Asian Handicap +0

Updated: 6536 Other

The Asian Handicap (AH) is a way to “even up”football matches so that there are two outcomes to bet on, usuallyeach with about the same probability. OLBG has a great article onthe basics of betting with the Asian Handicap.Imagine a

Asian Handicap +0
Darren Brett Tipster Competition Manager

Horse Racing, greyhounds and snooker specialist with thirty years experience of writing about sport across multiple platforms. A QPR and Snooker fan

In many cases, you look at the 1x2 odds and think there is no value at the prices. 

We have all seen matches where the favourites are too short in the betting and the outsiders no value to win the game. 

Your next step should be to consider the Asian Handicap.

The Asian Handicap

Your initial reticence about having a bet can be transformed when the A/H prices are in front of you. 

The Asian Handicap (AH) is a way to “even up” football matches so that there are two outcomes to bet on, usually each with about the same probability.

OLBG has always had great articles on the basics of betting with the Asian Handicap, and I hope you enjoy this one. 

Asian Handicaps The Basics

Imagine a tug of war between two teams, ten feet apart. There is a handkerchief tied around the rope and every time a team scores, the handkerchief is pulled a foot closer to them.

The team with the handkerchief nearest to them at the end of the game is the team that wins the AH bet. 

If the handkerchief finishes in the middle then the outcome of the AH betting market is called a “push” meaning that all bets are refunded

The way to “even up” an uneven game is to start the handkerchief nearer to the weaker of the two teams. 

So in some cases a team might win the AH without winning the actual game. 

The position of the metaphorical handkerchief at the start of the game is called the “line” or the “handicap”.

What is a push in Asian Handicap Betting?

A push is when your Asian Handicap bet is refunded because there is no winner.

The key differences between AH betting and the full time result market (1X2) betting, are that there are only two outcomes to bet on in the AH (the push can't be bet on), and on most AH lines available from bookmakers, the odds of these two outcomes are nearly always somewhere around even money. 

The odds for either the home or the away team might be even money on a 1X2 market, but they can never both be near to evens. With the draw as a third possibility the chances of the three outcomes would then add up to more than 100%, which can't happen if the bookie wants to make a profit. 

The +0,-0 Line

Perhaps the simplest of AH lines to understand is +0,-0; this is where there is no advantage to either side, so the handkerchief starts out exactly halfway between them. 

This means that whichever team wins the game will be the same team that wins the AH, the only difference between the AH and 1X2 here is that if the game is a draw, then punters who backed either team on the Asian Handicap will receive their stakes back, (a push). 

In an EPL match between Bournemouth and Newcastle, you can compare the odds on offer, remember there is no draw price on AH. 


Result Asian Handicap Odds Standard Betting Odds
Bournemouth 1.65 2.37
Newcastle 2.20 3.20
Draw - 3.20


Let's say for example you are convinced Bournemouth will win the game but are a touch worried about the draw, and rate Newcastle as having no chance. 

You can place the A/H bet and do not need to worry about Newcastle equalising at any time, with the draw taken out of the bet. 

If it ended up 1-1 you would get your stake back. 

1X2 v The Asian Handicap

I have looked at all the Premier League games with the AH line at +0,-0 from the seasons 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15. 

The odds in these games over the period I have looked at have tended to be shorter for the home team, suggesting that there will be more home wins than away wins. 

In fact, when we look at the results, it has actually transpired that there are more away wins than home wins. 

It is important not to misunderstand this result, this doesn't mean is that we should go out and back the away side on the AH every time the AH line is at +0,-0. What I think it does mean is that these types of bet are often worthy of closer inspection.

Obviously the odds given for the away side of the AH are not as high as we would get for backing the away side on the 1X2 market. 

The question is, do we get more of an advantage from this differential in the price or do we get more benefit from receiving our stake back if the game is a draw?

One way of answering this is to look at a sample of games and compare the return from backing every away side on the 1X2 market, and the return from backing the same teams in the AH. 

Away Teams

Backing the away team on the AH returned a bigger % profit than backing the away team on the 1x2 market.

In the four seasons worth of games where the relevant data is available, backing the away team on the 1X2 market in each of game would have given a very small profit (about 1.3%).

Backing the away team each time on the AH would have given a profit of about 7% overall, which suggests that the AH market does give better value, or rather that the savings from returned stakes on drawn matches are bigger than the differential in price for the games where the away team won. 

So when we see games with this line, it seems that it is better to back on the AH, rather than going for the bigger rewards that we would get by using the 1X2 market. There will be the same number of winning bets and with a smaller return, but we will lose less often in return, and be better off overall.

As always when a betting strategy is analysed with past results, two things must be borne in mind. Firstly, the sample might not be representative of what has happened in the past. I only had the data on AH prices and lines for four seasons, and it is possible that these seasons could have been unusual compared to other seasons. 

Secondly, even if the sample is representative of what has happened in the past, it does not always follow that the way things were in the past will be the same in the future. The biggest threat to the possibility of acting on the information in this blog would be if bookmakers decided to start pricing up AH markets differently.

Why More Value With The AH

If bookmakers had lost money on the AH market in the past, they might be less generous with the odds in the future.

But in this case it doesn't follow that bookmakers will have lost money; what has happened is that the home team has been backed more often than their winning chances suggested they should be, and the prices have been changed accordingly. 

The bookies are probably happy with the result, because if there is one result that is bad for them in any market, it is nearly always the outcome with the shortest price.

Betting School Image

It does have to be assumed that the bookies know that for the past few seasons, the AH has performed better for winning punters than the 1X2.

The question has to be asked, is it too good to be true that they would allow this to continue? I would argue there is a good reason to think that they might. 

Bookmakers know that the casual punter is going to use the 1X2 market (and probably back multiples as well), and this is where the majority of their income will come from. 


Football Profits

I feel +0,-0 AH lines can be a good source of profits.

Many of the costs that are associated with running the 1X2 market (data costs, odds compilers, website running costs) are not increased much by running AH markets in addition to 1X2 markets.

If a bookmaker already operates 1X2 and other markets, when deciding whether to offer AH markets, the extra costs of doing so are so small, that it might still be good business to open these markets even if the margins are going to be smaller. 

The benefits of doing so are that they might be able to take customers from other bookmakers who don't offer AH markets, and potentially that they may be able to use shrewder punters who back on AH markets to help them to set their odds on the 1X2 markets.

Overall I think that bookies who offer AH markets accept that they will have a lower margin on those markets.

With this is mind I think games with +0,-0 AH lines can be a good source of profits in the future for shrewd punters. 

Further reading and helpful information on the Asian Handicap is available at the OLBG Betting School.

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