One of the betting terms that remains relatively unknown in North America is Asian handicap. You may have heard it mentioned or seen it as a betting option at one of the online sportsbooks and now you are wondering what is Asian handicap and how do you bet that thing? And while the chance that you would need to place Asian handicap bets in the US used to be very slim, today, with the popularity of soccer and MLS, a lot of folks are turning towards this sport, especially during the lull of summer. If you are becoming interested in soccer betting, knowing how Asian handicap works is very important and will greatly improve your betting success. Here we will explain this wagering option and will include some examples.
What is Asian Handicap?
Despite its name, Asian handicap doesn’t have much to do with the continent, rather it was first used in Indonesia and the other bookmakers adopted the name as a matter of fact, when they began offering this type of wager. Simply put, Asian handicap is a form of sports bet that gives one team and advantage (i.e. handicap to the other). If you are familiar with the American football type of bets, Asian handicap looks and acts very similarly to the point spread. But the Asian handicap is commonly used in soccer, where draws are quite common outcome of the games. As you may have already deduced, having to bet among three options (win, draw, lose) is not very advantageous for the bettor, as compared to football, where most of the time the result of the games would be either win or lose, with the very rare draw being simply graded as “push” by the sports betting websites. The Asian handicap was created in order to remove the draw from the possible outcome of the soccer game, giving the bettor a better chance of predicting the winner (or loser).
How Asian Handicap works
Asian handicap is very easy to bet, especially for people already familiar with the point spread. In a similar fashion, predetermined number of goals (think “points”, if you are more comfortable with the spread in football) are given to one soccer team, the one the sportsbook deems the underdog, and respectively taken away from the other, the favorite. At the end of the game, depending on which side you bet, the extra goals are added/subtracted to the final score and the bet is graded. It’s simple as that.
As mentioned earlier, the whole point of Asian handicap is to eliminate the draw as a possible outcome of the game. As such, most of the Asian handicap is posted in half goal increments, for example, +0.5 or +1.5. Since it’s impossible in soccer to score half a goal, this handicap ensures that there will be a clear winner and a clear loser. There is one exception, where the handicap is listed in whole numbers, such as -1 or -2 goals. In those cases, draw is obviously a possibility. But should the game finished that way after the Asian handicap is accounted for, the final outcome is graded by the sportsbook not as a draw, but as a push and the bettors simply get their staked money back. In general, however, you would see the Asian handicap posted in half-goal increments, making it very easy to work with.
Asian handicap examples
Most people learn best by example, so let’s look at some pretend games and work out the Asian handicap. Let’s say that Liverpool is hosting Chelsea and the bookmakers feel that Liverpool is a favorite to win the match, but not by a lot. In those big games a draw is a very possible outcome, and while the sportsbook will always offer the usual 1×2 bet, they would also offer the Asian handicap option to eliminate the draw out of the equation. Let’s look at examples of the two most common Asian handicap options, the half goal and the whole goal advantage.
Option 1: Liverpool -0.5
In this case, a half goal is taken away from Liverpool, after the end of the game. Let’s look at the possible final scores:
- Liverpool 2 -1 Chelsea: Liverpool wins the game, and since we will take half a goal off their final score, the Asian handicap wager is also graded a win, since it would make the score one and a half goals to one.
- Liverpool 1 – 2 Chelsea: Liverpool loses the game outright and the handicap bet is also a lose, since the score would be graded as half goal to two goals for Chelsea.
- Liverpool 2 – 2 Chelsea: This is where the Asian handicap does its heavy lifting. In a straight bet, only a draw ( or “x”) would be the winner, and the other two options would be losers. But with the Asian handicap of 0.5 goals chalk Liverpool, the bet will be graded a winner, since the extra half goal tacked to Liverpool would make the final score 2.5 goals to only 2 for Chelsea.
Option 2: Liverpool -1.0
Now the Asian handicap is a whole number, which makes things a bit different, although the process of calculating it remains the same.
- Liverpool 2 – 1 Chelsea: Now the game will end in a draw, after the -1 goal is taken away from the Reds. At this point, the bet is simply graded as a push. One may wonder, what’s the point of the whole handicap? Well, as you can imagine, the game could end up in a 4-1 final score i favor of Liverpool, in which case, the bet will be graded a winner, since even after taking a goal away from the Liverpool’s final tally, they will remain the winners of the game.
- Liverpool 1 – 2 Chelsea: This one is simple, the bet is a loser, since the Asian handicap will make the final score 0 – 2.
- Liverpool 2 – 2 Chelsea: after taking the one goal away from Liverpool, the final score will be in favor of Chelsea and the bet will be a loser.
The examples work the same way, should you bet the positive handicap, i.e. +0.5 or +1.0, only in this scenario, the extra goals (or half-goals) would be added to the team’s final score, rather than subtracted. As you can see, there really isn’t anything complicated to Asian handicap betting, only the name makes it sound like it would be. If you possess the very basic math skills required to survive, you can place Asian handicap bets without any issues.