Asian Handicap

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Asian Handicap, sometimes known as Asian Line Betting or Hang Cheng betting, is a type of spread betting on soccer that originated in Asia. While it is best known for use in football bets, it equally applies to ice hockey and other sports where a draw is a strong possibility. An Asian Handicap involves the setting of a handicap by the bookmaker. A handicap, also known as a line, is typically designed to create close to a 50% chance of winning for each team by adding a predetermined number to the underdog’s goal tally. This is equivalent to deducting that number from the favourite’s goal tally.

UPDATE: Australia Sports Betting now offers an online Asian Handicap calculator, which enables you to calculate payoff and profit scenarios for Asian Handicap bets. You can view the bet result for a specific scoreline, or you can analyse every possible scenario for a particular wager.

Suppose Manchester United is playing Stoke City at home. A simple handicap bet could be:

Manchester United (-1.5): 1.95
Stoke City (+1.5): 1.95

Each bet pays out at 1.95 (decimal) odds. At the end of the fixture, 1.5 goals are added to Stoke City’s final tally before determining which bet won. If the game ends Manchester United 3-1 Stoke City, then the handicap result is Manchester United: 3.0-2.5 Stoke City. At this scoreline the Manchester United (-1.5) bet would win. For a 1.5 goal handicap, if Manchester United wins by two goals or more, the Manchester United (-1.5) handicap bet wins. If Stoke City wins, or loses by less than 2 goals, then the Stoke City (+1.5) handicap bet wins.

The previous example is known as a single handicap, because you either lose all of your bet, or the whole bet wins at the stated odds. Any handicap that is stated in whole or half goals is a single handicap. Examples include (-2), (+3.5) (-0.5) and (0). Note that a draw, also known as a push, is possible if the handicap is a whole number. A push will result in a refunded bet. For example, if the handicap for Manchester United is (-2) and they win 3-1, then all wagers are refunded. Also note that a handicap of (0) is similar to a head to head bet, except bets are refunded in the event of a drawn match. Amongst Australian bookmakers, a (0) handicap is often referred to as a draw no bet wager.

Common terms for the following popular handicaps: (0), (+0.5) and (+1) are no ball (aka level or LVL), half ball and one ball, respectively.

Split handicap

Another type of handicap is a split handicap, also known as a double handicap, quarter goal handicap or two way handicap. These handicaps end in 0.25 or 0.75, as opposed to 0, 0.5 or 1. Examples include (-0.25), (+1.75) and (-0.75). A split handicap takes your wager and splits it into two bets behind the scenes. One bet is at the stated handicap plus ¼, and the other is at the stated handicap minus ¼. Suppose the handicap bet on Manchester united is (-1.75). This means that half of your bet is a (-1.5) handicap bet, and the other half is a (-2.0) handicap bet. At the end of the fixture each half-bet is reviewed and paid out independently, but the total payout will appear as a single wager in your account history.

A common term for a 0.25 goal handicap is level-half, because half the bet is a level (0) handicap while the other is a half-goal (0.5) handicap.

With a split handicap there are three possible outcomes to your particular bet, from a total of four potential outcomes. Recall that for half number handicaps (-2.5, 0.5, -1.5, etc.), the only possible outcomes are win and lose, while for whole number handicaps (-1, 0, 2, etc.) the possibilities are win, lose and push (refund).

Split handicaps where
this outcome is possible
Half Number
Handicap Result
Whole Number
Handicap Result
Overall Result
All Win Win “Win”
(+Y.25) or (-Y.75) (for Y = 0,1,2,3…) Win Push “Half Win”
(-Y.25) or (+Y.75) (for Y = 0,1,2,3…) Lose Push “Half Lose”
All Lose Lose "Lose"

 

Hence:

When backing the favourite:
– For any minus handicap bet that ends in 0.75 (e.g. -1.75), the possiblities are: win, half win and lose
– For any minus handicap bet that ends in 0.25 (e.g. -2.25), the possiblities are: win, half lose and lose

When backing the underdog:
– For any positive handicap bet that ends in 0.75 (e.g. +0.75), the possiblities are: win, half lose and lose
– For any positive handicap bet that ends in 0.25 (e.g. +1.25), the possiblities are: win, half win and lose

A "half win" will provide a net profit which is half as big as the profit for a "win". A "half lose" will result in a refund of half your wager. Note that there is no scenario where a half win and a half loss are both possibilities for the same wager.

Suppose the handicap odds on a football fixture are:

Manchester United (-1.75): 1.95
Stoke City (+1.75): 1.95

If you wager $20 on Manchester United (-1.75), you are effectively wagering $10 at a (-1.5) handicap and another $10 at a (-2.0) handicap. Your potential payouts and profits are shown below:

Man Utd’s Winning/
Losing Margin
(-1.5) Result ($10 wager) (-2.0) Result ($10 wager) Overall
Win/Lose
Overall
Payout
Overall
Profit
Win/Lose Payout Profit Win/Lose Payout Profit
Win by 4+ goals Win $19.50 $9.50 Win $19.50 $9.50 Win $39.00 $19.00
Win by 3 goals Win $19.50 $9.50 Win $19.50 $9.50 Win $39.00 $19.00
Win by 2 goals Win $19.50 $9.50 Push $10.00 $0.00 "Half Win" $29.50 $9.50
Win by 1 goal Lose $0.00 -$10.00 Lose $0.00 -$10.00 Lose $0.00 -$20.00
Drawn game Lose $0.00 -$10.00 Lose $0.00 -$10.00 Lose $0.00 -$20.00
Lose by 1+ goals Lose $0.00 -$10.00 Lose $0.00 -$10.00 Lose $0.00 -$20.00

 

If you instead wager $20 on Stoke City (+1.75), you are effectively wagering $10 at a (+1.5) handicap and another $10 at a (+2.0) handicap. Your potential payouts and profits are shown below:

Stoke City’s Winning/
Losing Margin
+1.5 Result ($10 wager) +2.0 Result ($10 wager) Overall
Win/Lose
Overall
Payout
Overall
Profit
Win/Lose Payout Profit Win/Lose Payout Profit
Lose by 4+ goals Lose $0.00 -$10.00 Lose $0.00 -$10.00 Lose $0.00 -$20.00
Lose by 3 goals Lose $0.00 -$10.00 Lose $0.00 -$10.00 Lose $0.00 -$20.00
Lose by 2 goals Lose $0.00 -$10.00 Push $10.00 $0.00 "Half Lose" $10.00 -$10.00
Lose by 1 goal Win $19.50 $9.50 Win $19.50 $9.50 Win $39.00 $19.00
Drawn game Win $19.50 $9.50 Win $19.50 $9.50 Win $39.00 $19.00
Win by 1+ goals Win $19.50 $9.50 Win $19.50 $9.50 Win $39.00 $19.00

 

There are numerous ways that bookmakers can display a handicap. Each row in the table below corresponds to the same bet.

Style 1 Style 2 Style 3 Style 4 Style 5 Style 6 Style 7 Possible Outcomes
-1.5 -1.5 -1 ½ 1.5 -1.5 -1.5 blank Win, lose
-1.25 -1.25 -1 ¼ 1.0-1.5 -1.0/-1.5 -1.0, -1.5 blank Win, half lose, lose
-1.00 -1 -1 1 -1 -1 blank Win, refund, lose
-0.75 -0.75 0.5-1 -0.5/-1 -0.5, -1 blank Win, half win, lose
-0.50 -0.5 0.5 -0.5 -0.5 blank Win, lose
-0.25 -0.25 0-0.5 0/-0.5 0, -0.5 blank Win, half lose, lose
0.00 0 0 0 Level LVL 0 : 0 Win, refund, lose
+0.25 0.25 ¼ blank 0/+0.5 0, +0.5 0 : ¼ Win, half win, lose
+0.50 0.5 ½ blank +0.5 +0.5 0 : ½ Win, lose
+0.75 0.75 ¾ blank +0.5/+1 +0.5, +1 0 : ¾ Win, half lose, lose
+1.00 1 1 blank +1 +1 0 : 1 Win, refund, lose
+1.25 1.25 1 ¼ blank +1/+1.5 +1, +1.5 0 : 1¼ Win, half win, lose
+1.50 1.5 1 ½ blank +1.5 +1.5 0 : 1½ Win, lose

 

To further familiarise yourself with Asian Handicap betting, the best thing to do is view actual bookmaker odds and then play around with pen and paper (or Excel) to calculate the potential payouts for each selection. Below are some example odds. Note that this bookmaker uses Style 4 from the table above.

The column "FT.HDP" refers to the handicap odds on the Full Time result. Some bookmakers offer betting on half-time results as well. The minus (-) handicap odds are provided for the favourite (in red). Note that this bookmaker offers more than one Asian Handicap market for the same fixture. If we look at the second market between the Bohemians and Sligo Rovers, the Asian Handicap bet is:

Bohemians (+0.25): 1.86
Sligo Rovers (-0.25): 2.06

Purely out of interest, in the head to head market the odds are:

Bohemians: 3.10
Draw: 3.10
Sligo Rovers: 2.40

In the +0.25 handicap market for a $20 bet, the potential win/loss outcomes are as follows:

Score Margin Back Bohemians (+0.25) Back Sligo Rovers (-0.25)
Payout Profit Result Payout Profit Result
Bohemians by 1+ $18.60 + $18.60 = $37.20 $17.20 Win $0 + $0 = $0 -$20.00 Lose
Draw $10 + $18.60 = $28.60 Half Win $8.60 $10 + $0 = $10.00 -$10.00 Half Lose
Sligo Rovers by 1+ $0 + $0 = $0 -$20.00 Lose $20.60 + $20.60 = $41.20 $21.20 Win

 

UPDATE: Australia Sports Betting now offers an online Asian Handicap calculator, which enables you to calculate payoff and profit scenarios for Asian Handicap bets. You can view the bet result for a specific scoreline, or you can analyse every possible scenario for a particular wager.

Over/Under Handicaps

Some bookmakers offer Asian Handicap odds on over/under markets. An over/under wager is on how many goals there will be in the fixture. This combines the goals of both sides. If a game ends 3-1, the total is 4.

For example, the over/under for Manchester United vs Stoke City could be:

Over 2.25 goals: 1.95
Under 2.25 goals: 1.95

If you over back 2.25 goals, your possible win/loss outcomes are as follows:

Total Game Goals Over 2.25 Result Under 2.25 Result
0 Lose Win
1 Lose Win
2 Half Lose Half Win
3 Win Lose
4 Win Lose

 

Asian Handicap in Australia

Asian Handicap betting isn’t nearly as popular in Australia as it is in Asia. Of the international bookmakers that support Australian dollar accounts, 12BET, AllYouBet, bet365, Betfair, Canbet and Pinnacle Sports offer Asian Handicap odds.

Notes and Sources


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