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Asian Handicaps Explained
The most common way to bet on football in the UK is with 3 way betting (sometimes called 1X2). The three options are home win, draw and away win. Working out whether you win a bet is straight forward. If you bet on a home win and the home side wins, you win, else you loose. The same goes for the draw and the away win.
The aim of Asian Handicap betting is to reduce the outcome of the bet from 3 outcomes to 2. This is achieved by giving one side a head start. At first the figures may seem a bit daunting but once you understand a few common handicaps the rest is easy.
The easiest handicap is to picture is the +0.5 handicap. This is given when one team is a clear favourite. So if a home win is expected, the away side may be given a half goal head start. If you bet on the away side the outcome of your bet is as follows:
Home win - Lose bet
Another easy handicap to grasp is the +0 handicap. This is where no side is the favourite so neither side is given a goal head start. If you bet on the away side, the bet outcomes are as follows:
Home win - Lose bet
*A draw bet is where your stakes are refunded.
The final straightforward handicap is the +1 handicap. This is where one team is a very strong favourite. A half goal handicap is not enough so the weaker side is given a full goal head start. So if an away side was given a +1 handicap, and you bet on the away team the outcomes are as follows:
Home win by 2 or more goals - Lose bet
If you bet on the home team (which would have a -1 handicap) the outcome is as follows:
Home win by 2 or more goals - Win bet
These handicaps can be added together to form other handicaps. So if there was an banker type favourite the handicap may be +1.5. Here the favourite has to win by 2 clear goals or the team loses the handicap bet.
Do not confuse these with the 1X2 (or European) Handicaps. A -1 handicap 1X2 is equivalent to an Asian Handicap of -1.5. A +1 1X2 handicap is equivalent to a +0.5 Asian Handicap.
The handicaps that people struggle with the most are the 0.25 and the 0.75 handicaps. How is a quarter ball handicap different to a half goal handicap? Surely if you bet on a team with a plus quarter ball handicap and the match ends in a draw, you should win your bet the same as with a half ball handicap. That's actually not too far from what happens.
When you put these handicaps with quarters in them, you are actually placing 2 separate bets. So a quarter ball handicap is made up of a 0 handicap bet and a +0.5 handicap bet. Your stake is simply divided in half and put on each bet separately.
So if you placed a bet on a team with a plus a quarter handicap and the match ended in a draw, you would win half. Your +0 handicap bet would have drawn and you would get your stake back, whereas your +0.5 bet would have won so you win. Overall you win but you don't win as much as if the handicap was +0.5. If you bet on a team with a -0.25 handicap and the match was a draw, you would lose half your stake.
The 0.75 handicap is simply made up of the +0.5 handicap and the +1 handicap. So if you bet on a team with a -0.75 handicap and they won by exactly one goal, you would only win half. A 1.25 handicap is made up of a +1 and a +1.5 handicap.
Why bother with these Asian Handicaps if we already have 3 way betting? The answer lies in the bookie margin. With three outcomes the bookie can put a higher margin into the pricing. Even shopping around for the best 3 way odds the book value is still around 106% for a typical match. With Asian Handicaps and the two outcomes the bookie margin is much less. By doing a little shopping around its possible to reduce the bookie margin to zero on most football matches.
Recommended bookies for Asian Handicaps are Bet365, Premierbet, Sportingbet, Ladbrokes, Gamebookers and Victor Chandler. Betfair do Asian Handicaps but after commission the odds are generally worse there.
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