Asian Handicap

Betting Guide Extra: Handicap Markets

Handicap markets are a hugely popular market type for players, with the main aim of it to be level the playing field between a favourite and an underdog. It’s actually a market with one of the fairest prices too, with the highest average payout. There are two types of handicaps, the Asian Handicap and the European Handicap

Asian Handicap

Asian lines offer two prices, one price on each side, with a line set by the bookmaker. The original idea of Asian Handicaps were to offer prices that were around 50/50 on either side, though recently, you can bet on multiple different lines so prices vary a lot more. But it is still the case that the best and fairest odds, and usually the highest maximum bets, will be on what is called the main line, where the prices are closest to even money.

It’s worth noting that for some sports, particularly football, bets are settled based on regular time, and does not include extra time or penalties. But for most American sports, particularly those that cannot end in draws like basketball, baseball and American football, overtime (or extra innings) do count towards the final settlement.

x.5 lines

This is the simplest type of handicap, where your bet can only win or lose. The favourites of the game will have a negative value, whilst the underdogs will be a positive value. For example, lets say that Team A are playing against Team B in a basketball match. Team A are the much stronger team and the handicap is 8.5 points.

The prices on the moneyline/head to head market are likely to be something like this (decimal odds). If you want to bet on Team A to win the match, you’ll only be able to make a profit of $26 for every $100 you stake.

H2HOddsAsian LineOdds
Team A1.26Team A -8.51.93
Team B3.65Team B +8.51.81

But now look at the handicap line. Betting on Team A on the handicap actually works out to be a price of 1.93, meaning that you can actually make a $93 profit for every $100 – but how do you win?

Essentially, when you are betting on a favourite (a team with a negative handicap), you are betting on that side ‘beating’ or ‘overcoming’ the handicap. So, if the line is -8.5, you need that team to win by at least 9 points for your bet to win. But if they lose or draw the game, or win the game by 8 or fewer points, your bet will actually lose.

If you are betting on the underdog (the team with a positive handicap), then you are betting on that side ‘defending’ the handicap. So, if the line is +8.5, you simply need them to avoid losing by 9 or more. So, if they win or draw the game, or if they lose by 8 or fewer points, then your bet will win.

Put another way, you need to apply the handicap of the team you are betting on to the final score. Here, we have bet on Team A -8.5, and the final score was 120:105. After you apply the handicap, the final score becomes 115.5:105, and the score of the team you bet on is still higher than the opposition.

 Team ATeam B
 HCP-8.5 
Final Score120105
Score after HCP111.5105

In a parallel universe, we bet on Team B on the +8.5 handicap, and the final score of the game was 120:112. Because we bet on Team B, we add 8.5 to their score of 112, so the final score after the handicap is applied is 120:120.5 and that means Team B still wins the game after the handicap, so your bet will win.

 Team ATeam B
HCP +8.5
Final Score120112
Score after HCP120120.5

x.0 lines

Sometimes, the line can end in a zero rather than a point five. The rules of engagement are the still the same as above, but the main difference is that with a whole number, after the handicap is applied, its possible for the score to end in a draw. And in these instances, your bet is drawn and you end up getting your stake back without making a profit or loss.

H2HOddsAsian LineOdds
Team C1.40Team C -2.02.02
Team D3.05Team D +2.01.78

Here are the odds to a baseball match, where the handicap is 2.0. Lets say you want to bet on Team C here, and the match ends 5-3. Because you bet on Team C, you apply the -2 handicap to their score, making it 3-3 overall.

 Team CTeam D
HCP-2.0 
Final Score53
Score after HCP33

Because it ended as a draw after the handicap was applied, the bet is a draw, and you get your money back.

Split AH Lines

There is a third type of line, and its usually reserved for very low scoring sports, mainly football. In this example, the 1×2 odds and Asian Lines are like this:

1×2OddsAsian LineOdds
Team E1.10Team E -2.5, 32.04
Draw11Team F +2.5, 31.80
Team F30

This is an example of a split type handicap. You will notice that the line displays two different lines, 2.5 and a 3.0 line. What happens here is that half of your stake will go on the first handicap, and the other half will go on the second line. Essentially, if you’re betting on Team E, half of your stake will go on -2.5 line and half of your stake will go on the -3.0 line. Alternatively, if you want to bet on Team F, then half of your bet will go on the +2.5 handicap, and the other half will go on +3.0 handicap.

From the below table, you can see what happens according to each scoreline. If Team E wins by 4 or more goals, both of the bets win. If Team E wins by 2 or fewer goals (or draws the game or loses the game), both bets will lose.

But, if Team E wins by exactly 3 goals, then the -2.5 line will win, but the -3.0 will end in a draw. This outcome is sometimes called a ‘Half Win’.

 Team E by 5Team E by 4Team E by 3Team E by 2Team E by 1Draw
Team E -2.5WWWLLL
Team E -3.0WWDLLL

Likewise, lets look at what happens when you bet on Team F on the +2.5,3 line. Half of your bet is placed on the +2.5 line, and half of your stake goes on the +3.0 line.

If Team F lose by 4 or more goals, both bets will lose, but if Team F lose by two goals or less, or draw, or actually win the game, both bets will win. If Team F lose by exactly three goals, half of your bet will lose, and half of the bet will draw, so you will basically get half of your original stake back.

 Team E by 5Team E by 4Team E by 3Team E by 2Team E by 1Draw
Team F +2.5LLLWWW
Team F +3.0LLDWWW

Asian Handicap Live Betting – Football

Asian Handicap live football betting has a unique feature to it that doesn’t happen anywhere else. It’s definitely worth learning the ropes here because it can massively affect settlement issues.

The following rule only applies to football and not to other sports, and the basic rule is that you need to deduct the current score from the final score to settle the bet. Or in other words, you take the score at the time of the bet, and you’re saying ‘From this point onwards, I’m predicting this to happen’. It’s more easily explained with examples.

Its Team A vs Team B again, and the current score is 1-0, and these are the odds:

Current Score [1-0]
Team A -1.51.95
Team B +1.51.85

Ordinarily, with a -1.5 handicap, you need Team A to win by 2 clear goals for your bet to win. However, the score is already 1-0. From this point onwards, you need Team A to win by 2 clear goals, so it actually means that you need Team A to win by 3 clear goals by the end of the game.

If the match finishes 3-1 for example, the score from the time of the bet to the end of the game was actually 2-1. So, the -1.5 handicap does not win after all.

European Handicap

There is such a handicap called the European Handicap (EH), and in this type of handicap, there are always three options to choose from. It’s a little similar to the 1×2, but it is with a handicap applied to it.

In a normal 1×2, the 1 represents the home team winning, the x represents the draw, and the 2 represents the away team winning.

But if a European Handicap of Home -1 is applied, then there is a new 1×2. If the home team wins by 1, that becomes the ‘draw’, and if you bet on ‘Home’ on the EH Home -1, you need the home team to win by at least 2 clear goals. A bet on the ‘Away’ on the EH Away +1, then a draw is enough to win your bet, as well as an actual away win.

Essentially, the 1×2 shifts in the following way in European Handicaps:

 Home by 3Home by 2Home by 1DrawAway by 1Away by 2Away by 3
1×21x2
Home -11x2
Home -21x2
Away -11x2
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