Football betting has a huge array of options and it can be hard to decide which ones to use.
The best gamblers, those who can make a huge amount of money from bookmakers, will know which bet to take from which betting site - which requires both knowledge and instinct.
Handicap betting is perhaps an area that is misunderstood, or certainly one where there is a lack of expertise among the general population.
The average football fan who places an accumulator at the weekend will likely have never even heard of the Asian handicap, let alone placed a bet of this type in their life.
While simple betting markets make sense to most people, AH betting can take a little more time to get your head around.
This is where we come in. This guide will give you all the information you need to get the most out of betting on Asian handicap markets in football. So let's not waste any more time!
Asian handicap in betting
Not all bookmakers even offer Asian handicap in betting, so if you want to place these bets you need to pick and choose your betting site carefully to avoid being left disappointed.
Asian handicap bets are a good way to squeeze a little bit of extra value out of backing favourites in football betting, for example when a home team is expected to win easily.
In this example, bookmakers will only be offering low odds on the team to win, so there is not going to be a lot of profit up for grabs. But the AH markets offers a way in.
Best used when a team is a strong favourite but could easily win by a few clear goals, the Asian handicap is a great way to boost bank balances for those who can pick winners regularly.
However, it is quite a complicated idea to understand for those who are only used to placing simple bets such as backing a team to win a particular match outright.
The difference in the way odds are displayed can catch people out and it takes some time to understand exactly how the AH works.
This is where we come in, though, and this guide will give you everything you need to know about Asian handicap betting on football.
So let's get started with a quick basic definition that covers exactly what the Asian handicap is.
What is Asian handicap?
Asian handicap betting sounds tough to understand at first, but soon it will all come easily to you, so don't worry if you don't know how to place wagers of this type right now. This is an advanced type of bet and is best utilised by those who are taking football betting quite seriously.
The AH is used by bookmakers to even out any imbalance of quality when teams face off against each other. It is an inexact science, but betting sites use models to calculate exactly what the Asian handicap odds should be, to be both fair and attractive to their users.
Take for example the World Cup, which is one of the biggest betting events in all of sport, let alone just in football. This tournament often sees giants of the game take on relative minnows.
For example, Brazil might come up against a team like Saudi Arabia in the group stage.
There would be little to no chance of Saudi Arabia being able to win this match. Brazil are a much better team and 99 times out of a 100 they are going to come out on top quite easily.
As such, betting on Brazil to beat Saudi Arabia would only result in very small profits. Few would even think it was worthwhile, so low would the odds on offer from bookmakers be on Brazil.
The Asian handicap, though, offers football fans a way to get more value out of siding with Brazil, for example by backing them to beat Saudi Arabia by a few clear goals.
Asian handicap bets can also be useful for matches that are expected to be very tight. This is due to the fact that the draw is always a possibility in a lot of games and if this happens, and you have bet on one of the teams to win, then you could see half the stake returned to your balance.
Ideally, the Asian handicap will be used by the bookmakers so the odds on offer for each team are set at around evens. This obviously provides a lot more opportunity to profit than merely backing a short-priced favourite to win a match in which they are virtually guaranteed to triumph.
Now we have covered the Asian handicap meaning, you should be more confident about placing these types of bet, but how does it work in practice? Let's take a look.
How does AH work?
Asian handicap - sometimes referred to as just AH, so look out for that - works by theoretically making the battle between the bookmakers and the gamblers a more level playing field. Of course, it is very unusual to meet a poor bookmaker, so the odds are still usually stacked in their favour, but the Asian handicap is one of the ways football fans can find a way to get ahead.
Not just in football too, as the AH is offered on a lot of different sports where there could be substantial mismatches between certain opponents. American football is one of them, while individual sports such as tennis can also see Asian handicap bets offered by the bookies.
To clarify, a short-priced favourite can be be backed on the handicap to secure more attractive odds. So you could back Brazil at -1 to beat Saudi Arabia in the World Cup, meaning their goals tally would be reduced by one for the terms of the bet. They therefore have to win by two goals in order for the Brazil -1 bet to be a winner.
Asian handicap table
This Asian handicap table helps to explain how it works.
Asian handicap 0.0
Starting at the top of the Asian handicap betting table, we will open up with AH 0.0.
This means the bookmakers have decided the two teams or players competing are already very evenly matched, meaning there is no need for any adjustments to be made to the odds.
Essentially, an Asian handicap 0.0 works in very much the same way as a Draw No Bet - or DNB for short - as the draw has been taken out of the equation by the bookmakers here.
Asian handicap 0.0 will sometimes be referred to as a full line, for reasons that are about to become clear. A simple start, but Asian handicap starts to get a little bit more complicated from here on in so make sure you are still paying attention!
Asian handicap 0.25
Now we know what a handicap means, how does it work in practice for a bet like Asian handicap 0.25? Half lines and quarter lines are both on offer with the Asian handicap.
Asian handicap 0.25 is clearly a quarter handicap bet, so this means the odds are often more appealing than a half handicap bet.
At Asian handicap 0.25, your bet is still a winner if your team wins, and still a loser if your team loses. But in the event of a draw, it means half of your stake will be returned to your account.
This means the Asian handicap quarter lines can be used as a useful hedging mechanism for wagers that are not sure-fire bets.
Asian handicap 0.5
Next we move on to the half handicap bets, starting with Asian handicap 0.5. This is a little easier to understand than the quarter handicap bets as detailed above in the previous section.
Asian handicap 0.5 means that the team you bet on starts with a positive goal handicap of 0.5. So for the purposes of the bet that World Cup match we talked about could start at either Brazil 0.5 Saudi Arabia 0 or Brazil 0 Saudi Arabia 0.5 depending on which of the teams you backed.
Asian handicap 0.75 (AH 0.75)
The next quarter line works in much the same way as Asian handicap 0.25, but there is one difference so we still need to go through it as well.
With a Asian handicap 0.75 (AH 0.75) bet, you need your team to win by two goals in order for the bet to be a winner. If they lose - yes, you are getting the hang of it now! - the bet still loses.
If the team you backed with a handicap only wins by one clear goal, this gets more complex.
In the event of this happening, half of the bet is a winner and the other half is what is termed in the betting industry as a 'push'. This is good news as the stake is then returned to you.
Asian handicap 1
Another full line next as we move on to cover the Asian handicap 1 type of bet.
Let's use our favourite Atletico Nacional Medellin example as an aid for this - Deportes Tolima v Patriotas FC. A football fan expecting a big win for Deportes Tolima side could choose to back them on Deportes Tolima -1.
This means they start with a -1 handicap, so obviously they have to win the game by two clear goals in order for the bet to be a winner.
It works the other way around too, so if you back Patriotas FC then you need them to avoid defeat for the bet to be a winner.
But if the result is a draw with your handicap taken into account, the stake is again returned.
Asian handicap 1.25
You should be getting the hang of it by now, with Asian handicap 1.25 bets working by exactly the same principle as the Asian handicap 0.25 bet we talked about a little bit earlier on.
Again, the benefit of a quarter handicap bet is that the stake can be split so you are able to get your stake back even if the wager does not play out quite as you had anticipated it would.
Asian handicap betting calculators are freely available online to help you to decide which bet you should choose to maximise your potential profit on the match you have chosen.
Asian handicap 1.5
With the Asian handicap 1.5, your team either starts with a 1.5 penalty or boost to their goals tally depending on which side of the bet you have elected to go with.
So as with above when we went through the Asian handicap 0.5 bet, but with an extra goal to take into account, this time your team needs to win by two clear bets for the wager to win.
And as is the case with all of these Asian handicap wagers, if the end result is a draw once the handicap is taken into account, this means the stake will be returned by the bookmaker.
Asian handicap 1.75
As with the Asian handicap 1.25 we went through earlier, the use of a quarter handicap rather than a half handicap bet means half your stake is returned in the event of a draw in the game once handicaps have been taken into account.
So if you backed Brazil -1.75, you would need them to beat Saudi Arabia by two goals for the bet to be a winner. A one-goal Brazil win in this match would not be enough on this occasion.
Asian handicap 2
The last one we will go through before moving on is the Asian handicap 2, which really ought to be making the odds on offer from the bookmakers very appealing indeed.
This means, at Brazil -2 for example, the team has to win a game by three goals at least for the bet to be a winner.
And in the opposite direction, at Saudi Arabia +2 on the Asian handicap market your bet will be a winner if they only lose to Brazil by a single goal.
Alternative Asian handicap
Now that the basics of Asian handicap betting in football have been covered, let's go through another extra option that is offered on a lot of betting sites in the 21st century.
This is the Alternative Asian handicap, which is less complicated than it sounds!
Basically, the Alternative Asian handicap just means additional handicap lines that are offered by a bookmaker. These could involve higher handicap numbers, potentially leading to more profits.
Read article about Alternative Asian Handicap and find the detailed information.
Summary of Asian handicaps in betting
It is clear, then, that the Asian handicaps are quite different to standard football betting.
But once you have got your head around how they work, they can be very profitable.
The Asian handicap technically allows bookmakers to offer more generous odds, but of course you should still look around different betting sites for the top prices on offer.
Asian handicap options can make it more appealing to bet on short-priced favourites, or even outsiders you feel have a better chance of success than is indicated in the odds.
As is the case with a lot of betting, the best way to learn is often by doing, experimenting with very small stakes to work out which types of bet work for you the best.
But this guide to Asian handicap betting in football should have told you all you need to know.