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Asian Handicap Explained


The term "Asian handicap" was reportedly coined by journalist Joe Saumarez Smith in 1998, translating the 'hang cheng' betting method used by Asian bookmakers.

Asian handicap is a betting method that aims to balance the odds between two teams, typically in football, by assigning handicaps to each. The goal is to level the playing field and make betting more attractive. Originating from Indonesia, it became popular across Asia, hence the name.

In Asian handicap, the draw is eliminated, reducing possible outcomes from three to two. This simplifies betting on uneven matchups, where favorites have short odds. The handicap is applied by adding or deducting goals from the final tally, offering a more balanced wagering experience.

Table of Contents

When exploring the world of sports betting, you might have come across the term, Asian handicap. But what does it mean, and how does it work? In this piece, we will look at what an Asian handicap is and how it works.

What is an Asian handicap?

An Asian handicap is a type of bet that aims to level the odds to evens to balance out the winning chances of two teams that are facing each other. This is done by placing a handicap on a team to win or lose by ‘adding to’ or ‘deducting from’ their final goals tally. This helps to make the winning probability for either team to sit around 50%, so it becomes more attractive to the gambler.

For example, if Manchester City from the English Premier League were facing Crewe Alexandra from English League Two, the odds on Manchester City winning the game would be very short and not very tempting to bet on. The idea of Asian handicap betting is to give Manchester City a handicap so if you choose them to win, they would need to win the game by quite a few goals for the bet to be successful.

Asian handicap betting also reduces the possible number of outcomes in a game from three outcomes to two, because the draw is eliminated. If Manchester City carried a handicap of -3 and won the game 4-0, the bet would be won. If they only won 2-0, the bet would be lost. However, if they won 3-0, this would effectively be seen as a draw and the gambler would get their stake returned.

This is one of the big reasons that Asian handicap betting is so popular on sports such as football, because your stake is better covered.

As we know, sport can be contested by two opponents who have a very different level of player, resources, and power, which can throw up some incredibly unequal ties. This is when we see the odds for favourites being very short and unappealing because you have to stake a large sum for a small return.

Asian handicap betting provides a balance to an unfair match-up to give punters a better chance to win. This is also encouraged by offering just two outcomes, rather than the regular 1X2 model of win, draw, and loss.

Why is it called ‘Asian’?

Asian Handicap betting originates from Indonesia and is a popular way to bet, particularly on football, across the far east. According to some reports, the term ‘Asian handicap’ was coined by journalist, Joe Saumarez Smith, in 1998, who used it to translate the ‘hang cheng’ betting method, used by many Asian bookmakers.

How does Asian handicap work?

Asian handicap betting might look complex at first glance, but once you understand the principles of it, you’ll see it is an exciting way to bet. It is used to bet on the winner of a specific game, with one team being given a handicap to make the odds more balanced. Here, we’ll cover some of the different types of Asian handicaps.

Asian handicap 0.0

A 0.0 Asian handicap indicates that the bookmaker can’t separate the chances of the two teams in question because they are so evenly matched. With the draw option being removed, you are simply betting on a team to win. However, if the game finishes as a draw, your stake is refunded. But, if you pick the winner of the game, you win the bet. If your selection loses, your bet is lost.

0.25 Handicap

A 0.25 Asian handicap is known as a quarter line bet. For example, betting on Liverpool with the quarter line -0.25 means they start the game with a disadvantage of -0.25 goals. You win your bet if Liverpool win, but if they lose, the bet is lost. If the match ends in a draw, you will receive half of your stake back.

0.5 Handicap

A 0.5 Asian handicap is known as a half line bet. Betting on Manchester United with the half line +0.5 means they start the game with the advantage of a 0.5 goal lead. You win if Manchester United win the game, or it ends in a draw. However, if they lose, your bet is lost.

0.75 Handicap

A 0.75 Asian handicap is also a quarter line bet. If you bet on Arsenal at -0.75, they will start the game with the disadvantage of 0.75 goals. For your bet to win, Arsenal must win by two clear goals. If they only win by one clear goal, your bet is divided. So, you get money back on one half of the bet and win on the other half. If Arsenal lose or the game finishes as a draw, you lose the bet.

In Asian handicap betting, this is reversed if you’d bet on a team with a +0.75 quarter line.

1.5 Asian Handicap

The team with the +1.5 receives a one and a half goal start to the game. If you bet a team at 1.5, your bet would be successful if your side won, tied, or even lost by no more than one goal during the match.

-1 Handicap

A -1 Asian handicap is a full line bet. If you bet on Manchester City at -1, they will start the game with the disadvantage of -1 goals. For your bet to win, Manchester City must win by two clear goals. If they only win by one clear goal, you will get your money back, or if the game ends in a draw your bet is lost.

-1.25 Handicap

A -1.25 Asian handicap is also a quarter line bet. For your bet to win, your team must win by two clear goals.

-1.5 Handicap

A -1.5 Asian handicap is another half line bet. If you bet on Chelsea at -1.5, they start with a disadvantage of -1.5 goals. You win your bet if Chelsea win by two or more clear goals. However, if they lose or the game ends in a draw, your bet is lost.

Asian Handicap Chart

In the table below, you can find how every type of Asian Handicap is settled. It is worth checking the table before placing your bet.

Asian Handicap Table

Benefits of Asian Handicap Betting

Asian handicap is a more advanced option for punters that allows minimizing the risk of losing their bet compared to the usual money line betting market. It also reduces the number of possible match outcomes, removing the draw. For certain handicaps, you can even win despite the team losing the game - you just need to have a suitable amount of goals scored.

Asian Handicap FAQ

What does Asian handicap mean?

Asian handicap is a type of handicap betting that involves assigning the goal difference for the favourite team. To win this bet, the team you are betting on needs to win by a certain number of goals.

What is the difference between a handicap and Asian handicap?

There are some differences between a handicap bet and an Asian handicap. One of them is that Asian handicap bets use half line and quarter line bets that regular handicap bets do not. Both, however, use whole line bets. Also, Asian handicap bets offer just two possible outcomes, as opposed to regular handicap bets that offer three possible results.

How is Asian handicap calculated?

Asian Handicap bets are calculated to level the odds to around Evens to balance out the winning chances of two opponents playing each other.

Which sports are the best for Asian handicap?

Asian handicaps cover many sports but two of the most popular are Football and Rugby because of the often close score lines in games and the chance of there being a draw.

What does 0.75 mean in Asian handicap?

A 0.75 Asian handicap is a quarter line bet. You can bet on a team at -0.75, where you’d need them to win the game, or +0.75, where you’d need them to win the game, or draw. If they lose by just one goal, your bet is divided, so you receive a return on one half of the bet and lose on the other half.

What does asian lines mean in betting?

“Asian lines” is essentially just another name for the asian handicap.

What is Asian Goal Line?

An Asian goal line bet, in essence, forecasts the number of goals that will be scored in a specific football match. The key distinction between Asian goal lines and Over/Under bets is that Asian goal lines provide you with the option to wager on quarter, half, or full goals as well as the chance to have your wager returned.