Asian Handicap

Asian Handicap betting is a soccer betting type, originally extremely popular in Asia (hence the name), but has grown to become one of the most common soccer betting markets around the world.

What is Asian Handicap?

Asian Handicap is a popular soccer betting type involving a team having a positive or negative handicap. A ‘Handicap’ means that one team receives a virtual head start in the contest. This means they will start the game ahead by a certain score margin before a ball has even been kicked.

How Does Asian Handicap Betting Work?

Asian Handicaps work in a similar way to that of point spread bets, whereby teams are handicapped based on their form, so a stronger team must win by a certain amount of goals for punters who back them to win their bet. 

A standard 1X2 wager on the soccer would look like this:

  • New York Red Bulls 
  • Draw
  • New York City FC 

As already highlighted, with Asian handicaps draws are taken out of the equation, so you only have two choices, back the favourite or the underdog. Let’s say that New York City are the team in form and they start the contest as the clear favourite you would see an Asian Handicap like this on the game:

  • New York Red Bulls +1.5
  • New York City FC -1.5

As New York City are the favourites they have been assigned a -1.5 handicap, which effectively means they are trailing the match by 1.5 goals before the game has even begun. In other words, for a favourite backer in this scenario to win their asian handicap bet, New York City would have to win the contest by two clear goals. If they were to win the actual game 2-0 the ‘virtual’ score against the handicap would look like this: New York City FC 2 – 1.5 New York Red Bulls, meaning punters would win their -1.5 bet on NYFC. 

If you were backing the underdogs of the content, New York Red Bulls at +1.5, you have a few chances of winning. You will be hoping that the Red Bulls will either win the game, draw the game or not lose the game by more than one goal. If any of those three outcomes happen then New York Red Bull +1.5 backers will win their bet. 

That is the simplest form of Asian handicap betting and you will often see -2.5, -3.5, -4.5 etc on strong favourites and +2.5, +3.5 and +4.5 etc on the underdogs. 

Quarter-Goal Handicaps

Quarter-Goal Handicaps are another form of Asian handicap betting and are effectively two bets and a combination of a half goal and a whole goal handicap. You might see an example of a quarter-goal handicap on an MLS match between LA Galaxy & LAFC:

Los Angeles Galaxy -0 & -0.5Los Angeles FC +0 & +0.5

In the above example, the stake is divided between a bet on the zero (level) handicap and a bet on the half-goal handicap. So a $10 stake on LA Galaxy to beat Los Angeles FC with a handicap of -0 & -0.5 would be two separate bets of $5 at the same odds, let’s say +100.

Here’s how you would get a return on your quarter-goal handicap bet on LA Galaxy:

  • If LA Galaxy wins the game by 1 goal or more, you will win both bets.
  • If the game is tied then the -5 handicap bet loses but the -0 is voided and your $5 stake refunded
  • If LA Galaxy lose the contest both bets will settle as a loser

A zero goal start (+0 or -0) means that there must be a winner of the contest and is similar to Draw/No Bet markets.

When To Consider Betting On The Asian Handicap

Asian handicap betting favours backers who believe one of two things, that either the sportsbook has underestimated/undervalued the underdog and you believe that with a positive handicap (+) they may have enough to hold their own and win you your bet or that the favourite is so strong that even with a negative handicap (-) they will still overcome the handicap and win the contest. Often strong favourites have such short odds that there is absolutely no value in backing them on the moneyline, but with a handicap, you stand to be offered better/more attractive odds. 

Asian Lines, Asian Handicap On Corners, Goals, etc. 

European Handicaps 

European Handicap whole numbers are added to the underdog and equally subtracted to the favorite. Similarly to Asian handicaps, give a head start to the underdog and penalize the favorite, however unlike Asian handicaps you have three outcomes instead of two with European handicaps. 

As touched upon, with European Handicaps you will only see the handicap in whole numbers (+1, +2, +3, -1, -2, -3) etc whereas in Asian Handicaps you will see handicaps such as +1.25, 2.25, -1.25, -2.25 etc.

An example of a European Handicap market could look like this:

  • Manchester City (-1) +110
  • Draw (-1) +270
  • Liverpool (+1) +150

If Manchester City win by two clear goals, Man City -1 backers will win their bet, if Man City wins by exactly one goal then Draw (-1) backers will win their bet and finally if Liverpool draws or wins the game then Liverpool +1 backers will win their bet. 

Asian Handicap FAQs

Asian handicap is a form of soccer betting whereby teams are handicapped based on their strength and form. The stronger team and favourite of the game traditionally must win the contest by more goals than that assigned to them on the asian handicap. An underdog however will usually be assigned a (+) positive handicap meaning they start the contest ahead.
Asian handicap is most popular in soccer betting and involves handicapping a team. Traditionally the favourite will be the one to be handicapped and will start the soccer game anywhere from 0.25 to several goals behind. That means the stronger team/favourite would have to win by more goals than that assigned to them on the handicap. For example let’s say that Chelsea are playing Manchester United and they have a -1.5 handicap, that means for the bettor to win their bet, Chelsea would have to beat Manchester United by 2 or more clear goals. On the other side of Asian handicaps you will find the weaker team/underdog will usually be assigned a positive handicap such as +1.5 so if Manchester United start the game with a +1.5 handicap then if either of the following outcomes occur then the +1.5 backers will win their bet; Manchester United win the contest, the game is tied or Manchester United lose but only by a single goal. All other scenarios and +1.5 bettors would lose.

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