While the growing popularity of betting the Asian handicap is largely attributed to the increased winning odds it offers, one can only truly benefit from those markedly improved odds if they have a bearing on how Asian handicap betting actually works. In fact, Asian handicaps offer an increased winning chance of up to 50% more than conventional odds, with punters as far as Europe taking to what has been a firm favourite of Far East Asian sports bettors and enjoying higher, more frequent returns.
In order to gain a better understanding of exactly how Asian handicap betting works, one has to keep in mind that they can walk away with winnings, even in the event that the team they selected draws or loses their match. It isn’t necessarily about putting your money on one team and simply hoping that it wins.
With that in mind, the next step to understanding Asian handicaps requires you to wrap your head around the fact that you have to make your pick from only two possibilities, that being whether the home team wins, or alternatively the away team wins. Things can get a bit more confusing from here on, but just keep in mind these two options to choose from (HOME WIN/AWAY WIN).
The absence of the DRAW outcome as an option is essentially where Asian handicap betting differs from orthodox odds betting, effectively accounting for the increased odds that can make you a more frequent winner. The two available options are usually represented as 1×2 (1 or 2) — 1 = HOME TEAM WIN and 2 = AWAY TEAM WIN, unless otherwise stated by the betting service provider.
Now comes the most important part of understanding how Asian handicaps work — the key-phrase itself, “handicap”. The fundamental principle of Asian handicap betting is centred on a handicap assigned to each of the two teams involved and the difference in their perceived (determined by the bookmaker) ability. For example, if the Spanish La Liga club giants Real Madrid (home team) are up against Ajax Amsterdam (away team) in their Uefa Champions League group stage fixture, given the history, pedigree and other factors of the two clubs, Real Madrid would naturally be expected to get a more positive result and they would then be the favourites.
For the purpose of developing our Real Madrid example further, let’s assume in another wager, Real Madrid (home team) was pitted against a lower-league side, Sporting Gijon (away team) in the Spanish League Cup. In this instance, Real Madrid would still be favourites, but for arguments sake (probably in reality too), this Real Madrid vs. Sporting Gijon match-up carries a much bigger difference in ability between the two clubs than that of the Real Madrid vs. Ajax Amsterdam match-up. This is a very important observation as Asian handicap betting determines handicaps based on this difference, in that the greater this difference in ability between the two teams is, the greater the handicap would subsequently be. To go back to our Real Madrid example, any person who follows football would naturally expect Real Madrid to beat Sporting Gijon by more goals than they’d be expected to beat Ajax Amsterdam.
So, based on this difference in the involved teams’ abilities, a bigger handicap is assigned and the underdogs are then assigned a “head-start” (handicap) over the team favoured to win. The team favoured to win then has to overcome the assigned handicap and will have it deducted from their final score (e.g. If Real Madrid was assigned a handicap of 1 (indicated as -1), if they score 4 goals in their match against Ajax, their final score will be adjusted to 3).
Since the team expected to lose (Ajax in this instance) is granted the head-start, the handicap is ADDED to their final score (example, if Ajax scores 1 goal in the game and the handicap assigned to them was 1 (indicated as +1), their final score will be adjusted to 2 goals.
A handicap is either added to the underdog or deducted from the favourite, never both at the same time and handicaps are determined by the bookmaker, with corresponding payouts for results ranging from losing your entire stake to winning (your stake gets multiplied by the odds if you win). In between these two parameters, you can win half your stake (multiplied by the odds), lose half (half is returned to you) or you can have your bet refunded, depending on the outcome of the match.