Asian Handicap Betting: What Does +0.5 or -0.5 Mean in a Bet?

Man Confused About Asian Handicap BettingAs the name would suggest, Asian Handicap Betting came originally from the far east and has increased in popularity heavily over the years.

Much like in basic handicap betting, the Asian Handicap makes a sporting event more even on the odds by handing a perceived disadvantage, or ‘handicap’, to one team to bring the two sides closer together.

Doing this increases the number of viable betting opportunities available to punters, but unlike in basic handicap betting, the draw is taken out of the equation with only two outcomes possible.

Most punters would have seen this through fractional handicaps, such as +0.5 or -0.5, but AH betting is actually a little more complex than that.

The Asian Handicap Explained

In normal handicap betting, the tie remains possible. A team handicapped at -1 can indeed win by one goal, meaning for betting purposes the match is effectively a draw.

No tie is possible in Asian Handicap betting however, and that’s largely the aim that punters are hoping to achieve when opting for an Asian Handicap over a regular 3-way handicap.

Half Point Handicaps: +0.5 or -1.5

The type of Asian Handicap betting punters in the UK are likely to be most familiar with are the half point handicaps, such as +0.5 or -1.5. This works the same way as a regular handicap except that the possibility of a draw has been completely eliminated.

For example, if you backed a team with a -0.5 goal handicap it means the bet would win if they scored at least one more goal than the other team, and lose if they scored the same or less.

Similarly if a team had a +2.5 handicap that means they could lose the match by up to two goals but your bet would still be successful.

Whole Point & Zero Handicaps: +1 or -2

Whilst most commonly associated with half point betting, you can actually have whole point handicaps in Asian Handicap betting. This works the same way as a regular handicap, except that in the case of a draw your bet is refunded.

So if your team wins after the handicap is applied then you win the bet, if they lose then so do you. And if they tie, you get your money back. Essentially this is the same as the ‘draw no bet’ market but with the introduction of a handicap.

There is also the option to do a zero point Asian Handicap bet, where both teams are considered to be at the same level. In this scenario there is no actual handicap added to either team, it is purely to eliminate the draw.

When a whole number is used for the Asian Handicap, it works the same as the above but where a handicap has been introduced. A plus sign in a team result column on the other hand indicates a ‘by more’ figure, as in ‘2 goals or more’ being represented by ‘2+’.

So if you backed a team with a -1 handicap and they won by one goal, the end result would effectively be a draw and the bet would be refunded. If they won by by two goals or more then the bet would have won, and anything else would be a loss.

Quarter-Goal Handicaps

Asian Handicap Quarter Points

Quarter goal handicaps are where things start to get a little confusing. As with the regular Asian Handicap bets the possibility of a draw has been eliminated, but in this case the bet has been split between the two nearest half-interval bets. The half intervals refer to the whole number and half number bets described above that are the closest to the quarter goal number.

For example, if you placed a wager on a bet that was marked as +1.25 this would split your stake so that half was bet on the +1.00 handicap and half was placed on the +1.5 handicap, with each portion being paid out or refunded as appropriate.

Below you’ll find a table that shows the various bets that are included in each quarter-goal wager.

Handicap Bet 1 Bet 2
+0.25 +0.0 +0.5
-0.25 -0.0 -0.5
+0.75 +1.0 +0.5
-0.75 -1.0 -0.5
+1.25 +1.0 +1.0
-1.25 -1.0 -1.0
+1.75 +2.0 +1.5
-1.75 -2.0 -1.5

To further complicate matters, some bookies choose to list the two bets rather than the quarter point. In the screenshot below you’ll notice that the -1.25 handicap option is listed as (-1, -1.5).

Asian Handicap Quarter Point Example

Some would argue that this is clearer for people less familiar with the concept of quarter point handicaps, but it also adds in another layer of confusion into an already confusing market.

Asian Handicap’s Ties to Football

A traditional handicap betting market or ‘spread’ is very common around the world, as many sports are designed to offer no draw or ‘tie’. Spread betting therefore is the norm in rugby, American football, basketball and Aussie rules among others.

Football however is one of very few popular betting sports that offers the draw as a pretty common outcome. Just under half of all football games end in a home win, with draws and away wins accounting for the rest of results over 90 minutes.

The draw is great for traditional bookies as so few punters go for it. They like to back teams to win, meaning around a quarter of all games provide losing bets for all fixed odds punters on the 1X2 markets.

Asian Handicap betting takes out the draw and forces a winner, using the numbers to give the game an even look.

The Asian Handicap markets have been very popular down the years, increasingly so. Legend has it that the term was coined after an Indonesian bookmaker was asked to offer a translation of “hang cheng betting”, a method already used by Asian bookmakers in the 90’s.