Asian handicap explained – The basic’s
Asian Handicap unsurprisingly originally Asia (Indonesia to be precise), and has massively increased in popularity over the past 20 years across the globe.
The appeal of this market is mainly the fact that it acts as a leveller between teams/individuals in a given sporting event. Asian Handicap provides sports bettors with an opportunity that is seldom available on the traditional Home/Draw Away (1×2) market.
People who stumble across this market for the first time often think of it as a complicated market. Put off by the numbers and by having to work out what constitutes a winning bet with each Asian line. It’s worth understanding this market well if you’re looking to make a profit from sports betting.
Being able to find value when sports betting is vital when it comes to making a profit. The risk of finding value when using the 1×2 market is that if value happens to be an underdog priced at 13.00, the risk is high. Plus, it could take a while for your value to be actualised.
With Asian Handicap, because of the handicaps applied to the underdogs. The value you found can be paid out more frequently and more easily. Value is all about finding prices that are higher than they should be. With the Asian Handicap market, bookmakers can work from smaller margins, which makes it easier to find value bets.
There are three types of Asian Handicap ‘line’: Half Goal, Full Goal and Quarter Goal. They’re all straight forward enough to understand, and here is how each of them work:
This is the most straight forward type of line. Half goal handicaps are simple in the way that they will either win or lose. Backing a side -0.5 means they need to win for your bet to win, whilst backing a side +0.5 means your side needs to win OR draw for your bet to win – starting with a 0.5 goal head start. For more one sided games (say Barcelona v Espanyol), the line will be higher. Because Barcelona are expected to win very comfortably. Backing Barca in this instance could mean a price of 1.14 for them to win, but the Asian Handicap line would be set at say -2.5 (at a price of around 1.95-2.00). Now the bet is “Will Barcelona win by 3 or more goals”, if you think they will, back Barcelona -2.50. If you don’t think they will, back Espanyol +2.50.
This type of Asian Handicap is the same as the half goal, but has the potential that your full stake could be returned. The handicap applied will be a whole number: -0.00, -1.00, -2.00 etc. If you back the team with a -1.00 handicap, they are starting the game with a deficit of 1 full goal. This means that they’d need to win by 2 goals for your bet to win. However, unlike the half goal handicaps, should your team win by one goal, your stake would be returned. Similarly, if you backed a team +1.00 and they were to lose by one goal, your stake would be returned.
This is often where people are put off with the Asian Handicap market – because this seems confusing. “How can you have a quarter of a goal” they cry. The easiest way to think of a quarter goal handicap is that it will split your stake 50-50 with the closest full goal handicap and half goal handicap. For example, bet £100 on Man United -0.25 at home to Arsenal, and you’ve effectively placed £50 on Man United -0.00 and £50 on Man United -0.50. Should the game end a draw, you’d lose the -0.50 part of the bet, but have your money returned on the -0.00 part. If Man United win, then both parts of the bet will win.
With the elimination of the draw, it’s not hard to understand why professional sports bettors use this market almost exclusively. Along with the Under/Over, Asian Handicap constitutes a very large percentage of high stakes bets across the globe.
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