Handicap Betting

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How to Bet on Football Handicaps and Asian Handicaps: Handicap Betting Explained

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Whilst many people tend to stick to the few betting markets they know, be that both teams to score, correct score betting or anything else, there are literally hundreds of different bets available on big Premier League and Champions League games, and handicaps and Asian handicaps may not be so familiar to many punters.

What is the Difference Between an Asian Handicap and a Normal Handicap?

This confuses a lot of people but the difference is incredibly simple. Whilst many people think that Asian handicaps are those with half or quarter goals (or two numbers to the handicap), in fact, an Asian handicap is simply one that only has two options, as opposed to the standard three of normal football bets – win, lose or draw.

What are Asian Handicaps?

So, having said that Asian handicaps are ones with just two options, let’s take a closer look at them and how they can enhance your football betting.

Handicaps, be they Asian or standard, are used by bookies and punters for a number of reasons but in essence they were born out of the need to level the betting between very mismatched sides.

If a team is a very, very strong favourite, punters may be put off backing them at, for example, odds of 1/5 and so a handicap gives the underdog a virtual head start of, let’s say, two goals and now the odds on both sides are virtually evens, making betting much more interesting and, for many, viable.

In an Asian handicap, a handicap on -2 (the favourite) or +2 for the underdog means that if there are exactly two goals in it, for example the bookies’ favourite wins 2-0, the bet is a “push” – effectively a void bet. Here the stake is returned because there was no option given to bet on the draw, just to back Team A or Team B.

In order to win a bet, the team fancied to win must do so by at least three goals, whilst the outsider must lose by one goal, draw or even win the game. Any Asian handicap that is expressed in whole goals will result in a push if the favoured sides win by the exact amount of the handicap.

Asian handicaps are often expressed in half goal margins as this ensures that no matter what the outcome, one side will win. So one side will be +0.5 and the other -0.5. A draw or a win for the team given half a goal “start” wins, whilst the club giving up the half goal must win to overcome that. Handicaps like this can be any number from 0.5 up to 4.5 or even more.

A third type of Asian handicap bet exists in football that is the most likely to confuse and this involves either quarters of goals, for example +0.25 or +0.75 or else it is written using two handicaps, for example +0.5, +1. These are the same thing, so +0.75 is exactly the same bet as +0.5, +1 and is actually two bets, with half the stake going on +0.5 and half going on +1. In this example if the side draws – or better – both bets win, whilst a loss of two goals or more mean both lose. However, should the side lose 1-0, half the bet (on +0.5) will lose whereas the other half will be a push, meaning half of the total stake back.

Normal Handicap Bets in Football

A normal handicap is somewhat simpler, with the key factor being the presence among the betting options of the draw. A normal handicap will be expressed in whole goals, with the standard 90 minute match betting options available. For example, the team priced at 1/5 in our previous example may be priced at 4/7 with a -1 handicap, whilst the draw -1 is 4/1 and the away side +1 is 11/4. If that handicap is extended to two goals then the match looks like a very balanced contest, with the favourites (in the outright betting) priced at 6/4 and now outsiders, the underdogs on offer at 6/5 and the draw (based on the better side giving up a two goal start) priced at odds of 11/4.

Handicap and Asian Handicap Betting Strategy and Tips

If you want betting tips for upcoming games check out our latest  football betting tips pages, whilst for more general betting advice head to our “How to Bet” section: however, here we take a look at how handicaps and Asian handicaps can and should be used to make a profit.

Some Handicap Bets are Other Markets with a Different Name

To make things more simple, many bookies and betting sites have created easier to understand betting markets that effectively cover an option that was already available via an Asian handicap. It’s worth checking both options because even though they are identical, some bookies offer better odds on one than another.

  • +0.5 or -0.5 Asian handicap – Backing a side +0.5 is the same as backing them in the Double Chance, win and draw market, whilst backing a side -0.5 is simply the same as backing them in the main match odds betting.
  • 0 Asian handicap – A handicap of 0 may seem strange but this bet is the same as the “draw no bet market” in that if the game is a draw the bet is a push.
  • -2 Handicap – A -2 standard handicap is the same as “Team to win by three or more goals” bet. Obviously the same applies to -1 and “two or more goals”, etc.
  • -2.5 Asian handicap – A -2.5 Asian bet is the same as a -2 handicap above, and consequently the same as the given side to win by three or more goals bet. Likewise, this applies to -1.5, -3.5 and other similar bets.

Betting on football means different things to different people but winning and profiting from your bets is hugely important, even for those who only bet to add a bit of extra fun or excitement to the game.

Knowing about handicap betting can really help, both with fun and profitability, by giving you extra options and the ability to cover outcomes that wouldn’t be possible just by betting on the normal match odds. Whilst some of these are, as mentioned, possible to back using other bets, there is no doubt that using Asian handicaps or normal ones can add a new dimension to your betting on football.

It can be useful where you think a team definitely won’t lose or where you think that one side is far too short. For example, if you decide that Liverpool are far too short at odds of 3/5 you could back their opponents +0.5 on the Asian handicap, covering both the draw and the other side winning (alternatively you could simply lay Liverpool at the Betfair exchange).

On the other side, if you think Liverpool will win very well but odds of 3/5 are too short, backing them -1.5 goals on the Asian or perhaps even -2 on the standard handicap are great ways to up those odds and get a better return on your bets.

There are so many different options but now we’ve explained the basics of Asian handicaps and standard football handicaps we hope you’ll feel confident trying them out for yourself and seeing which ones you like most.

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