Have you ever looked at the sports betting markets and wondered what an Asian Handicap is? Well, this guide will help you through the complexities of this bet type, which is actually quite straightforward and useful for punters betting on uneven fixtures.
In this guide, we explain Asian Handicap to you so that you can become an expert at the betting method. We have also created a guide to football betting terms if you feel like you need to learn more about those before the more complex Asian Handicap.
What is Asian Handicap?
Before we start, please be advised that Asian handicap is an advanced bet type. If you are struggling with more basic betting concepts, we recommend going through our guides on how to bet on sport, then coming back to this later.
Asian Handicap is a type of bet used across many sports in order to even out the imbalance that two teams facing each other may pose. For example, in the FA Cup we see plenty of small teams drawn against Premier League giants each season. If Southampton were to play Newport the betting odds would be greatly skewed in the Saints’ favour. Their odds would be tiny. And that makes betting on Southampton to win, draw or lose — often termed the 1X2 bet type — not very tempting. What the Asian Handicap does is balance those odds by offering to even out the scoreline.
The Asian Handicap levels the odds of both teams towards Evens, so the winning probability for either bet is closer to 50%. This is done by posing a handicap on a team winning or losing by ‘adding to’ or ‘subtracting from’ their final goals tally. The big difference is you can win your stake back if a team does not exceed or fall below your handicap mark.
One of the big reasons punters like to bet on football with Asian Handicap markets is because your stake is more easily covered. This is because a draw is very much a possibility, meaning there are three realistic outcomes to a game. The Asian Handicap effectively covers you for that middle outcome.
How does Asian handicap work?
Sport can throw up some fascinatingly equal contests. But quite often matches in the biggest professional sports such as football, tennis and NFL see vastly superior sides face inferior opponents. When this happens, the odds on the favourites to win are sometimes so small the potential returns are not worth the risk.
So bookmakers created the Asian Handicap to provide balance to an uneven match-up and give punters the opportunity to roughly follow a 1X2 model of betting.
Asian Handicap betting is similar to regular Handicap betting, in which a hypothetical advantage or disadvantage is given to one of the teams playing.
Asian Handicap Full lines
In a match between Tottenham and Crystal Palace, the odds are set at 1.30 for Tottenham to win, 5.50 for a draw and 9.00 for Crystal Palace. Tottenham are clear favourites and you’d think they will win comfortably. Asian Handicap betting makes it possible to raise the odds of a Tottenham win. You could instead bet on ‘Tottenham -1’, at odds of 1.80. In this scenario, you win the bet if Tottenham win with at least two goals. And you will lose it if they draw or lose. But crucially, if Tottenham win by 1 goal then you get your stake back.
And that last bit is why Asian Handicap betting is different to simple handicap betting.
Equally, if you bet on ‘Crystal Palace +2’ on the Asian Handicap market, you lose your bet if Palace lose by three or more goals. If they lose by two goals, you’ll get your money back and if they lose with a maximum of one goal, you’ll win your bet.
Another example of using Asian Handicap is when two even teams come together. If Chelsea were to play Tottenham, you can reduce the risk of a classic 1X2 betting model to two outcomes by playing on Asian Handicap 0. If the team you bet on wins the game then you’ll win. If the match ends in a draw, you’ll get your money back just like when you’re betting on ‘Draw no bet’.
What are Asian Handicap half and quarter lines?
Asian Handicap half lines
The lines above are called full lines, where the line you’re playing on is a whole number (eg. +/- 2 or 0). Yet Asian Handicap betting also offers bets on half and quarter lines.
Half lines differ from full lines as they hold values that end with .5 and range between +/- 0.5, 1.5, 2.5 and so on.
Asian Handicap betting with the half line +0.5 means that the team you bet on starts the match with a positive Asian Handicap value of a 0.5 goal lead. This means you win if the team you placed a bet on wins or if there’s a draw. If the team loses, you’ll lose your bet.
If you bet on +1.5, the team starts with a 1.5 goal lead. You win if the team you bet on either wins, there’s a draw, or they lose by a maximum of one goal. If the team loses by two or more goals, you’ll lose your bet. Asian Handicap betting with negative half lines give you the same situations but the other way around.
Asian Handicap quarter lines
Quarter lines differ from full lines and half lines, as they have values that end with .25 or .75 and range from +/- 0.25, 0.75, 1.25, 1.75 etc. The beauty of quarter lines is that your bet can be covered for certain outcomes but not to the extent of half lines, so the odds are usually greater.
Asian Handicap betting with the quarter line -0.25 means that you bet that a team with a negative Asian Handicap value starts the match with a disadvantage of -0.25 goals. This means you win if the team you bet on wins the match. If the team loses, you lose your bet and if the match ends in a draw you’ll get half of your stake back.
With the quarter line -0.75, the team you bet on will start the match with a disadvantage of -0.75 goals. You win if the team you bet on wins with at least two goals. If they win with one goal, your bet will be divided so you get the money back on one half of the bet, while you win on the other half of it. You lose the bet if the team loses or if the match ends in a draw. The situation will be reversed if you bet on a positive quarter line in Asian Handicap betting.
Check out our quick guide on Asian handicap lines for more examples.
Asian total betting explained
What is Asian total?
Asian total is Asian Handicap betting for total goals. It works in the same way as over/under betting, with the difference between the lines. You can bet on full, half and quarter lines from over/under 0.5, 0.75, 1, 1.25, 1.5 and so on.
Let’s use Manchester City vs Norwich as an example. If you bet on full lines in Asian total, for example over 1 goal, that means you win if the match contains at least two goals. If it turns out to be a goalless match, you lose your bet and if there’s one goal in the match, you’ll get your money back.
If you bet on under 1 goal for City vs Norwich, you win in a goalless match, get your money back at one goal and lose your bet if there’s two or more goals.
Asian total half lines
If you bet on half lines in Asian total, for example over 0.5 goals, there are only two possible outcomes – a win or a loss. You win your bet if the match contains at least 1 goal and lose if the match ends goalless. If you bet on under 0.5 goals, the payback will be reversed.
If you bet on quarter lines in Asian total, for example over 0.75 goals, your bet will win if the match contains at least two goals. If there’s only one goal you win on half the bet and if there’s a goalless match, you lose your bet. If you bet on under 0.75 goals, the payback will be reversed. You win your bet on a goalless match, on one goal you lose half the bet and on two or more goals you lose your entire bet.
If you want more advice on Asian Handicap betting, you can ask a question yourself in the Unibet Community.
Which sports are best for Asian Handicap?
Football is a straightforward sport to bet on when using Asian Handicap for the first time. That’s because a draw is a likely outcome, meaning some betting fans want to cover that potential result.
Sports like cricket and rugby do have the potential for draws but they are much rarer events, so the Asian Handicap is not really required.
Sports such as basketball and netball, which witness large points totals, cater strongly for Asian total betting markets.