A market that causes a great deal of confusion but often offers very good value. It got the name “Asian handicap” because it is the preferred form of betting in the far east. Profit margins are far lower than most other markets, often just a couple of percent. I will try to explain how they work as simply as I can. Don’t worry if you don’t understand it straight away, many people don’t, take your time and read over what I have written a couple of times. You can play around with it on Betfair too, just pick a game, click on Asian handicaps and click the “back” box. A bet slip will appear on the right hand side explaining what you win or lose from each outcome.

The simplest type of Asian handicap is exactly the same bet as draw no bet. Both teams will appear with a +0 next to them, the bet is void in the event of a draw.

Another type of Asian handicap is to back a team +1 or -1. You might back an outsider +1 or back a strong favourite -1. Backing a strong favourite -1 is basically backing them to win by more than one goal. If they win by exactly one goal then you lose nothing and your stake is returned as the one goal margin they have won by is cancelled out by the -1 handicap. If they win by two or more then your bet is a winner.

A slightly more complicated Asian handicap is backing a team to win +1.5 or -1.5. This should be thought of in exactly the same way as over/under 2.5 goals. If the team you are backing -1.5 wins by two goals then your bet is a winner, if they win by only one goal then your bet is a loser.

It is the same as backing a team -1 only you have no insurance if the team wins by one goal. Remember if you back a team -1 and they win by one, then you get your money back, but if you back them -1.5 and they win by one then the bet is a loser. The most complicated Asian handicap is when the previous two bets are combined and you are given the option of backing a team -1 & -1.5. Although it looks very complicated it is actually quite simple. All you have to do to understand it is split the bet in two. Half of your bet is for “team A” to win -1 and the other half of your stake is for “team A” to win -1.5. If we back team A at evens to win -1 & -1.5 for a £100 stake, then the following will happen:

Team A wins by 2 goals or more = win £100 (Both parts of the bet have won)

Team A wins by 1 goal = lose £50 (you get your money back for the first part of the bet but lose £50 on the second part)

Team A does not win = lose £100 (both parts of your bet have lost)

Asian handicaps are most useful if you want to back a short priced favourite to win by a big margin or for an outsider to only lose by a small margin or to draw. For example, if you back a team +1 then you have both the draw and them winning as positive results.

This was written by a professional odds compiler.
More from him in the free soccer betting course over at