Handicap Betting & Asian Handicaps Explained

Handicaps are used for two main reasons: to offer slightly different types of bet and to even out the odds where one side is a clear favourite and so the odds would be too short to attract much interest.

Handicap betting is very popular but some beginners may be unsure exactly how they work so if you’re not up to speed with your Asian handicaps or what handicaps of 0 actually means then we’ve got all the information you need to broaden your football betting horizons!

What is Handicap Betting?

Handicap betting is where the bookies give one side a notional handicap, thus giving the other a head start. For example, if Newcastle play at home against Fulham, the bookies may offer odds where Newcastle have a one goal disadvantage, written as Newcastle -1, Fulham +1.

In this instance if you back Newcastle they need to win by two goals or more for your bet to win, whilst a one goal victory would mean those backing a draw would win, and a draw or a Fulham triumph would make a bet on Fulham +1 a winning wager.

In a standard handicap the handicap is always a whole goal amount (so one, two, three or more goals) and you will always have the option to back a draw. Asian handicaps, whilst slightly more complex, are a lot more interesting and offer many more options, as we will explain below.

Asian Handicap Betting

Asian handicaps only offer two options, so in the example above it would be Newcastle to win or Fulham to win. They were created, as the name suggests, in Asia, bettors in that region, as in North America, not keen on the concept of the draw in betting.

The draw is eliminated either by use of part-goals, for example handicaps of -0.5, or through the use of the push, which means that a “draw” is a win for neither and results in your stake being returned, effectively as with a void bet.

You can still get Asian handicaps of +1/-1 but in this instance a one goal win for the favourite leads to a push and the stake is returned. There is also an Asian handicap market of a zero handicap and in this instance if the game ends in a draw, the zero handicap means there is, again, a push. This market is the same as the “draw no bet” market.

In a similar way, Fulham +0.5 is the same as the double chance bet “Fulham or the draw”. Other Asian handicap bets also equate to the same things as other football betting markets, for example Newcastle -2.5 is the same as a winning margin bet on Newcastle to win by three or more goals.

Bookies will sometimes offer different odds in the different markets, even though they amount to the same thing and so it’s always worth checking and being aware of the Asian handicap equivalent of other markets.

Split Handicaps

Split Asian handicaps can often confuse people but in truth they are quite simple once you get to grips with them. You may see a handicap written as +0.75 or +0.5, +1. These are the same thing and indeed any quarter point handicap or handicap that features two numbers a half goal apart are the same thing – a split Asian.

So, an Asian of Fulham +1.5, +2.0 (or +1.75 at some bookies) is a split bet, with half your stake going on +1.5 and half going on +2.0. In order to win both bets you need Fulham to lose by a goal or less, draw or win. If they lose by two goals, you lose the +1.5 half of your bet whilst the +2.0 is a push as the notional scores would be level.

Handicap Betting Conclusion

Handicaps and Asian handicaps offer great opportunities to add depth and different options to your football betting. Once you grasp the concept they are simple to understand and they allow you to back options you may not otherwise be able to cover, whilst also adding more interest – and often better odds – to games that could otherwise be one-sided.

It’s also worth knowing that because the Asian gambling market is very competitive, many bookies have very low margins – and thus high odds – on their Asian handicaps.