The Asian Handicap is a form of football betting that eliminates the possibility of a draw from the outcome, and therefore has only two possible results instead of three. (If a bookmaker offers a full goal handicap where the bet ends in a ‘draw,’ the stake is always refunded).
It does this by offering a handicap on the favourite to the value of ‘half’ or ‘quarter’ a goal. Therefore if Barcelona played Valencia the bookmaker may offer Barcelona at -0.5 on the Asian Handicaps. This means Barcelona are deducted ‘half’ a goal before the match kicks off, so if they win the match they win on the handicaps, but if they draw Valencia would win, having started ‘half’ a goal up.
Similarly, if Barcelona played Getafe, they might start at -2.5 on the Asian Handicap. This means they would have to win by three clear goals to win the bet.
Bookmakers may also offer a handicap of a quarter, in which case the bet is split in two.
For example, Real Madrid play Espanyol and bookmakers offer an Asian Handicap of Madrid -1.25. In this case, half the bet goes on Madrid -1.5 and half goes on Madrid -1. If Madrid win by two clear goals, both bets win; if they win by one the -1.5 part loses but the -1 stake is refunded.
If the match ends in a draw both bets lose.
Asian Handicaps are popular because as as well as the removal of one of the three possible match outcomes, it enables gamblers to take inflated odds on heavy favourites without having to place a large layout in the hope of little return.
Favourite backers will happily ‘give’ a goal or two away at the start in the knowledge that their team will likely dominate the match. Similarly, backers of outsiders given little chance of winning the match can return a profit if their team performs well but still goes down by a narrow margin.
Asian handicaps are popular in-play betting markets, as a new market and handicap can be created after each goal. In this event, the in-play bet will start from current score rather than 0-0.