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What is Asian Handicap?

What is Asian Handicap?

Asian handicap is the most common type of bet and usually used by more experienced punters. The earlier you will start using Asian handicap, the quicker you will notice a difference to your betting bank growth.
Asian handicap is usually known for very tight margin. What is margin? If you don’t know what it is, just click here.
Term “Asian handicap” was invented by journalist Joe Saumarez Smith who at the time was writing about gambling for English and American press.
In the end of 1998, he was contacted by Indonesian bookmaker Joseph Phan, who was setting up first online bookmaker website in Asia. Joseph Phan had created a betting market type with ¼ goals called “hang chen”, but he needed term understandable for the rest of the world. After Phan’s explanation, it looked like a handicap system to Mr. Smith and his reply was simple: “Asian handicap”. At this time in Europe, no one knew about this type of betting but it got accepted quite quick and at the moment is the most popular betting market type.

Asian handicap will attract most money in the match markets because it gives more betting options if a very strong team is playing much weaker team and gives safer or more aggressive choice for punter or bookmaker.

Not many punters will be interested betting on home team priced at 1.2-1.3 (unless they are mugs and do combos). At the same time, not many punters will choose team priced at 4.0 and above as chances are slim of them winning. The best option is to give an advantage to one of the teams and offer odds close to even (1.95-1.96) on mostly balanced handicap (marked in red in the screenshot below). If you want a safer option, you can take ¼ of a ball in your favor and receive lower odds. If you are more confident about your pick, you can choose additional ¼ of the ball and get way bigger odds than evens.

You can see how odds are increasing/decreasing taking an additional quarter of the ball in the screenshot below. Worth noticing: the shorter the odds, the step down will mean smaller difference in odds (blue arrow). The bigger the odds, step up – will mean much higher odds (green arrow).

European handicaps have 1, 2 or 3 goals advantage (full goal). Asians created markets with a ¼ goal advantage, that’s why you will see teams given 0.75, 1.25 or 1.75 goal advantage.

How Asian handicaps are calculated? Basically, in football, every team is given goal expectancy for the game which also shows their strength. For example, Chelsea (1st in the league) is playing West Brom (17th in the league). Chelsea is expected to score 1.75 goals and West Brom is expected to score 0.5. Now we know that according to calculations Chelsea is 1.25 goal stronger than West Brom and the sum of both teams goals is 2.25. Most balanced Asian handicap will be -1.25 for Chelsea and most balanced total goals line 2.25. For most balanced lines you will get odds close to 2.0 on Asian handicap (1.95-1.97). On the same market with European handicaps usually, you will get odds closer to 1.85-1.87 (bookmakers apply bigger margin here).

So how 2.25 goals can be scored in the game? It can’t. It just means that your stake is split in half, and half of the stake is placed on over 2.0 goals and another half on over 2.5 goals. How come we have 2.0 and 2.5?

From an original line of 2.25, you need to remove quarter (-0.25) for the first bet and to add quarter (+0.25) to original line for the second bet.

In this case, you won’t lose all stake even if the game ends with 2 goals – this part of the bet is void/returned. Another part of the bet is lost. Taking safer option you will lose only half of the stake if the game ends with 2 goals. Obviously, odds will be according to the possibility of the outcome – but Asian handicap gives you more options.

Asian handicap betting for match winner market reduces the possible number of outcomes from three (in traditional Win/Draw/Win wagering) to two by eliminating the draw outcome. This simplification delivers two betting options that theoretically each have a near 50% chance of success.

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