Exchange: What is Asian Handicap Betting?

Asian Handicap is a form of soccer betting which is very popular in Asia (hence the name). ""Handicap"" means that one team receives a “virtual head start”, effectively leading the game by a differing amount or amounts before the game starts.

Simply put, Asian Handicaps are designed to eliminate the possibility of a draw in a Soccer match, reducing the match to two possible outcomes.

There are two types of handicap – half goal (0.5, 1.5 etc) and whole goal (0,1 etc). In the case of a half-goal handicap, naturally there is always a clear winner as it’s not possible to score half a goal. In the case of a whole goal handicap, if the result is level after the handicap is taken into consideration, then all bets are refunded.

Example:

In a standard Odds market there are three options available on this Soccer match:

• Arsenal
• Everton
• Draw

When you bet on an Asian Handicap market, the draw is taken out of the equation, so you have two options from which to choose. In this example, Arsenal are strong favourites, so the handicap is one and a half goals:

• Arsenal -1.5
• Everton +1.5

The above example is the simplest case of Asian Handicap betting on Betfair, i.e. a team is given a start of a half number of goals (+0.5, +1.5, +2.5 etc). The team who scores the most with the handicap applied is deemed the winner. For example, if you back Arsenal to beat Everton with a handicap of -1.5, then to win your bet Arsenal must win the match by 2 or more goals.
You lose the bet if Everton win, it’s a draw or Arsenal win by only 1 goal.


At Betfair, we always offer three markets to cater for any significant changes in the handicap line. The most accurate handicap is usually the middle one listed.

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As mentioned, some Asian Handicap markets give teams two virtual head starts (or handicaps in the case of the favourite!). Here, we have a combination of a half goal and a whole goal handicap (+0 & +0.5, -0 & -0.5). These bets are sometimes referred to as “Quarter-Goal Handicaps”:

• Liverpool +0 & +0.5
• Chelsea -0 & -0.5

In this case, the stake is divided between a bet on the zero (level) handicap and a bet on the half-goal handicap. For example, if you back Chelsea for £20 to beat Liverpool with a handicap of -0 & -0.5, then you have two separate £10 bets (at the same Odds, 2.03 in the example) - Chelsea -0 and Chelsea -0.5

• If Chelsea wins by 1 goal or more, both bets win.
• If the game is drawn, then the -0.5 handicap bet loses and the other half (+0) is void/refunded.
• If Chelsea loses, then both parts of the bet lose.

A zero goal start in Asian handicap betting effectively means ‘Draw – No Bet’ – i.e. there must be a winner in the match, or all bets are voided.

The market is similar to an Odds market in that you Back or Lay in the same way. However, because of the more complex rules surrounding Asian Handicap betting, it is not possible to display the Profit and Loss on this market. When placing bets in the Bet Manager, you may tick the 'Detail View' box on the 'Place Bets' tab to view your Profit and Loss for each outcome. Under the 'My Bets' tab, there is a summary of you current matched position and your worst possible outcome for each possible result. Each unmatched bet on the 'My Bets' tab has profit and loss information underneath it.

As on all markets, when you place a bet, money will be reserved from your account to cover your worst possible position on the market. In an Asian Handicap market, the amount reserved will reflect bets on all lines. If, for example, you Back a team to win with a 1.5 goal start, but Lay them to win with a 1.5 & 2 goal start, then your maximum loss may (depending on odds and stake) be if they lose by two goals and may result you losing half your stake, not the stake on both bets. This will be reflected in my Available to Bet balance. In addition, commission on these markets is taken from total winnings on the market across all lines.

What is a Void bet?
If the handicap given is a whole goal, +1, -1, 0, -2 etc, and the result means the settlement is a draw, the bet is voided. Neither Backer nor the Layer can be said to have won the bet, so the money staked is returned to both.

If you lay Arsenal -1 and Arsenal win 1-0, the settlement score is 0-0 and the bet is voided (you get your money back).

If you back Arsenal -1.0

Result
(lose by 1)
0 (Draw)
Win by 1
Win by 2
Win by 3+  

£10 @ 1.95
Lose £10
Lose £10
Void £10
Win £9.50
Win £9.50

What is the settlement score?
The settlement score is the result with a given handicap applied. This score is used to settle the bets. If you have backed Arsenal -0.5 and Arsenal win 1-0, the settlement score is (0.5)-0 and you win your bet. If Arsenal draw 0-0, the settlement score is (-0.5)-0, you lose your bet.

What are Quarter Goal Handicaps?
When a handicap is made up of two parts, like 0 & -0.5 , or +1.5 & +2.0 , it means that the bet is split 50/50 between the two handicaps. These are often referred to as -1/4 (-0.25) or +1 ¾ (+1.75) goals handicaps (examples above). So if you back Chelsea +1.0 & +1.5 (also +1 ¼ or +1.25) with £100, you are effectively betting £50 on Chelsea +1.0 and £50 on Chelsea + 1.5.

Example:

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If you bet Porto -0.5 & -1.0 (also -3/4 goal handicap, or 0.75 goals) odds of 2.0 with £10.

Result
(lose by 1)
0 (Draw)
Win by 1
Win by 2
Win by 3+  

Bet 1
Lose £5
Lose £5
Win £5
Win £5
Win £5

Bet 2
Lose £5
Lose £5
Void £5
Win £5
Win £5

Total
Lose £10
Lose £10
Win £5
Win £10
Win £10