Asian Handicap – Sports Betting Strategy

An Asian handicap is a form of sports betting strategy on soccer. Instead of traditional betting markets that offer odds on both sides and odds for the match to draw, the Asian handicap is a point spread hybrid wager, which is similar to most North American betting markets. Asian handicap wagering originated in Indonesian betting markets at the turn of the century and has since increased in popularity with the proliferation of online sports betting.

The term “Asian handicap” was popularized by British Journalist, Joe Smith when he asked an Asian bookmaker to provide a translation of ‘hang cheng betting. The biggest draw of Asian handicap betting is that it simplifies soccer wagering, which happens to be the most wagered sport in the world. Instead of three possible outcomes, Asian handicaps offer two betting options, both of which are close to a 50% probability of winning.

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Asian Handicap Betting – Explained

Unlike most other sports, particularly American-based sports, soccer is one of the few sports where ties or draws are a routine outcome. However, when betting an Asian handicap, the tie is taken off the table. It’s easy to see why this form of betting has become so popular. Betting on a match to draw isn’t particularly appetizing to most sports bettors. It’s also especially frustrating when your pick on a home or away side ends in a draw.

Asian handicaps have taken a page from American betting markets and are similar to point spread wagers on football and basketball. Although, their closest cousin to American sports betting may be puck line and run line markets, in hockey and baseball, respectively. The goal of the bookmaker when offering an Asian handicap is to create odds between the favorite and the underdog to level the playing field between the two sides; that is expressed in goals. The team that is favored will be laying points or goals while the underdog is getting points or goals.

Asian handicaps begin with a quarter goal line but can go as high as 2.5 or 3 goals depending on how far apart the sides are regarding skill. With quarter goals, pushes are rare in Asian handicap markets but are still possible if the handicap doesn’t have a 0.25 or .5 attached and is a round number. Asian handicaps are highly predictive markets. The match total, along with the handicap, gives us the best barometer of the game and is usually the closest estimate to the final score.

Soccer Asian Handicap Bet Example

This an example of an Asian handicap between two premier league teams. Manchester United is the favorite, which is signified by the: (-0.5). Chelsea is the underdog and is getting a half a goal, which is expressed as (+0.5).

Manchester United (-0.5) 1.95

Chelsea (+0.5) 1.95

Since Man United starts with a half-goal handicap, they must win the match outright and by one goal or more for you to win your bet. Chelsea can either win the match or tie for Blues’ backers to win their bet. Remember, since the handicap is Chelsea +0.5, if the score ended in a 1-1 draw, the extra half point would give Chelsea the win. As mentioned above, it’s vital to note that if this game had a handicap of 1.0 or 2.0 goals a push would be in play. In this case, if the favorite won by exactly one or two goals, depending on the handicap, stakes from both sides would be returned.

The above odds are listed in decimal odds format, which is the standard for betting markets across Europe. These odds converted into moneyline format come out to -108. That’s lower than the standard -110 vig charged on most sides and totals.

Profitability In Soccer Handicap Sports Betting

Building on the above example, most Asian handicaps markets offer considerably less vigorish than other major markets. Instead of taking lopsided action on a particular side, the Asian handicap allows bookmakers to facilitate balanced action on both sides.

soccer bettingBecause the action is generally more balanced, this allows bookmakers to take in a larger amount of money on these markets. Their commissions are lower than other higher vigorish markets, but the increase in action usually makes up for the decrease in vig. Of course, low vig markets are something we should targeting as sports bettors, making Asian handicaps markets to target if you’re betting soccer. They’re almost always going to have less vig than traditional 1X2 markets, also known as match betting.

The savings can be substantial. Many match betting markets operate with 10% vig or more while Asian handicaps operate as low as a 3% vig at some sites. Over the long term, this will save bettors tens of thousands. Overall, Asian handicaps will offer you the best bang for your buck when betting on soccer.

Asian Handicap Strategy

Like many North American markets, gamblers have a tendency to wager more on favorites than underdogs. This is also true in Asian handicap markets. Many see the top clubs across Europe and are enamored that they can lay just one goal. This pushes a lot of money on favorites, which is a bias that both the public and oddsmakers both seem to have.

It’s important to remember when betting Asian handicaps that the vast majority of managers aren’t out to embarrass their opponents. Once they get a lead, and the victory is in hand, most won’t continue to press. This allows teams that have lost the game to score a late goal or two, which can sometimes be enough to turn a losing bet into a winning one. Or a winning bet, into a losing one, if you have the favorite.

We recommend bettors lean towards taking underdogs, but regardless of which side you decide to bet – Asian handicaps should be your first choice if you get the itch to bet soccer. You’re always going to get the best price compared to traditional markets, and you will only have to worry about two potential outcomes.