Asian Handicaps Explained

Last updated February 12th, 2020

Asian Handicaps, in its simplest form, is a system that is often used to eliminate the option of a draw in football (soccer) matches. This form of betting originated, unsurprisingly, in Asia but is now popular with professional bettors across the globe.

These handicaps can be used to even up a game that on face value looks a forgone conclusion, and so turn it into an intriguing gambling medium. All that despite one team being apparently vastly superior to another.

Many of the explanations we have read for this popular type of bet leave the reader more confused than when he started. The best way to explain this form of betting is by example.

We recommend you read through each example we list below slowly and clearly. Do not move on to the next example until you have understood the first one. If you do this methodically then you will gain a valuable insight into what could be a very profitable form of gambling for you – particularly if you are a keen follower of football.

Example 1 – handicaps of half a goal

Imagine Chelsea v Sunderland in a Premier League football match. In this example, Chelsea are the stronger team.

You might see an Asian handicap expressed like this:

  • Chelsea -0.5, 10/11
  • Sunderland +0.5, 10/11

What this means is that Chelsea have a handicap of -0.5 goals. Sunderland has an advantage, from the start of half a goal. It means if you bet on Chelsea then they need to win by a margin of at least one goal for your bet to win. If you bet on Sunderland and the result is a draw then you will have won.

For instance if the match ends 1-1. Then factoring in the Asian Handicaps the real result is Chelsea +0.5 (1 goal scored – 0.5 goal handicap), Sunderland + 1.5 (1 goal scored + 0.5 goal advantage on the Asian handicap).

Simple. Sunderland has a half goal advantage and Chelsea have a half goal disadvantage. The ’10/11′ is simply the example betting odds for that option expressed in fractions.

There are a variety of handicaps offered on each match, so you may also see this betting option offered:

  • Chelsea -1.5, 13/8
  • Sunderland +1.5, 1/2

This assumes Sunderland has a 1.5 goal headstart. So for a bet on Chelsea to win they must beat Sunderland by a clear two-goal margin or more.


  • Chelsea -2.5, 2/1
  • Sunderland +2.5, 1/3

In this case Chelsea must win by three clear goals for a wager on them to be successful. That is why longer odds of 2/1 are on offer and the odds on Sunderland have shortened compared to the previous examples where the handicap was not as generous to Sunderland.

You can see how Asian Handicaps can take a seemingly one-sided match and make it a more interesting betting event. If you play golf, then it is very similar. As with golf handicaps, the football teams are handicapped to make their chances more even.

Asian handicaps also get a touch more complex as you will see in the next example.

Example 2 – handicaps of 0.75 of a goal

  • Chelsea -1.75, 10/11
  • This may also be expressed as: Chelsea (-1.5,-2), 10/11

Betting on a quarter point splits the bet between the half points either side of it. So if you bet £10 on Chelsea -1.75 you are betting £5 on Chelsea -1.5 and £5 on Chelsea -2.

In that case if Chelsea win by two clear goals half your bet would win (the £5 staked on -1.5) and half your bet would be returned (the £5 on -2).

Example 3 – handicaps of 0.25 of a goal

  • Sunderland +1.25, 10/11

The bet you have is split evenly between +1 advantage and +1.5 goal advantage.

You may also see this quarter point Asian handicap expressed like this. It means exactly the same:

  • Sunderland (+1,+1.5), 10/11


If our explanation has not clarified how Asian handicaps work then just re-read this page slowly. It does all make perfect sense and it is a lot simpler than it may seem to be at first. It is a concept worth bearing with because it could be a niche betting area that suits you. Certainly a lot of professional gamblers do concentrate heavily on the Asian handicap markets.

Bet365 Online Bookmaker is good for Asian Handicap betting.