How to use Asian Handicap on sports betting

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We have the idea that, with a series of articles regarding matches, competitions, specific teams or news of the sporting world, we might somehow help the bettor to analyse the context he might be inserted on. In this article, I bring some specifics of the Asian Handicap market, what I think about it, in what situations I like to use it and how it works in practice.

What is the Asian Handicap?

The Handicap is basically a tool that the bookmakers utilize, to somehow balance the scale between teams, and also the odds.
For example, if Real Madrid faces Eibar in La Liga, we have the idea that the merengues are heavy favourites.

The bookmaker also believes that, and therefore, the odds for them to win are generally very low. For this, the handicap appears as a regulating agent, setting victory margins so that the forces are better balanced.

On this hypothetical scenario, I bring you an example of how the lines would move to try and somehow balance the encounter for bettors.

Odds for the simple result

• Real Madrid 1.30
• Draw 4.00
• Eibar 8.00

Odds with Handicap to regulate the market
• Real Madrid –2 1.90
• Eibar +2 1.90

Why does this happen? On the opinion of the bookmakers, due to several aspects, Real Madrid are heavy favourites.

Be it due to the potential of their roster, the head-to-head record between the teams, absences and reinforcements, where the match will be played, positions on the league table or any other aspect that might interfere on the teams’ performances.

On this hypothetical situation, so that our bet in favour of Real Madrid is a winner, they would have to win by 3 goals: 3-0, 4-1, 5-2…

In case they win by exactly 2 goals, our bet is void and our stakes is returned. And in case they win by 1 goal, draw or lose the match, whoever bet on Eibar wins.

Types of Asian Handicap

The handicap, as I’ve said previously, is the tool that is utilized to level the odds within a match. On the Asian Handicap, we have 3 different kind of lines: two-way handicaps, whole handicaps and quarter-goal handicaps.

• Two-way handicap

In this case, the lines are always split up, every time in fractions of 0.5.
Examples: -0.5, -1.5, -2.5 …
Real Madrid –1.5 vs Eibar +1.5

On this classic example, the odds suggest that, at the end of the match, we take from the final scoreline the amount of 1.5 (a goal and a half) from Real Madrid or add that same amount to the side of Eibar.

Since there is no half goal, or half point, the half line will always leave one of the teams in an advantage. If Real Madrid wins 2-0, by taking 1.5 goals from the final result, they would still win by “half a goal”.

According to that logic, whoever bets on Eibar should always root for them to lose by 1 goal maximum, so that they would also win by “half a goal” or more.

• Whole handicaps

As for this hypothetical scenario, the lines are placed as whole, always in fractions of 1.
Examples: 0.0,-1,-2,-3 …
Real Madrid –1 vs Eibar +1

On this situation, we won’t necessarily have a winner at the end of the match. If Real Madrid wins by 2 goals, we take 1 goal from them and they still win at the end.

If they win by 1 goal, the match finishes on a draw and our stake is returned by the bookmaker, because there is no draw on this situation. If we have a draw or a victory for Eibar, whoever made a bet on Eibar is a winner.


• Quarter-goal handicaps

This is the 3rd situation of the Asian handicap, and on this option, the lines are regulated by fractions of ¼.
Examples: Real Madrid –0.25 vs Eibar +0.25

Here it is a bit more complicated, especially for beginners. On this situation, it is as if we bet on two handicaps at the same time, on the two-way and on the whole.

I’ll explain: The -0.25 AH is like the 0.0/-0.5, staying between both lines, dividing the amount staked between the draw and Real Madrid’s victory. On a situation of -0.75, I would divide the value of the bet between -0.5 and -1.

On this case, of the -0.25, if the match finishes with a victory for Real Madrid, the bet is paid in full, because the bettor would win on the 0.0 and also on the -0.5.

In case they draw, half of the value would be void (0.0, because there was a draw and the line doesn’t discount any goal from Real Madrid) and the other half would be lost (-0.5, which demands the victory from Real Madrid, discounting “half a goal”, and giving the victory to Eibar).

And that’s how we should do the math for the subsequent lines, such as -0.75, -1.25, -1.75, etc.

How I like to use  the Asian Handicap

I’m using football as an example, but it is also possible to utilize that analysis on other sports.

Every time I place a bet, I understand that, in this case, I’m challenging the analysis of the bookmakers, and I bet on any odds that I think are “safer” so that my outcome is the correct one.

Safety is the right word here. Maybe the example of Real Madrid and Eibar is too extreme, so we’ll use a more balanced example.

On a match between Real Madrid and Barcelona, firstly I analyse where the match will be, the absences and if there is any conflicting competition. Generally, the odds are higher and “fairer”.

In this case, there is no reason to not bet on a winner. On one side we had CR7, on the other side we had Messi, so who would completely disregard the victory of one side or the other?

I prime for safety. If after my analysis, I think Real Madrid is the favourite, but there is a good chance of Barcelona balancing the match, I won’t take Real Madrid to win plainly.

asian 2

I’m looking for a safer line, that would possibly be the -0.25, because it protects half of my stake invested on the possibility of the draw and puts the other half straight on the victory.

If possible, I go on the 0.0 Asian Handicap, why? Even with a lower odd, still, I only lose my bet in case there is a disaster (according to my analysis), of Real Madrid losing that match.

Well, in my way of analysing, on that situation Real was the favourite, and I protected my stake in case of a draw.

How many times is the favourite priced at 2.50 and we are tempted to take a “big odd”? How many times does the match become difficult, the opposing team “finds” a goal and the draw strips you off a great amount of your bankroll?

I always prioritize safety, lines that protect my bet, or at least half of it. I feel more comfortable putting my money and in case the odd decreases, I increase the value I stake.

The Asian Handicap might be found on most bookmakers. Both the big ones as Bet365 and 1XBet as well as the smaller ones, with a positive increment in favour of the bookmaker.

There is no sure thing in terms of betting or in sports in general, but we have tools to decrease the margin for error, and little by little manage to be profitable amongst these markets.

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