What Are Asian Handicap Odds?


Generally when people go to bet on football, they opt for the traditional fixed odds method. This is where the bookies offer you a set of odds that reflect a team to win, lose or draw. Of course, there are other betting options, but to keep it simple, these odds are known as ‘fixed’.

Asian Handicap odds were created to offer a better chance of winning than the conventional fixed odds. The idea is that teams are handicapped according to their form.

Think of the way the horses running in the Grand National are handicapped with the best horses carrying more weight. The goal is to level the playing field so that in theory all runners have an equal chance of winning. The same theory applies to handicapping in football.

As you can guess from the name, the style of betting originated in Indonesia, Asia. However, it’s popularity has spread to the West, especially in the UK, with many online betting catering for this type of bet.

Asian Handicap Odds Vs Fixed Odds

Asian Handicap Odds (also called Hang Cheng), eliminate the possibility of a draw. That reduces the possible number of outcomes from three to just two – win or lose. This creates a situation where each team has a 50-50 chance of winning.

So how does it work if a game results, in real-time, in a draw? In Asian handicap, a goal deficit is given to the team more likely to win. Plus a head start is given to the team less favoured to win. So depending on what that is, one team will always come out on top.

There may be some confusing terminology for those who have never used the system but once you get the hang of it, it becomes quite easy.

The bookmaker’s aim is to create a handicap that will make the chance of either team winning as close to 50% as possible. Asian handicaps start at a quarter goal and can go as high as 2.5 or 3 goals in matches with a huge disparity in ability. This usually occurs in Cup games when two very mismatched teams get drawn to play each other.

How Does It Work?

Typically the weaker team will start the game with a fraction of a point/goal. For example, Liverpool FC are playing against Norwich and Norwich was given a handicap of .5 goal.

The starting score for the match would be Liverpool = zero and Norwich = .5. If the game results in a 2-2 draw in real life, it would simply be a draw. But using the Asian Handicap system the result would be Liverpool 2 – 2.5 Norwich. Norwich would win the game for the purposes of the bets placed.

If however, Liverpool wins the game 1-0, then the result would be Liverpool 1 – .5 Norwich, and Liverpool backers when their bets.

Advantages Of Asian Handicaps

There are always going to be some advantages in using Asian Handicap odds over fixed betting. But it’s not an open and shut case. If it were that easy to make money, nobody would bet traditionally. And bookmakers are not stupid.

Even if you’re team is handicapped, it may only be by a quarter or half a goal. So if they get well beaten, you still lose. And if the game results in a draw and whole numbers have been used, then it’s called a ‘push’ and your bet is returned and you still win nothing.

However, there are some benefits, which we have listed below.

  • You eliminate the possibility of a draw, increasing the chance of winning from 33.3% to 50% in one game.
  • You can bet on a team you believe will lose, but because of the Asian Handicap, you can still win the bet. An example is when the favourite team wins the game with just one goal.
  • If you place multiple bets or accumulators, the number of possible outcomes is much less than in fixed odds.

The Benefits of Fixed Odds

There is a reason that fixed odds are so popular. And we take a look at some of them below.

  • A very high number of bets to choose from.
  • Potential for Each-Way bets
  • It is possible to bet on ‘sure’ games that help with accumulators.
  • Odds for the underdogs are higher.
  • Very straightforward to bet on.
  • You can win a bet on a draw.

Both methods have their fans and critics. Depending on how you like to bet, you can choose either method. Asian handicap odds, or spread betting is not for everybody. And let’s be real here, the bookies may give an advantage to weaker teams but sometimes even that’s not enough.