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Asian handicap bets explained

Lionel MessiAN Asian handicap (AH) — or “hang cheng” — is a soccer betting market invented not long ago.

The term “Asian handicap” was coined in 1998 by journalist Joe Saumarez Smith. Joe Phan, an Indonesian bookmaker, wanted to translate the betting method known in Asia as hang cheng betting and asked Smith.

The majority of soccer fans know how the 1X2 market works. In a 1X2 bet the bettor needs to predict whether the home team will win, the away team will win or the soccer match will end in a draw.

Here’s an example of a 1X2 bet:

*Put 1X2 Bet Image – Centered*

What are Asian handicap bets?

An Asian handicap is a wager that eliminates the draw from the 1X2 market by adding a handicap value to each team. The aim of the handicap is to create an even (50/50) betting market between two teams that aren’t equal in playing ability.

Have you ever bet on the NFL or NBA? The Asian handicap is similar to the point spread bet in American football or basketball.

The best way to learn Asian handicaps is by looking at an example:

*Put Asian Handicap Bet Image – Centered*

This is a simple example and couldn’t be any easier to understand.

Manchester City have a – 0.5 AH, which means they start the match down a ½ goal. Tottenham have a + 0.5 AH, which means they start the match up at ½ goal. So, let’s take a look at the potential outcomes of this Asian handicap bet.

Manchester City wins by 1 or more goals = City wins the bet, as they cover the AH.

Tottenham wins by 1 or more goals = Spurs win the bet, as they cover the AH.

Match ends in a draw = Spurs win the bet, as they cover the AH.

Still don’t understand why Tottenham + 0.5 wins if the match ends in a draw? Consider what I stated above. Before kick-off – the Spurs are winning the match by a ½ goal because of the Asian handicap. If the match ends in a draw – the Spurs win by a ½ goal.

Asian handicaps in ½ goal intervals, such as –0.5/+0.5 and –1.5/+1.5 are the easiest to understand because there can never be a push (tie). One team will always win at the end of the match. However, that isn’t always the case.

What happens if the Asian handicap in the match is Manchester City –1 vs. Tottenham +1?

The bet may now push. A Bet on City –1 will only win if City win the match by 2 or more goals. A bet on Tottenham will win if the match ends in a draw or if the Spurs win outright. If City wins by exactly 1 goal – a bet on City –1 or the Spurs +1 will push.

A push simply means neither team won and bettors on both sides of the market will receive their stake back in full.

In order to make soccer matches as close as possible, bookmakers also offer quarter-goal (¼) Asian handicaps or two-way handicaps.

Quarter-goal Asian handicaps include –0.25/+0.25, -0.75/+0.75, -1.25/+1.25 and –1.75/+1.75 among others. Two-way handicaps are the exact same – they’re just displayed differently. An example of a two-way handicap is –0.5, -1 / +0.5, +1 or –1, -1.5 / +1, +1.5.

Here’s an example of a quarter-goal or two-way handicap:

*Put Two-Way Handicap Bet Image – Right Align*

The two bets are the exact same and you’ll find both formats used by different bookmakers. Knowing how to read the handicap in both formats is important and I’m going to explain how to do so by using the example shown in the image.

In the image to the right – City are a 0.0, -0.5 favorite on the two-way Asian handicap, while Tottenham are a 0.0, +0.5 underdog.

This bet is the same as City –0.25 vs. Tottenham +0.25 – the wager is just displayed a different way.

When you bet on a quarter-goal or two-way handicap, you’re essentially placing two separate bets.

A bet on City 0.0, -0.5 or City –0.25 has the following outcomes:

City wins by one goal or more = bet wins.

City loses the match = bet loses.

City draws the match = bet loses half.

You have to look at these handicaps as two separate bets. The first bet being City –0 and the second being City –0.5.

If City ends the match in a draw – the first leg of the bet (-0) is a push, while the second leg (-0.5) is a loss.

What it the Asian handicap was Manchester City –0.75 vs. Tottenham +0.75?

A bet on City –0.75 or –0.5, -1 has the following outcomes.

City wins by two goals or more = bet wins.

City wins by exactly one goal = bet wins half.

City loses or draws the match = bet loses.

If City win by 2+ goals – both the –0.5 and –1 handicaps win. However, if City wins by one goal, only the –0.5 handicap is a winner, while the –1 handicap is a push, which is why bettors will win half in this situation.

Asian handicap total goals

The big UK bookmakers are all now offering Asian handicap goal totals too.

A typical goal total in a soccer match is over 2.5 goals vs. under 2.5 goals. There are only two outcomes for this bet — the over will win if three or more goals are scored or the under will win if two goals or less are scored.

Soccer Asian Handicap Bets Explained

What if the goal total market was over 2.25 goals vs. under 2.25 goals?

Soccer Two Way Handicap Bets ExplainedThis is an Asian handicap goal total and has three outcomes. Just like we discussed above – any quarter-goal handicap is basically two bets in one. In this case, a bet on over 2.25 goals is essentially a bet on over 2 goals and over 2.5 goals.

Here are the possible outcomes:

The match has three or more goals = bet wins.

The match has exactly two goals = bet loses half.

The match has one or less goals = bet loses.

Asian handicap betting charts

The two charts illustrate the possible outcomes (win / loss / push / win half / lose half) for every Asian handicap.