So if you’ve bet on Man Utd then either a draw or a win is a winner for you.

  • This market gives Man Utd a 0.5 goal start against Arsenal.
  • If Man Utd win or draw the match, all bets placed on Man Utd +0.5 are winners because they have been given a 0.5 goal head start.
  • If Arsenal win the match, all bets placed on Arsenal -0.5 will be winners because they have to win by at least one goal.

Why bet on Asian Handicaps?

Asian Handicaps allow you to focus on how the two teams compare but they can also bring one-sided games to life. There is not a great deal of fun to be had betting on Arsenal winning at home to Sunderland at 1.2 but a bet at evens on a -1.5 handicap gives you a much bigger priced bet to aim at.

And because they are the preferred bet of professionals and big punters the odds have to be really competitive. The main Asian Handicap market will almost always be the best value for money odds you can find on any football match, and it’s also a market that frequently gives you more than one chance to win…

Full goals, money back

Another common market you will see is a full goal handicap.

The simplest example of this is if both teams are rated as equal chances to win, shown as Arsenal (0.0) Man Utd (0.0). This means both teams start without any goal advantage. In this situation, a draw simply sees all stakes returned to players. So bet on Arsenal and you win if they do or get your money back if they draw.

The other type of full goal handicap is where one team is rated much higher than the other and is given a big head start. If we take Arsenal (-1) and Swansea (+1) then if Arsenal win by exactly one goal it’s a “handicap draw” and all stakes would be returned. A 1-0, 2-1 or 3-2 win would see stakes refunded. It’s this added flexibility that makes Asian Handicaps such a great betting option.

Making sense of split handicaps

You will also regularly find split handicaps, and this is where it really gets fun. Take the example of Arsenal (-0.0/0.5) and Man Utd (+0.0/0.5).

Wait, come back, it’s really not hard to understand!

This is just two separate bets. Your stakes will be split between the two so a £10 bet on Arsenal (-0.0/0.5) is really £5 on Arsenal (0.0) and £5 on Arsenal (-0.5).

Asian Handicap Example - .05

If Arsenal win you win the full £10 profit and if they draw you get £5 returned. You may see this expressed as Arsenal (-0.25) but it means the same thing. On Matchbook this is always expressed as two bets so you can quickly and easily see what you are betting on.

  • If you select Arsenal, you are placing two separate bets, one on Arsenal -0.0 and one on Arsenal -0.5, each for half of your stake.
  • If the game ends in a draw, you will be refunded your stake on the Arsenal -0.0 bet and lose your stake on the Arsenal -0.5 bet.
  • If Arsenal win the game, you will win both bets and if Arsenal lose the game, you will lose both of your bets.
  • If you select Man Utd, you are also placing two separate bets, one on Man Utd +0.0 and one on Man Utd +0.5.
  • If the game ends in a draw, you will be refunded your stake on the Man Utd +0.0 bet and win your bet on Man Utd +0.5.
  • If Man Utd win the game, you will win both bets and if Man Utd lose the game, you will lose both of your bets.

These type of bets are really what Asian Handicaps are all about.

They give you huge flexibility in terms of how you want to bet on a game and at a consistent price of around 1.9.

It’s the smarter way to bet on Football.

Advantages of Asian Handicaps

  • One-sided games made exciting
  • Simplified, smarter betting
  • Better value for money
  • Ease of use and flexibility