Betting Guides

What is Asian Handicap Betting?

By Dean Smith

Asian handicap explained

Published: 20:29, 30 May 2023 | Updated: 11:42, 18 December 2023

Many punters will have heard the name Asian handicap betting. It’s commonly used in football, giving one side an advantage at kickoff. Unlike European handicap betting, which is the 1X2 style, Asian handicaps bet to full, half and quarter points, eliminating the draw from the final equation. If you would like to know more about how Asian handicaps work and how you can benefit from them, scroll down.

How Asian Handicap Works

As mentioned above, the most significant difference is that a draw is not possible in an Asian handicap which is very different to the European style of 1X2 betting that most UK punters use. Asian Handicaps use as little as a quarter, so a team might be given a +0.25 goal lead at the start of a game.

Bets can win, lose and push, as well as half-win and half-lose. Half-goal betting means there will always be a clear winner, making them the easiest place to start. For example, if you back a team -0.5, all they have to do is win the match to land your bet.

Double and split handicaps become more complex as your stake is split into two different outcomes – we’ll cover this a little further down the page when we discuss types of Asian handicap bets.

asian handicap calculator

Brief History of Asian Handicap

Originally from Indonesia, where it is known as hang cheng betting, it was westernised as simply Asian handicap betting back in the late 1990s. The term is believed to have been coined by Joe Saumarez Smith, the current Chair of the British Horseracing Authority. They have quickly become popular with UK punters, opening up a different betting style.

Advantages of Asian Handicap Betting

The most significant advantage of Asian handicaps is the removal of the draw. With most betting on football, we are used to three possible outcomes. This makes Asian handicaps easier to win with fewer possibilities and can increase profits in the long run for those who put the time and study in. They are still available on every game, so there is no loss in betting options if you are interested in using them. 

Types of Asian Handicap Bets

There are three types of Asian handicap bets. Single, double and split. Single is the easiest where there is just a single line, say -0.5, for example. This is fundamentally the same as backing a team to win.

Double uses half numbers but with your stake split between the two outcomes. For example, Liverpool at home to Manchester United might have a double handicap of 0 and -0.5. If you’re backing Liverpool, half your stake is a bet on 0 and a half on -0.5. This means that if Liverpool wins the game, both your bets win. If they draw, you receive your stake back on the 0 line and lose the -0.5. If Liverpool loses, then both bets lose.

Split Asian handicap betting has the same concept as doubles insomuch as your stake is split in two, but they use quarter numbers. So using the above, Liverpool might be -0.25 and -0.75 instead, eliminating any push, and it is a straight win-or-loss scenario. 

How to Read & Interpret Asian Handicap Odds

Once you get used to them, Asian Handicap odds become second nature. The easiest way to explain them is to compare them to what we are used to as UK punters.

A close game may have a handicap of 0. This is like a draw no bet, so a draw would see a push and stake returned while either team winning would result in a win or loss for your bet.

-0.5 would be like betting on a team to win a game outright. Any victory will cover the line; conversely, betting on +0.5 is equivalent to a double chance bet. A win for your team or a draw lands you the money.

The others, -1.5, for example, are a bit easier to understand. A team must win by two clear goals for this to be covered, the same as a European handicap. A 2-0, 3-1 or 4-2 etc, is required to win the bet.

Best Asian Handicap Betting Sites

If you want to start betting on Asian handicaps, then you need to be going to the right bookmakers. It’s fair to say that bet365 and their football offering are about as strong as it gets. No surprise then that they are also an excellent bookmaker to start betting on Asian handicaps with. 

The Betfair Exchange is also excellent for Asian handicap markets. As with all things exchange related, it is easier to find a true price here which means price comparison with bookmakers is easy. 

Parimatch is another well worth mentioning as their Asian handicap offering is one of the best out there. In addition, they boast many different lines on the games on offer, which allows punters plenty of freedom and options to play with.

Strategies for Asian Handicap Betting

With all betting, the key strategy is to ensure you are keyed up on all the statistics and facts heading into the game. Finding the right match for an Asian handicap bet is essential. Some games will see a hot favourite having to give such a big start to an underdog that it makes more sense to back with the handicap in your favour.

Odds change quickly with Asian handicap betting, so if you find a bet at a line and price you like, lock it in quickly. Many professionals enjoy these markets, so you could follow the smart money. Of course, this would mean lesser returns as the odds shorten, but market movers are just as important here as they are in horse racing. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Asian handicaps are a niche market. Now that you have a better sense of how they work, you must put the time and study into games before betting on the markets. All gambling is best done with plenty of analysis of the teams playing. How are the teams performing? Are they missing any key players etc? Always research your bets thoroughly and never chase losses – please gamble responsibly.