What is the Asian Handicap?

In modern day sports betting, bookmakers offer punters an extraordinary amount of betting opportunities to choose from. Gone are the days of bookmakers only accepting bets on which team you think will win, you can now place bets on almost every aspect of the match.

One of the most popular and influential betting types available is the Asian Handicap market.

If you plan to earn money through Matched Betting, Value Betting or any other form of Sports betting, it is crucial that you fully understand the Asian Handicap.

Don’t worry, we will run you through it.

Why is it called the Asian Handicap?

Let's get the easy stuff out the way first shall we.

The term Asian Handicap was coined by journalist Joe Saumarez Smith after he was asked by an Indonesian bookmaker to translate the widely popular ‘hang cheng betting’ offered by Asian bookmakers. It was then adopted by European bookmakers and instantly became a popular form of betting for punters worldwide.

How does the Asian Handicap work?

The Asian Handicap is a form of sports betting in which teams are handicapped before the start of the game. The most popular form of the handicap is in football where teams start with either a goal lead or a goal behind.

Here is an example:

Asian Handicap

Above you can see the Asian Handicap for the Liverpool v Flamengo match on Bet365. The two options are -1 and +1.

As Liverpool are the home team they are displayed on the left underneath the 1 and Flamengo is one the right underneath the 2.

To learn why they use these numbers, read this article on 1x2 in Sports Betting.

If you was to place the -1 bet above you would be hoping that Liverpool win by 2 goals or more. The reason you would need at least 2 is because the -1 represents them starting the game 1 goal behind.

A Liverpool 2-0 win would mean our Handicap result would be 2-1.

If Liverpool only won 1-0 then our Handicap would result in a draw and our bet would be lost.

The +1 is slightly different in that we are giving Flamengo a 1-0 lead.

For this bet to win we would need either a Flamengo win or a Draw.

A 0-0 result would mean our Handicap would be 0-1 and the bet would win.

As Flamengo are starting the game in front, a Flamengo win would also win us the Handicap bet.

Any Liverpool win would mean a loss.

The Handicap can be many goals

The amount of goals offered in the handicap can vary depending on the match and the balance between the two teams.

In the photo above you can see that instead of a 1 goal handicap, bet365 are offering 2 goals.

The reason for this is that the teams are more unevenly matched and there is a higher chance that the game will be dominated by one side and so a 2 goal handicap would be more suitable to balance out the result.

Asian Handicap can sometimes go even higher than 2 goals.

This version of the Handicap is known as a FULL Handicap.

Why are Asian Handicaps so popular?

Now you understand the principles of the Asian Handicap, you are probably thinking why is this such a popular form of sports betting for professionals and amateurs alike.

The main reason is that it balances the scales between bookmaker and punter.

In the traditional football 1x2 betting system there are 3 outcomes for a match to finish, meaning whichever outcome you choose you have a ⅓ in chance of winning.

However, with the Asian Handicap, the bookmaker is trying to create a handicap that increase the chances of one team winning and the possibility of a draw dramatically reduces. As the bookmakers are trying to get the line as even as possible, the odds tend to get very close to ‘even money’

Even money is 2.0 or ½ - it also means the odds are 50%, like a coin toss.

For sports bettors the opportunity to bet close to even money on the favourites is very appealing and some of the most successful sports bettors in history are famous for using the Asian Handicap.

Sports Betting Millionaire Tony Bloom

The depth of the Asian Handicap

So far we have shown you the basics of the Full Asian Handicap and we hope you understand just how simple it can be.

However, there is more that the Asian Handicap offers.

Split Asian Handicap

As the Asian Handicap is primarily used for when two uneven teams play, there is another system of the Handicap for two evenly matched teams. This is known as the Split Asian Handicap.

The Split Handicap allows us to split our stake on a team with two handicaps. It can also be known as the Half or Quarter Handicap.

Half Handicap

The Half Handicap adds or removes 0.5 to our Full Handicap to eliminate the possibility of a draw. If we were to place a bet on Liverpool -1.5 then Liverpool would have to win by 2 or more goals for our bet to win.

As it's impossible to score halve a goal in football, Liverpool only winning by 1 would mean our bet would lose by 0.5.

Quarter Handicap

The Quarter Handicap is a combination of the Full and Halve Handicap and it splits our bet into two.

If we were to place a bet on a 1.25 Handicap then halve our bet would be on +1 and halve on 1.5.

Here is an example for the Quarter Handicap of +0.25 and -0.25

Quarter Handicap splits the bet


The Asian Handicap now plays a major role in the world of sports betting and it is something all sports bettors should understand before they begin.

Here at Oddshero, our oddsmatcher regularly sends out bets on the Asian Handicap as they’re great for Matched Betting.

Sign up for free here and earn your first €100 bonus



Join our Facebook group to keep up to date with everything Matched Betting

Get The Best Articles and News To Your Inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay updated.