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Asian Hendicap

An Asian Handicap (named so simply because of its Eastern origins) is a gambling term used to describe spread betting in soccer that has gained popularity over the years. The handicaps typically range from one quarter goal to several goals and can be described in terms of half or even quarter goals.

Asian Handicaps are both good and bad for bookmakers. On one hand, they help bookmakers minimize risk by facilitating trading with parity or balancing the amount of wagering on each side of the match. This enables bookmakers to take larger positions on major matches. On the other hand, Asian Handicap markets are typically low margin offerings that do not contribute as significantly to the gross win as other, higher vigorish betting options like 1X2

The term Asian Handicap was applied to this method of betting by a journalist, Joe Saumarez Smith, in November 1998. He was asked by an Indonesia bookmaker, Joseph Phan, to provide a translation of the betting method that was termed 'hang cheng betting' by bookmakers in Asia.

Description

Football (called soccer in the US and Canada) is one of the few sports in the world where a tie is a fairly common outcome. With traditional fixed odds, ties are treated as an additional outcome to the game. In other words, bettors lose when they place a wager on either team to win and the game ties. With Asian Handicaps, however, the chance for a tie is eliminated by use of a handicap that forces a winner. This creates a situation where each team has a 50-50 chance of winning; similar to the odds for a basketball or baseball game where a tie is impossible.

Example

Match: Everton vs. Newcastle United

Handicap: 0 : +7.5

Explained: This handicap states that Everton is "giving" Newcastle seven and one half goals for the match.

What this means is that Newcastle is starting the game with a 7.5 goal lead. If the final score of the game is Everton 7-1 Newcastle, then a bet on Newcastle wins with the final score (considering the handicap, Everton 7 - 8.5 Newcastle).

Quarter Goal or Two Way Handicaps

Subsequently, many matches are handicapped in ½ and ¼ intervals; both of which eliminate the possibility of a push since no one can score a half-goal. Quarter (¼) handicaps split the bet between the two next closest ¼ intervals. For instance, a $1000 bet with a handicap of 1 ¾ is the same as betting $500 at 1 ½ and $500 at 2. With ¼ handicap bets, you can win and tie (win ½ of wager) or lose and tie (lose ½ wager). The ¼-goal handicap may be expressed by some bookmakers as "0 and ½", or (especially for bookmakers whose systems are designed for sports like American football and basketball (where bets have a handicap that is designed to make the odds as close to even as possible)) as "pk (for "pick-em") and ½".

Match: Everton vs. Newcastle United

Handicap: 0 : +1.0, +1.5

Explained: This handicap states that half of your bet goes on Newcastle winning by 1 goal, and half on Newcastle winning by 1.5 goals.

If the final score is Everton 1-0 Newcastle, half your bet would be refunded due to draw (Everton 1 - +1 Newcastle). The second half would win (Everton 1 - +1.5 Newcastle).

Whole Handicaps and Draws

In the event that a whole number is used for the handicap, the handicap adjusted final score could result in a draw. This situation is not a draw, but a push. With a push, all bettors have their original wagers returned as there is no winner.

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