Asian Handicap Explained

Written by Steven Hubbard
Verified by BettingLounge team
Last updated 04/10/2023

An Asian handicap is a football betting market in which teams are handicapped according to their form. It first originated in Indonesia and has grown into one of the most popular betting markets.

A simple way of looking at the AH is you select the favourite to overcome (negative number) a handicap or go against the favourite (positive number) with the handicap.

You will find numbers like -0.5,-1.0,-1.5 or +0.5, +1.0, +1.5. These numbers show a goal deficit or goal head-start before the game starts. The "+" meaning a goal head-start and the "-" is a goal deficit.

Take Belgium vs Panama as an example. Belgium has a very short price to win the game at 1.21. There is no real value in selecting this bet. And Panama is a very long price at 18.00. Not many people will see value in those odds.

But, Asian Handicap allows you to give Belgium a negative handicap they must overcome to win. Say -2.5 at odds of 2.75. So you are giving Belgium a -2.5 goal deficit to overcome in which they must win by 3 goals or more to win this bet. You should expect Belgium to score quite a few goals. So a +2.5 will not look so great for Panama, but in other games that are closer, it could be good value.

Belgium went on to win 3-0 making the odds of 2.75 pretty decent!

However, if you did choose you to place a +2.5 on Panama for example. Panama starts the game with a +2.5 goal head-start meaning Belgium has to win by three or more goals for you to lose your bet. This is an example of how Asian Handicaps can add value to a game where the outcome is considered (by the bookies) a sure-thing.

Things to be aware of

Round Asian Handicap

If the Asian Handicap is a round number say -1.0 and you bet on Belgium -1.0 and it finished 2-1 Belgium. The handicap is equalled so you get your money back as a refund. However if its more than 1 goal you win and if it’s less than 1 goal you lose.

Two Asian Handicaps Together "+2.0 & +2.5" or "-2.0 & -2.5"

Some bookies offer two AH together in one bet. It may look complicated but it’s not. Simply, your stake is split between the two different handicaps.  Half of your stake goes to +2.0 and a half goes to +2.5.

Again it’s just a goal deficit or head start, so it’s no different in working out what you need to win.

Asian Total

You can also come across an Asian Total market, which is essentially an over/under market. However, in AT you can have a quarter and whole goal totals such as over 1.75 or over 2.0. This allows for half wins, half losses and refunded bets on whole goal totals.

For over 2.0 your bet is won if there are over two goals scored, however, if there are only two goals scored your bet will be refunded. Unlike the normal overs market, if you bet on over 2.5 goals you would not get a refund if there were just two goals.

The same principle applies to under's too. If there were less than two goals you win, but exactly two goals and you get a refund.

For the quarter bets, your stake is split in two. So if you bet on under 2.25 half goes to under 2.0 and the other half goes to under 2.5.

If you bet on over 2.75 you again split your stake into two. Half your stake will go to over 2.50 and a half with go to over 3.0.

Steven is an experienced iGaming content writer who has been working in the industry since 2018. He is passionate about sports betting and enjoys writing about all aspects of the industry, including bookmaker reviews, betting tips and strategies, and news and analysis. If you have any questions about online gambling in the UK, please don't hesitate to contact him.