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Asian Handicap Bet

Asian handicap sportsbooks are a special variety of the conventional handicap bet. The origin of this bet is, as the name already implies, in Asia, where it is also known as  Hang Chen Betting.

For soccer games, an Asian handicap bet can be described as follows: a conventional three-way bet gets transformed to a two-way bet. This means that instead of three possible outcomes (victory team 1, tie, victory team 2) only two possible results are left (victory of team 1 or team 2), so the possibillity of a draw gets eliminated.

A point spread is used to level the teams and make them equally attractive for bettors, which in turn also creates more betting opportunities. On the one hand, a fictional heads up for the underdog is used, on the other hand, the nominally stronger team gets credited with negative points as well. This is common for all types of handicap sportsbooks.

Consequently, it's not the actual result of the game that decides whether or not the bet was won, but rather a combination of the actual result plus the handicap. One of the main differences between Asian handicap bets and conventional handicap bets are the intervals that are used to level the advantages or disadvantages of the teams. With conventional handicap bets, full goals are added or subtracted to and from the result, while Asian handicap bets apply half or even quarter goal advantages or disadvantages respectively.

If the opponents are almost equally strong, then consequently the handicap amounts to 0. Greater differences between the teams are then leveled by the bookmakers by subtracting 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2 or more goals from the chalk and adding the same amount of fictional goals to the puppy, before the game starts.

Since the Asian handicap is applied to level the opponents fictionally in terms of their proficiency, bookmakers generally offer similar odds for a victory of both teams.

As the possibility of a draw is eliminated with Asian handicap bets, players can only opt for victory or defeat of their preferred team. However, only those handicap bets where a half goal difference is applied work like this. With full goal handicaps, a draw is technically still possible and thus most bookmakers will simply return the wager in case the game actually ends with a tie.

Examples for Asian handicap bets

Example 1: Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich
Selection Asian Handicap Calculation
Victory Borussia Dortmund +0.5 The selection of Bayern Munich is successful if they win the game with at least one goal ahead. If the game ends with a draw or a victory of Dortmund, then the selection placed on Dortmund wins.
Victory Bayern Munich -0.5
Example 2: Bayern Munich vs FC Barcelona
Selection Asian Handicap Calculation
Victory Bayern Munich 0 For a victory of each of the teams, the corresponding bet will be counted as successful. If the game ends with a draw, the wager will be returned to the bettors.
Victory FC Barcelona 0
Example 3: Schalke 04 vs. Bayern Munich
Selection Asian Handicap Calculation
Victory Schalke 04 01 If Schalke wins or the game ends with a draw, then the Schalke selection wins as well. If Bayern Munich wins with exactly one goal ahead, then the bet will count as a draw and the wagers will be returned. Only if Bayern Munich wins with more than 2 goals ahead, the respective selection will count as successful.
Victory Bayern München -1

The double Asian handicap bet

With this special variant, two conventional Asian handicap bets are combined and the wagers on each bet are splitted in a relation of 1:1. Only those Asian handicap bets may be combined which are related with a goal difference of 0.5, such as the handicaps of 0 and 0.5 for example.

If a bettor places 100 Euro on a team with a double Asian handicap of 0 and 0.5, then a 50 Euro wager will be placed on the handicap 0 and another 50 Euro wager on the handicap 0.5. The notation for this kind can be threefold:

1: Asian Handicap 0, 0.5

2: Handicap 0.25

3. Quarter Handicap

The first notation can be explained by the information already given in this article. The other expressions contain the same information, just with a different style of notation, namely with a decimal number in the second case and with a fraction in the third example. However, example 2 and 3 basically summarize the bets by denoting the figure that most closely resembles the nearest proximity between the respective handicaps, since 0.25 is half way between 0 and 0.5.

Further examples of Asian handicap bets would be 0.5, 1 (0.75 respectively) or 1, 1,5 (1.25 respectively).

Example for a double Asian handicap:

Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich
  Double AH Odds
Victory Borussia Dortmund +0, 0.5 2.0
Victory Bayern Munich -0, 0.5 1.9

Let's assume Dortmund wins the match with at least one goal ahead. Then the calculation for a wager of 100 Euro would look like this:

The selection of a victory of Dortmund would be covered completely and the bettor would receive a payout of 200 Euro, because  the wager gets multilplied with the odds of 2,0, since both parts of the bet would have been won. The bettor who opted for a victory of Bayern Munich would lose the bet completely.

Should the game end with a draw, the calculation would be completely different. The bettor who predicted a victory of Dortmund would receive a payout of 150 Euro: 50 Euro for the initial wager, and 100 Euro for the successful selection of the handicap of 0.5 (50 Euro x the respective odds of 2,0). The wager on Bayern Munich, however, would be eligible for a payout of 50 Euro only (the wager for the part of the Asian handicap of 0 would simply be returned).

If Bayern Munich wins, the calculation would look like this:

The Asian handicap selection of a victory of Dortmund would be lost obviously. For the wager on Bayern Munich, the payout would amount to 190 Euro, as both parts of the Asian handicap bet were fully covered.

Advantages of the Asian handicap bet

The most obvious advantage of the Asian handicap bet certainly is the fact that the prospects of winning are 50:50 for those bets that imply a half goal difference (0.5, 1.5, etc.), since only two possible outcomes exist. As a team can't score half a goal, the handicap guarantees that the final result will be in favour of one of the teams.

If full goal handicaps are applied, then three possible outcomes exist, but nevertheless only one of these scenarios causes a total exposure.

Asian Handicap
Top image bet365: Example of an Asian handicap bet. Here, the final result of the game as well as the number of goals to be scored can be wagered on in Asian handicap style for two games of the German Bundesliga (odds are displayed in the right column)

The second advantage of Asian handicap sportsbooks is that they usually provide decent odds around the level of 2,0. This might be of interest particularly for wagers on soccer games with an obvious underdog. The reason for this is that if the bettor believes that the favorite team will not only win the game but will also be able to equalize the handicap, usually Asian handicap sportsbooks provide generous odds for these line-ups.

The third and final advantage of Asian handicap bets is related to the vigorous. Usually, bookmakers keep between 5 and 10 % of the earnings of the successful bettor as a commission. With Asian handicaps, however, the vig usually amounts to 2.5 % only.

Which bookmaker to choose for placing an Asian handicap bet?

Conventional handicap bets are available at almost any bookmaker on the market. Asian handicaps, on the other hand, are usually available only with few providers of sports betting services. For the European market, a reliable provider of Asian handicap sportsbooks is Interwetten.

However, bettors who use the service of Interwetten have to take into consideration that if a game ends with a draw, then the bookmaker usually doesn't return the full wager, but keeps 10 % as a processing fee and another 5% from German customers because of the betting tax which was introduced in 2012.