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When betting on football (or soccer for those of you inclined to call it that), you will notice that there are dozens of markets you can bet on, from who will win the watch, to the first goal scorer, to the number of corners there will be in the game. If you have been paying even the slightest bit of attention, you will also have noticed that there is a thing called the Asian Handicap. Do not let the name full you, you do not have to be on the continent of Asia to be able to bet on this, it is simply the name of the market.
The idea behind Asian Handicap betting is the same as traditional handicap betting – it removes the draw outcome of a match, which is particularly important when it comes to betting on football, due to the high number of draws in comparison to other sports such as rugby, American Football or cricket. However, while traditional handicap betting tends to only deal with half-goal increments, Asian Handicap betting can also include quarter-goal betting, which is slightly different to the traditional half-goal bet.
To start with, let’s take a look at the half-goal Asian Handicap market, which is fairly simple. Team A plays Team B, and Team A are slightly favoured by the bookmakers. Not by too much, just enough to put them a shade of odds-on. So, the Asian Handicap would, perhaps, have Team A as a 0.5 goal favourite. So, in essence, you can bet on Team A with a -0.5 goal start, or Team B with a +0.5 goal start. In our example, if you back Team A, all they have to do is win the match for the wager to come up. And if you back Team B, all they have to do is avoid defeat for the wager to be a winner. How? Well, if you back Team A, the scoreline starts at -0.5 versus 0. If Team A win 1-0, the scoreline becomes 0.5 versus 0, giving Team A the win by half a goal (which obviously does not exist, but it is easier to think of it in that way). If you back Team B, the match starts 0 versus +0.5, meaning that if there are no goals in the game, the scoreline stays the same and Team B win by half a goal. And if Team B win, it makes it even easier. So you can see how half a goal eliminates the draw from your equations.
Now, when it comes to quarter-goal markets, things get a little bit more complicated. In fact, you might not have seen them described as quarter-goal markets, as bookmakers see them as confusing, too. You might have seen them listed along the lines of Team A -1.0, -1.5. The quarter-goal markets are a bit more confusing because you are actually placing two wagers – one wager on the half-goal market and one wager on the full-goal market. So, if Team A are -1.0, -1.5, half your stake would be on Team A -1 goal and the other half would be on Team A -1.5 goals. That means that if Team A wins the game by a margin of two goals or more, both bets win and you collect your winnings as usual. If Team A wins the game by a margin of 1 goal, you have one losing bet (on the -1.5 goals market) and one bet that is a push (on the -1 goals market), as it becomes void due to no draw market being offered. And if Team A draw, both bets lose. So, if you see +0.25 goals or something similar, you know to round down to the nearest whole number and also round up to the nearest half number to get both your wagers.
Nowadays, there tends to be more than one Asian Handicap market on offer for most high profile football matches, meaning greater choice for bettors if you do not like the traditional handicap on offer. They might range from +/-0.25 goals to +/-4.75 goals in more one-sided affairs. So the variety is definitely there for you to choose from if you are not a fan of the traditional bets.
The next time you venture into the Asian Handicap markets, keep this in mind when placing your bet and hopefully it will not be as confusing as it first looks.