Asian Handicap Betting

Published: 27/09/2010

Asian handicap betting, also known as “Asian line betting,” has its origins in the Far East, where it is the most popular form of football wagering. In traditional 1X2 betting, there are three possible outcomes: the away side wins (1), the two sides draw (X), or the home side wins (2). Asian handicaps were devised to eliminate the possibility of a draw so that every bet is either a clear winner or loser.

The way this is accomplished is through the assignment of a half point or more to the underdog’s score and the removal of a half point or more from the favourite’s total at the very start of the match. In other words, if Side 1 are considered the weaker team, they might be assigned a starting score of +1.5, giving them a goal and a half advantage before the game even begins.

By the same token, the stronger Side 2 are given -1.5 points prior to kick off. They will need to score at least two goals more than their opponent to win the meeting. And because the half point is involved, there is no possibility of the match ending in a draw.

Asian handicap betting has long been the most popular form of football wagering in China ad it has been greeted in Europe with a warm welcome. Most bookmakers now offer some form of this win-lose option, along with the standard win-draw-win format.

There are several benefits to playing Asian handicaps. First and foremost, the punter has a much better chance of winning than are available with traditional odds, as the probability of picking correctly is very close to 50-50. There is certainly less to consider with only two outcomes possible instead of three. And returns on stakes tend to be more frequent, because so many draws end up being turned into winners thanks to that little half point.

When match-ups are especially lopsided, such as when a powerhouse team is going up against a club facing relegation, the handicaps can be quite large. This allows fans of the underdog to wager and win even when their side gets soundly trounced.

For fixtures that appear to be more evenly matched, the bookmaker may offer +0.5 points on the underdog and no handicap (0) on their opponent. This invites the possibility of a draw for those taking the favourite, and should that happen, instead of losing the wager, either the entire bet is reclaimed as a push or, at some bookmakers, half of the original bet is returned. Again, this is far better for the bettor than losing the entire stake when teams tie.

As for the bookmakers themselves, Asian handicap betting is both a blessing and a curse. It tends to make “balancing the action” on either side easier, which means they can minimize risk and take larger positions on major matches. However, it also eats into their profits, because Asian handicap markets are generally offered on a low margin.

A new wrinkle in Asian handicap betting is so-called “quarter goal betting.” Instead of awarding half goals, it provides the opportunity to split a wager into two portions, one on the half goal and the other on a full goal difference. For example, a £20 wager on Side 1 at ¾ is the same as a £10 bet on Side 1 at 0.5 and another £10 bet on Side 1 at a full goal handicap. Some bookmakers also refer to this as a “two-way handicap” or a “split handicap.”

Many punters have found that mixing Asian handicap wagers with their traditional bets gives them more winning options while lowering the potential risk. There are ways to hedge bets, too, especially when differences in Asian handicap odds appear among various bookmakers, opening the possibility of winning on both sides.

Published on: 27/09/2010

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