The Asian handicap is a slightly different variation on the standard handicap betting definition we’ve run through on the site. While it may appear difficult to understand, it is quite straight forward once originally explained.
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Asian handicaps aren’t as frequently used in British sports betting markets, but can still crop up with some bookmakers. This variation of handicap is more popular in Asia (hence the name) and works similarly, in terms of both teams in a match being given a virtual head starts or deficit scores which are added to or taken away from at the full time whistle.
These handicaps tend to come in lower increments due to the low scoring nature of professional football matches, with the odds for an Asian handicap always shown in decimal form.
Whole and Half Handicaps
A key difference between an Asian handicap and its standard form is that the former offers a refunded stake if the selection is drawn, whereas the stake is lost in a standard handicap if the selection doesn’t win.
Taking the whole handicap example from the handicap page, if Manchester United were to beat Aston Villa 4-2 and a punter took the Asian handicap of Aston Villa +2, the stake would not be lost, but refunded.
However, the handicap can also be dealt in half numbers (0.5, 1.5, 2.5 etc.) to render a draw impossible.
Taking the Manchester United (-1.5) and Aston Villa (+1.5) example, if Manchester United were to win the match by two clear goals the punter backing Manchester United would win. If they were to win by one goal, draw or lose the fixture, Aston Villa would win this market after the handicap is applied to the score.
Split handicaps may also appear from time to time but are less popular, where teams are given two handicaps in total – one goal and one half goal.
For example, given Manchester United (-1,-1.5) vs. Aston Villa (+1,+1.5) are the markets, the total bet placed would be divided between the two handicaps of the team the punter bet on. For example, at £5 bet would be split into 2x £2.50 bets on each handicap.
If Manchester United win by two goals or more, both handicap markets are won after the handicaps are applied to the score line. If they win by one goal, the -1.5 handicap is lost and the -1 handicap (half the bet) is returned as stake to the bettor, while a draw or loss for Manchester United would see Aston Villa win both the handicaps.
Handicaps can be considered confusing and there are more denominations of handicaps such as quarterly handicaps (+/-0.25) but they very rarely appear in British betting markets. Asian handicaps are mostly used to heighten the possibility of a better payout, as with two outcomes to choose from instead of three the odds on both markets involved will be higher.
Asian handicaps bear identical similarities to other terms in British betting, so to offer less confusion, a 0 goals handicap would be the same as a ‘Draw No Bet’ option that frequents bookies such as Sky Bet, while backing a -0.5 handicap is the same as choosing a favourite in a ‘Double Chance’ market. It allows a punter to pick the team he/she hopes to come out on top with the cushion of still winning if the match is drawn.