Asian Handicaps

How Asian handicaps work and how to calculate your winnings.

SOCCER betting in Asia is different from betting anywhere else in the world. In the rest of the world you have three basic choices of betting on a game - bet on the home team to win, bet on the away team to win or bet on the game ending in a draw (tie). In Asia the bookmakers eliminate the draw, meaning there are only two choices to bet on in a soccer game.

The bookmakers eliminate the draw by giving the favourite team a handicap. This of course means that their opponents are given an advantage.

It's easiest to understand it by looking at an example:

Let's say Spain's Real Madrid have a match against Italy's AC Milan in the first round of the Champions League. The game is being played at Madrid's Bernebeau stadium. Real Madrid are hot favourites to win the game. So, the bookmakers give AC Milan a goal start to even up the two teams. This means that Real Madrid have to win by two goals for bettors on Real to win their bets. If the game ends as a draw then bettors on AC Milan will win, because with a goal handicap advantage, they win. If the game ends with Real winning 1-0 or 2-1 or 3-2 (or by any margin of one goal) then the game is a tie and stakes are returned to bettors on both sides.

In this example, the betting line might look like this:

  • Real Madrid/AC Milan 0 : 1 1.90 2.00

This could also be written like this:

  • Real Madrid (-1 goal) 1.90
  • AC Milan (+1 goal) 2.00

Bettors on Real Madrid get paid at odds of 1.90 on winning bets. This means that if they place a bet of $100 at 1.90 and win, they get paid $190 ($100 x 1.90).

Bettors on AC Milan get paid at odds of 2.00 on winning bets. This means that if they place a bet of $100 at 2.00 and win, they get paid $200 ($100 x 2.00).

BOOKMAKERS will change both the odds and the level of the handicap to reflect the amount of money bet on the game and also injury news and team selection. The handicap line is quoted in 'quarter ball' moves. So, in the example above, if Real Madrid announced that three key players had been injured they might move from one goal favourites (+1) to three-quarter goal favourites (+ ¾).

The odds for the game might now look like this:

  • Real Madrid/AC Milan 0 : ¾ 2.05 1.85

Which could also be written like this:

  • Real Madrid (-¾ goal) 2.05
  • AC Milan (+¾ goal) 1.85

The rules for how bets are paid off on games with ¾ ball handicaps (and also ¼ goal, 1 ¼ goal, 1 ¾ goal, 2 ¼ goal and 2 ¾ goal handicap games) are slightly different. In this example, let's say that Real Madrid wins the game 1-0. With AC Milan's ¾ goal start, the betting result is 1-¾. In this situation, bettors on Real Madrid win on 50% of their stake and have the other 50% returned. Bettors on Real Madrid lose half their stake and have the other 50% returned. Click here to see the payoff tables that shows what a bookmaker will pay in all situations.

This is how the payoffs work in more detail. Where it indicates that you win 50%, this shows that you win at full odds on 50% of the bet stake you have placed. So, if you have bet $1,000 on AC Milan at 1.85, you win $500 (50% of $1,000) times 1.90, giving a profit of $425, plus your $1,000 stake back for a total return of $1,425.

Where it indicates that you lose 50%, this means that you lose 50% of your stake. So, if you bet $1,000 and lose 50%, then your total return is $500, for a net loss of $500.

THE way betting lines are shown differs around Asia. For example, in Singapore a ¾ goal handicap will always be shown as ½, 1 ball. This is just a different way of writing the handicap line. It is written to show that half your bet is on a team with ½ a goal handicap and the offer half of your bet is on the team with a 1 goal handicap. There is no difference in how your bookmaker will pay you. Bet Asia shows the handicaps as ¾ goal after consulting numerous bettors around Asia.

For those who are not used to our system of showing these bets, here is the conversion:

  • ¼ is the same as 0, ½ ball
  • ¾ is the same as ½, 1 ball
  • 1 ¼ is the same as 1, 1 ½ ball
  • 1 ¾ is the same as 1 ½, 2 ball
  • 2 ¼ is the same as 2, 2 ½ ball
  • 2 ¾ is the same as 2 ½, 3 ball

Is Asian handicap a better system of betting than the system used elsewhere? Gamblers around the world argue about it. The chief advantage of Asian handicap betting is that it almost always offers bettors much more competitive odds than fixed odds betting. That means that you're more likely to win betting on Asian handicaps. Most sophisticated gamblers think that using a combination of the two betting systems is the best way forward as both have different advantages.