In sports where a drawn game or match is one possible outcome, Asian handicap betting differs greatly from regular (or European) handicap betting, tilting the chances of a payout in favour of the player. It is a system that can be used by players of all abilities but there are some situations in which it can pose a financial risk to inexperienced bettors with a lot of money to burn.
Here, FootyStats looks at what Asian handicap betting can offer punters all year round, and the sports that make the most of it.
Asian handicaps – the main advantage
When placing an Asian handicap bet, all the player needs to do is back one team/athlete or the other and, even if the match is a draw, the team/athlete backed will have either ‘won’ or ‘lost’ under the terms of the handicap bet. For the sake of simplicity, many players choose to convert from fractional to decimal odds to get a better idea of how much one team is favoured over another.
Some sites also offer quarter and three-quarter fractional values, such as +1.25 and +1.75, which split the bet into two. So, backing a team to win with a handicap of +1.75 against them is essentially the same as backing both +1.5 and +2 (which is why +1.75 would sometimes be denoted as +1.5, +2).
Asian handicap odds may be presented in two columns (one for each team) and under that layout plus and minus figures denote the starting advantage/disadvantage for that team or athlete. When odds are presented in a single column, negative values (e.g -1.5 goals) refer to the disadvantage of the favoured/stronger team or athlete, while positive values (e.g. +0.5 goals) denote the advantage for the weaker team or athlete.
These odds for a 2018 World Cup match illustrate how odds can shift as the handicap amount increases. In this example, Russia are at home and are also considered the better team overall.
Asian handicap odds in different sports
The main draws for Asian handicap odds are sports which have individual events that can end in a draw. So too are they popular in sports that employ a seeding system, in which backing a favoured athlete or team with a heavy handicap against is a good and lucrative option. The specific sports that boost the popularity of Asian handicap betting need no introduction…
Asian Handicap in Football
With matches being played 365 days a year, football is the go-to sport for Asian handicap bettors. The best bookmakers offer a great degree of flexibility, with players able to back fractional handicaps (e.g. 1.5 goals against) as well as whole values. However, much research or prior knowledge, particularly of a team’s form, is an important part of success. Where the disparity in odds between two teams is small, the risk is higher, but the odds are generally longer.
Matches on neutral ground are even more difficult to predict, making some matches of the 2018 World Cup a prime example of how much power history and reputation has in contradiction to the form and rank of teams. Backing seeded teams in any competition, such as Argentina, Germany, Brazil and France in the world is, of course, far more straightforward.
For an example, prior to the start of the World Cup, the Group E match between Brazil (high: 23/100) and Costa Rica (high: 20/1) was considered the biggest ‘mismatch’ of the forty-eight group games. Brazil’s average odds to win with an Asian handicap of -4.25 against them (a win by four clear goals required to pay out) were around 8/1.
While simply looking at the biggest mismatches will not always do the trick, it is as good a starting guideline as any for more sizeable profits at a lower risk of loss.
With a seeding system in place for all major tournaments, the identity of clear favourites is already known. Players can opt to back players to win with Asian handicaps by games or sets. Using the ‘sets’ option in Asian handicap markets is more simplistic, but very risky where an even match is expected.
Backing a usual favourite (a top-four ranked player) to win with a handicap of –1.5 sets (or –2.5 sets in one of the four ‘Grand Slam’ tournaments) can yield very small profits, but ones which can be used for riskier bets to insure the player against personal losses.
Rugby / Basketball / American Football
As high-scoring games with points rather than goals, Asian handicap betting is an easier affair altogether if one team is favoured significantly above the opposition. Yet, as is the case in other sports, strong teams in a mismatch will yield very modest odds – even if the person placing the bet goes towards the more significant end of the ‘handicap against’ scale (more 10 points, for example).
Ultimately, across all sports, matches with a less-clear favourite often betray a sense of self-contradiction and should be treated with caution under Asian handicap betting, as a lot of justification is required to go significantly one way or the other. Naturally, however, the rewards for backing a greater handicap can be significantly larger than those available in ‘mismatches’.
If you want to check out successful betting systems using other types of bets, check out the FootyStats Ultimate Betting Guides!