Jason Ence has been giving betting and fantasy advice for nearly a decade, and is extremely familiar with the Premier League, Serie A, and the Champions League. He is a strong advocate for responsible betting and bankroll management, and always recommends utilizing multiple sports books in order to shop for the best lines in order to maximize your bankroll.
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Jelena Kabic is a sports betting writer that focusses on responsible gambling. A psychologist by vocation, Jelena volunteered in a rehab facility, where she worked with gambling addicts. She now reviews all our content to ensure it discusses betting in a socially responsible way.
27 days ago
Asian Handicap Soccer Betting Explained (With Examples)
Asian Handicap Examples & Expert Tips
One of the more unique aspects of soccer betting is the Asian handicap bet.
It’s a wager that allows you to eliminate the draw from the outcome by creating a spread, such as you see with basketball or American football.
While there are multiple types of Asian betting lines, the Asian handicap—sometimes referred to as the Asian Spread—deals only with the result of the match, rather than the total goals or corners in a particular fixture.
This guide will not only explain the ins and outs of Asian handicap soccer betting, it will provide you with examples as you learn all about this fun and exciting market!
What is Asian Handicap Betting?
The first thing to know when looking at Asian betting lines is the difference between the Asian handicap, and the Asian total—also known as the goal line—or Asian corner markets.
The Asian handicap is a spread-type wager that gives soccer bettors an option of picking an outcome without playing the 3-way line or a “draw no bet” wager. It typically will favour the team that is either better or in better form and utilizes fractions or half-numbers to result in a two-outcome play.
With an Asian handicap market, you’ll find teams either “giving” or “getting” a certain number of goals.
This can be either a full goal, a partial goal, or a mixture between the two.
The “spread” between the teams will be designated by a plus or minus number of goals, such as +0.5 or -1.5 goals.
In other words, for underdogs, you will add +0.5 goals to their final tally and if the number is higher than the total goals scored by the other team, you win the bet.
Following the same logic, you’ll take -0.5 from the favourite’s final tally and if they’re still ahead, your bet wins.
You can find conrete examples of how it works under our Value Bets section.
This indicates the handicap being applied to that side of the wager.
Many books also offer Asian spreads on corner kicks.
It’s a similar setup, where the team expected to take more corners will be “giving” corners such as -1.5 while the other team will “get” 1.5 corners.
Asian totals, or the “Over/Under” to many bettors, uses the same format but is a way to play the number of goals scored in a match.
How Does Asian Handicap Betting Work in Soccer?
Asian handicaps can be as low as +0.0 or -0.0, which indicates neither side is truly favoured aside from what the odds indicate.
Many books will offer the Asian handicap as high as -1.75 or +1.75, indicating nearly a two-goal spread between the sides.
That said, you’ll typically not see them that high.
The majority of Asian handicaps you’ll be wagering on will fall between 0.25 and 1.75 differentials.
This is because most soccer matches are league matches, and they typically don’t feature a side so heavily favoured that they’d be handicapped by two or more goals.
While spreads of half-goals can only have a winner and loser, such as -1.5, you can also have pushes for full goal handicaps.
If a team has an Asian handicap of -1 and they win by one goal, then the bet would push.
Meanwhile, fractional bets, such as -0.75, bridge the gap and get a bit trickier to navigate.
A fractional Asian handicap essentially splits your bet into two separate wagers that cover the half-goals on either side of the number offered.
A fractional bet will split the gap between a half-goal and a full goal, such as -0.75 splitting the difference between a -0.5 handicap and a -1.0 handicap.
Your bet will also be split between those two handicaps.
Why is this offered? Because soccer matches can often feature tight margins, and therefore handicaps of a half-goal or a full goal could be too juiced to be worth playing.
A great example of this is an upcoming Premier League fixture between Fulham and Everton.
When you look at the 3-way moneyline on Bet99, you’ll see that the two sides are fairly closely matched.
That’s why the spread of +0.5 for Everton would return just $5.30 profit on a bet of $10.
With both teams matched up fairly well, getting a half-goal for Everton makes it very likely you’d get a profit as you’d win with either an Everton victory or a draw.
That’s also why you’d enjoy a solid profit if you took Fulham -0.5 with a $10 bet returning $14.50 in profit.
That’s because the only way you win this bet is if Fulham wins outright.
A match like this is where I would likely look for a fractional handicap if wanting to bet on Everton. This lessens my exposure in terms of juice, while giving me a few more options.
When looking at the odds, fractional bets will be listed in one of two ways: either as a number ending in .25 or .75, or as the two actual bets you’re splitting.
A great example of this can be found at Betano.
As you see below, they’re offering Everton +0.25 at odds of 1.75 which returns $17.50 on a bet of $10 if you were to win.
But unlike Everton +0.5 you wouldn’t return a full win if the Toffees came away with a draw.
That’s because fractional bets aren’t just a straight wager. Rather, they’re actually two different bets!
How does this work? When you bet on a fractional handicap, you’re splitting your bet between the half-goal and full goal numbers.
Your bet gets split into two different wagers, with one half going onto the whole goal handicap and the other going onto the half-goal handicap.
This table helps show the difference between an X.25 handicap and an X.75 handicap:
|(X.0 to X.5)
|(.5 to X.0)
In this instance, let’s say Everton wins 2-1 and you took Everton +0.25 at 1.75 odds.
Your $10 wager would see $5 placed on Everton +0.0, which wins because Everton won the match.
Were they to draw, that bet would push, and an Everton loss would see you lose that wager.
For the other bet, you’d be placing $5 on Everton +0.25 which would also obviously hit as Everton won the match.
However, had they drawn you would still win that $5 bet, and you’d win half your overall bet with the other half pushing.
So you’d return a profit of $3.75 overall. Had Everton lost, you’d lost this half as well.
But let’s say instead you took Fulham -0.25 at 2.12 odds and the match ended 1-1.
Your $10 bet would be split. The first bet of $5 would be a winner on Fulham +0.0, as they won outright.
A draw would make this a push, while a Fulham loss would see it graded a loser.
The other bet of $5 on Fulham -0.5 would also cash, as they won the match outright.
A draw would see you lose the bet, as would an Everton win.
Bet365 offers both a main Asian handicap for this match, as well as alternate Asian handicaps. Let’s take a look at the example below.
The base Asian handicap for this match is 0.0 due to how closely matched the sides are.
When you have a handicap of 0.0, it’s the equivalent of a “draw no bet” wager, and will typically have the same odds.
But looking further down the page, you’ll see quite a few alternative Asian handicap plays.
This includes a 0.0, +0.5 bet for Everton with 1.725 odds.
This means a $10 bet returns $17.25, which is still a bit juiced but not nearly as much as the +0.5 handicap.
If you wanted to be bold and felt like Fulham would win the match by multiple goals, this is where Asian handicaps can prove particularly profitable.
You could take Fulham -1.0 for example, and a multi-goal win against Everton would see you return a profit of $29 on a $10 wager.
Were they to win by just one goal, you would push the bet and your stake would be returned. I’ll dive into this more in-depth later in the guide.
Let’s look at another example from bet365 for an upcoming match between Liverpool and Chelsea.
Liverpool is favoured to win the match, and bet365 is giving them a handicap of -0.75 goals.
That’s why they show both the -0.5 and -0.75 lines.
If you were to place a $10 wager to win $18.20, your bet would be split into two equal $5 wagers—one on Liverpool to win by 0.5 goals and another for them to win by a full goal.
Let’s say Liverpool wins the match by a final score of 1-0.
With the handicap of -0.5, you would still get a win as Liverpool would win 0.5-0 and therefore you’d return a profit of $4.10 on your first $5 bet.
However, Liverpool would draw with Chelsea after the -1.0 handicap was applied, as they won by just one goal.
This means you would push the other $5 bet, and that stake would be returned.
Thus, you’d get a “half win” as it’s routinely called.
On the flip side, you could also take Chelsea +0.75, which would pay out $20.80 across your wagers should Chelsea get a draw or a win.
However, if they lost 1-0 as I discussed, then you would see the inverse of the Liverpool bettor.
Your first $5 play on Chelsea +0.5 would lose, as the score would still be 1.0-0.5 after the handicap is applied.
But the +1.0 handicap would make it a 1-1 scoreline, and therefore your second $5 bet would be graded as a push.
In the end, you’d lose $5 and get your other $5 returned, thus getting a “half loss” result.
I said earlier that most matches wouldn’t have extremely large handicaps, but they do happen from time to time.
Nottingham Forest hosting Arsenal is a perfect example, as it’s a fixture between a side in the relegation scrap against a side contending for the Premier League crown.
As you can see here, the odds at bet365 are quite prohibitive for those simply wishing to bet on the Gunnars to win, with odds of 1.44 on offer.
But if I go over to their Asian handicap offering, the return on our stake gets much higher as they’re offering Arsenal -1.25, or -1.00,-1.50, at 1.99 odds.
But if you’re like me, and you think Arsenal are going to win by even more goals, you’re going to want to look at the alternate Asian spread market as well.
Arsenal -1.5 has odds of 2.15, meaning you’d profit $11.50 on a wager of $10.
They’re also getting 2.425 odds on a handicap of -1.75 and 3.10 odds on a handicap of -2.0 which are both terrific values.
Matches like these, where there is a significant gap in the talent and one side is heavily favoured, can see alternate spreads as high as -3.0 on offer.
Just like the smaller handicaps, the same rules apply.
If you take Arsenal -1.5 then they must win by two or more goals for you to win your bet.
Anything less, such as a 3-2 win or a draw, and you will lose your wager.
Going further, let’s say you took Arsenal -1.75 for a bigger reward and they won by a final score of 3-1.
Half of your bet was on Arsenal -1.5, and that wins as they covered that spread.
However, the other half of your wager would be returned, as Arsenal -2.0 would be a push with a 3-3 score after the handicap is applied.
If you take Nottingham Forest +1.25, or +1.0,+1.25 as bet365 lists it, then you need Forest to either win, draw, or lose by only one goal to make a profit.
If they win or draw then your bet comes back as a winner on both halves of your stake, whereas a one-goal loss would again see you win the +1.5 half of your wager, and push the +1.0 portion.
Below are two tables that will help illustrate fully the different options available with betting Asian handicaps.
These tables present examples of the outcomes for both the favourites as well as the underdogs, for fractional lines between 0.25 and 1.75 with a $10 wager at 1.91 odds.
|Betting the favourite
|Score (favourite – Underdog)
|$10 bet on favourite returns:
|1-1 or 0-1
|1-1 or 0-1
|3-2 or 0-1
|Betting the Underdog
|Score (favourite – Underdog)
|$10 bet returns
(0 to +0.5)
(0.5 to +1.0)
|1-1 or 0-1
|+1.25(+1.0 to +1.5)
|1-1 or 0-1
|+1.75(+1.5 to +2.0)
|3-2 or 0-1
Betting on Asian handicaps can be tricky, but once you learn how the fractional bets work and begin to grow accustomed to the math it can be a great way to find value in the soccer betting market.
What Bet Types Have Asian Handicaps?
Many different types of bets utilize Asian handicaps, and many are similar to what you already can play with soccer markets.
The bets that we’ve discussed have all been full-match handicaps, with the result after 90 minutes determining the winning and losing sides.
These bets do not include extra time in the case of knockout fixtures.
But did you know you can also play Asian handicaps on first-half results as well?
Many books offer this for larger leagues, such as the Premier League.
Let’s go back to bet365 and look at that Liverpool vs Chelsea fixture again.
Liverpool are favoured to win this match on the Asian handicap, with their main line being offered at -0.75 goals.
As such, that means they’re also favoured to win the first half.
That’s why bet365 is offering their handicap at -0.25 for the first 45 minutes, with Chelsea getting +0.25 goals.
But when a match is expected to be close to even, like with Fulham vs Everton, then it makes sense the first-half handicap would also be even.
That’s what you have as well at bet365.
As I mentioned earlier, the handicap of 0.0 goals is essentially an alternative to the “draw no bet” wager, and it has the same odds for this fixture.
In the intro, I touched on the fact that some books will also offer Asian handicaps on corner kicks.
You won’t see this market for all matches, and it’s a very hit-or-miss market.
That’s because it’s a much harder one to predict, as many unpredictable factors can impact the outcome.
This includes events such as red cards and injuries, or the favourite scoring multiple goals early in the match.
As such, I don’t typically recommend playing this market.
How Odds Change With This Handicap?
Like any bet you make on any sporting event, no matter if it’s a game bet or a prop bet, the odds are based on the probability of a given outcome.
Asian handicap bets are no different.
The benefit of limiting your exposure and playing in the margins outside the 3-way line can come at a cost.
As you saw with the Fulham vs Everton match, you pay a hefty premium for taking Everton +0.5 goals versus playing them to win outright or playing the draw.
But Asian handicaps also give you an opportunity to still bet on the favourite, without having to risk the amount you would on a straight 3-way line.
Take our previous example with Arsenal.
The odds of a 3-way win for the Gunners at bet365 was 1.44, meaning you’d have to risk $10 just for a $4.40 profit.
Using the Asian handicap allows you to use your knowledge to get a better price, while still backing the favourite—or back the underdog to keep things close without having to bet on both the win and the draw.
Let’s head back to Betano and look at the Liverpool vs Chelsea odds.
Liverpool are clearly favoured here, while Chelsea is getting 4.70 odds to win and 4.30 odds to draw.
But perhaps you think they’ll lose by only one goal? Well, betting on either the draw or Chelsea win does you no good.
That’s where the Asian handicap comes in.
For those who believe Liverpool will win by multiple goals, they can back that outcome and get a much better price than simply betting on the Reds to come out on top.
A bet on Liverpool -1.5 provides a profit of $13.50 from a $10 play—nearly three times what you’d return from simply betting them to win!
Conversely, a bet on Chelsea +1.0 would allow you to cover both the draw and the win, with a one-goal defeat simply returning your stake.
However, you’d get a much lesser return than if you bet on one of the results outright.
This is the give-and-take with the Asian handicap.
When you back a favourite to cover a handicap and do more than simply win, you can improve the odds in your favour.
However, you may end up losing even if they come out on top.
A 2-1 win for Liverpool would see you lose had you taken the -1.5 handicap, for example.
But you’d have less risk in that scenario than if you had bet $20 on Liverpool to win outright, trying to chase the meager margins that came with it.
Is Asian Handicap Worth Betting?
Betting on the Asian handicap can be worth it, in the right situations.
Fractional bets, for example, are a solid way to limit risk while still allowing yourself the opportunity to make profit.
Taking an underdog at +0.75 allows you to get a win should they lose by just one goal, albeit only a half-win.
But it also allows you to return half of your stake should they lose 3-2, which presents less risk than betting on the draw outright.
The Asian handicap also lets you capitalize on your knowledge of a particular fixture, including understanding how the managers will set up their teams and how the tactical matchups may play out.
If Manchester City is playing at home against a lower-tier side, I know that Pep Guardiola’s team is going to likely face a bunkered-in defense.
I also know that once they get that first goal, more will come as the other team sees their plan fail and is forced to come out of their shell.
That presents me an opportunity to make money from the handicap.
Betting them outright to win would be very risky, as they’d likely have prohibitive odds. But banking on them doing what they often do, and steamrolling a side once they break through, would let me get a much better profit by playing a bolder handicap of -2.5 for example.
There are always cons to betting on the handicap, as well.
As I mentioned earlier, let’s say you bet on Liverpool with a -1.5 Asian handicap, and they only win by a single goal.
You would’ve had profit, even if it was a smaller amount, had you simply played them on the 3-way line.
But by taking the handicap, you’ve now lost your wager in full even though you had the right team winning.
And as I discussed earlier, the odds of a return on betting on an underdog can be drastically reduced.
Taking an underdog on the Asian handicap in a tightly contested fixture can see a far lesser return than betting on them outright.
It’s the price you pay for limiting the variance and your exposure to risk.
As with any soccer bet, I always say a bet is worth it in the right situation.
Leverage your knowledge, look for expected value, and play the Asian handicap when the situation calls for it.
Should Beginners Bet With a Handicap?
The great thing about the Asian handicap is that it’s something both beginners and experienced bettors can take advantage of.
For those starting out in soccer betting, Asian handicaps can provide a way to get a feel for betting on the sport while limiting their risk and negating some of the variance that comes with soccer gambling.
Experienced bettors can also take advantage of Asian handicaps, allowing themselves the opportunity to go after more profit while still providing the opportunity to push on bets.
The 3-way money line doesn’t offer this type of betting, and markets such as Double Chance typically provide somewhat punitive odds for having that security blanket.
Asian handicaps can present a better way to bet on lopsided soccer matchups, which is what makes it a terrific alternative to simply playing the 3-way money line.
Whether you’re just starting out, or you’re like me and have been betting on the sport for more than a decade, the Asian handicap is something everyone can utilize to expand their betting opportunities.
Is Asian Handicap Available for All Soccer Games?
The Asian handicap is not available for all soccer games.
In fact, it’s typically only available for bigger leagues and tournaments. This is due to a few factors.
First, smaller leagues often have less information available for the general public.
This means people with more information, or even inside information, can take advantage of these matches.
As such, many books limit their exposure by sticking to more basic markets.
Secondly, most books will dedicate their oddsmaking resources to matches with more traffic and handle.
You’re not likely to find many people betting on Italy’s Serie B matches, so it doesn’t make sense for Betano or Bet99 to put out a plethora of betting lines for those fixtures.
Even for matches with Asian handicaps, not all books offer anything beyond a simple spread. Bet99 is a prime example.
They typically offer a spread market for all Premier League matches, but they don’t always provide alternate Asian handicaps.
If you look at their odds for Fulham vs Everton or even Liverpool vs Chelsea, they only offer a handicap of either -0.5 for the favourite or +0.5 for the underdog.
But if you look at their offerings for the FA Cup fixture between Tottenham and Manchester City, there are alternate handicaps available for you to play.
What does +1.5 Asian handicap mean?
The +1.5 Asian handicap means the side you’re betting on is the underdog and is being given a handicap of 1.5 goals. In other words, you will add 1.5 goals to their final tally and if the number is higher than the total goals scored by the other team, you win the bet.
For example, if you bet on Team A +1.5 and they lose 2-1, then Team A would win 2.5-2.0 once the handicap was applied.
What does -0.5 Asian handicap mean?
The -0.5 Asian handicap means the side you’re betting on is favoured, and they’re giving up half a goal to their opponent as a handicap. Therefore, you would subtract 0.5 goals from your team’s total once the final whistle blows, and if your team is still ahead you would win the wager. Taking the other side, or Team B +0.5, is essentially the same as playing the double-chance on Team B.
So if you bet on Team A -0.5 and they win the match, you would win as you’d still be ahead by at least a half goal no matter what. But if they were to draw or lose, you would lose the wager.
What is +0.75 Asian handicap in soccer?
The +0.75 Asian handicap indicates you’re placing two half-wagers on the underdog, with one being a +0.5 bet and the other being a +1.0 bet. Were the underdog to lose by exactly one goal, you would win half the bet and push the other half.
Were they to win or draw, you would win both halves of the bet.
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