Guide to Asian Handicap Betting - Asian Handicap Lines Explained

Updated: 9787 Other

Readers will already be familiar with theconcept of value and will recognise that there are some footballgames that are best left alone from a betting point of view.However, readers that are not familiar with the Asian Handicap (AH),may be ignoring

Guide to Asian Handicap Betting - Asian Handicap Lines Explained
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

Readers will already be familiar with the concept of value and will recognise that there are some football games that are best left alone from a betting point of view. 

However, readers that are not familiar with the Asian Handicap (AH), maybe ignoring certain games, where there are value bets on offer.

The Asian Handicap is a way to “even up” football matches so that there are two outcomes to bet on. 

The OLBG betting school has great articles on the basics of Asian Handicap Betting.

Asian Handicap Summary

It may help to imagine a tug of war between two teams, ten feet apart with a handkerchief tied around the rope; every time a team scores, the handkerchief is pulled a foot closer to them. 

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The team with the handkerchief nearest to them at the end of the game is the team that wins the Asian Handicap 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 game is “evened up” by starting the handkerchief nearer to the weaker of the two teams. 

The position of the metaphorical handkerchief at the start of the game is called the “line” or the “handicap”. Asian Handicap Line bets are placed on either the favourite to overcome a handicap (-goals) or on the opposition receiving a handicap on top of their actual score (+goals).

Asian Handicaps Value

This is the second blog in a series and in the previous blog the simplest of Asian Handicap lines was examined, the line used for about 12% of games in the Premier League where there is no advantage to either side (the handkerchief starts out exactly half way 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 bettors who backed either team on the AH will get their stakes back.

For two equally matched teams, the handicap line is 0, when a draw occurs all bets are void and stakes are returned to the bettor. 

The AH is different from most of the more “exotic” betting markets, in that rather than offering more outcomes than the “standard” 1X2, it is actually offering one fewer.

The last blog showed that despite the lower odds that go with this, the reduced risk made this bet better value than betting on the 1X2. 

Regardless of the line involved, with the Asian Handicap the prices tend to the a little more generous, and with only two outcomes to bet on; a bettor can often find a value bet on a game where the 1X2 does not offer any value.

Explanation of the One Goal Asian Handicap Markets

(-1, +1)

One line that is seen often is the -1 or +1 line, this will be seen where the away side is seen as being quite weak. 

In order to win the handicap the home side need to win by two goals, just drawing the game is enough for the away side to win the handicap and they would also win the handicap by winning the game. 

If the home side wins the game by a single goal then the result of the handicap is a push.

About 9% of games have this line and this is good where an away side is favoured in this type of game, but where a draw or even a narrow defeat is seen as a possibility. 

Like the +0,-0, the Asian Handicap is going to give less good odds on the away team than 1X2. 

A bettor is sacrificing some profit for the huge advantage that he still wins with the draw and that he gets his stake back in the event that the away team win by a single goal.

You can see by the playoff game between Brentford and Swansea the range and difference between the Asian Handicap lines in the top table, and the 1x2 standard odds in the bottom table.

The odds come from BetVictor. 

Team Asian Handicap Decimal Odds
Brentford +1 1.04
Swansea +1 1.8
Brentford -1 2.12
Swansea -1 14.0


Team Decimal Odds
Brentford 1.62
Swansea 5.5
Draw 4.1


If you think Brentford are destined for the playoff Final and will blitz Swansea easily then the Asian Odds of 2.12 (-1) could be the way to go.

If you think Swansea will not lose then the + 1 on the Welsh side could be a bet. 

If you are even more confident on the Swans or like some real value then 14.0 is a huge price for them at (-1), you do not need many 14.0 bets to make a profit. 


In 2019 again the away team Derby beat the hot home favourites Leeds 4-2 in the second leg of the Championship Playoffs, and were like Swansea similarly underdogs.

In 2016 the away team Derby beat the home hot favourites Hull City 2-0 in the second leg of the Championship Playoffs and were like Swansea similarly underdogs. 

Explanation of the Half Goal Asian Handicap Market

(-0.5, +0.5)

Another common line to see is where the home team is seen to be the more likely to win, so the away team is given an advantage of 0.5 goals (written as -0.5, +0.5 or -0.5). 

Going back to the handkerchief metaphor, this is where the away tug of war team starting with the handkerchief half a foot nearer to them. 

The handkerchief can only move in whole feet, so if they lose the game they have still lost, but if the handkerchief is not moved or returns to its starting position, then this is still a win to the away team on the handicap.

With this line there can be no push because it is impossible to score half a goal. 

These odds are from bet365. 

Team Asian Handicap Decimal Odds
Brentford +0.5 1.17
Swansea +0.5 2.35
Brentford -0.5 1.57
Swansea -0.5 5.0

About 13% of games have this handicap line, and it can be a very profitable option where the away side is favoured but where the prospect of a draw is also a worry that means the straight away bet doesn't appeal.

So far in this blog, three of the most common Asian Handicap lines have been mentioned, +0,-0; -0.5, +0.5 & -1, +1. I have given roughly the percentage of Premier League games where these games happen (roughly 12%, 13% and 9% respectively) but eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that these percentages add up to only 34%.

If these are the most common, then there must be a lot of different lines to cover. Of course, the -0.5,+0.5 and -1,+1 lines, have their opposite numbers where it is the away side that is rated higher and so the home side is given the advantage.

These lines work exactly the same, apart from the other way around and these account for about 13% of Premier League games between them. 

There are also lines where an advantage of more than one goal is given to one team or another, and while each individual line on its own is relatively uncommon, as a group the various different ones account for about 19% of games.

Explanation of the Quarter Goal Asian Handicap Market

(-0.25, +0.25, 0.75, +0.75)

Readers who have looked at the AH lines available will have seen ones like -0.25, +0.25 and -0.75, +0.75. 

In explaining the -0.5, 0.5 line it was pointed out that it is possible only to score one complete goal at a time. 

Teams can't ever score half goals and the reason for having a line at half a goal is to show that one team or the other will win the handicap if the game is a draw. 

These odds from bet365. 

Team Asian Handicap Decimal Odds
Brentford +0.25 1.19
Swansea +0.25 2.85
Brentford -0.25 1.4
Swansea -0.25 4.5
Brentford +0.75 1.1
Swansea +0.75 2.05
Brentford -0.75 1.75
Swansea -0.75 6.8


Obviously, if the line at 0.25 or 0.75 had the same meaning there would be no difference between those lines and 0.5, but in fact, the numbers 0.25 and 0.75 are not being used in that sense. 

They are actually being used as shorthand for a mixture of two lines. The line -0.75 for the home team for example, really means -1 & -0.5; what the bookmaker is saying here is that a punter who backs the home team at -0.75 is having two AH bets, one on the -1 line and one on the -0.5 line.

It is, therefore, possible to get a situation where half of the bet wins and half losses, or where half wins and half is a push.

For example, if a bettor backs team A at 0.25. He has effectively made two bets, one at 0 and one at 0.5. If the teams draw, then the 0 bet will be a push, but the +0.5 bet will be a win. 

In practice, this line is often used for away teams where the two teams are evenly matched, and it is a line that those who bet successfully the AH will use often.

When two teams are seen as being quite evenly matched the line will be put at -0.25,+0.25 with the advantage on the handicap going to the away side to account for the natural advantage enjoyed by the home team.

Bettors who think that an away side will win, but are worried about the draw can use this line to great effect, meaning that they can usually get near to even money on the away team winning, but also enjoy a small return in the event of a draw.

This line is seen about 17% of the time, so every week there will be a few games where it is offered. 

The draw often makes these games difficult to pick on the 1X2 market and they would often be overlooked, but with the luxury of a small return for the draw they can be very lucrative indeed.

Breakdown of Popular Asian Handicap Lines and Outcomes.

Favourites Underdogs
Handicap Line Team Result Bet Outcome Handicap Line Team Result Bet Outcome
0 Win Win 0 Win Win
Draw Push Draw Push
Lose Lose Lose Lose
-0.25 Win Win 0.25 Win Win
Draw Half Lose/Half Push Draw Half Win/Half Push
Lose Lose Lose Lose
-0.5 Win Win 0.5 Win Win
Draw Lose Draw Win
Lose Lose Lose Lose
-0.75 Win by 2 or more Win 0.75 Win Win
Win by 1 goal Half Win/Half Push Draw Win
Draw Lose Lose by 1 goal Half Lose/Half Push
Lose Lose Lose by 2 or more Lose
-1 Win by 2 or more Win 1 Win Win
Win by 1 goal Push Draw Win
Draw Lose Lose by 1 goal Push
Lose Lose Lose by 2 or more Lose
-1.25 Win by 2 or more Win 1.25 Win Win
Win by 1 goal Half Lose/Half Push Draw Win
Draw Lose Lose by 1 goal Half Win/Half Push
Lose Lose Lose by 2 or more Lose
-1.5 Win by 2 or more Win 1.5 Win Win
Win by 1 goal Lose Draw Win
Draw Lose Lose by 1 goal Win
Lose Lose Lose by 2 or more Lose
-1.75 Win by 3 or more Win 1.75 Win Win
Win by 2 goals Half Win/Half Push Draw Win
Win by 1 goal Lose Lose by 1 goal Win
Draw Lose Lose by 2 goals Half Lose/Half Push
Lose Lose Lose by 3 or more Lose
-2 Win by 3 or more Win 2 Win Win
Win by 2 goals Push Draw Win
Win by 1 goal Lose Lose by 1 goal Win
Draw Lose Lose by 2 goals Push
Lose Lose Lose by 3 or more Lose

Asian Handicap Glossary:

Asian Line Handicap Betting: The favoured team to beat a handicap (-goals), or on the weaker team receiving a handicap on top of their actual score (+goals).

Push: Your stake is returned.

Half Win: Half your stake X by the odds, half your stake returned.

Half Lose: Lose half your stake, half is returned.

Best Bookies for Asian Handicap:

As recommended by OLBG Forum member mathsbet: “Bet365 usually has the best range of Asian Handicaps in my experience, and if they aren't offering handicap markets, they usually can't be found anywhere else. 

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Bet365 are generally better odds on handicaps than Paddy Power, except when opposing favourites.

If you have any questions on the Asian Handicap please do ask on this Asian Handicap Forum Thread , we realise it can be daunting getting your head around this different aspect of betting, OLBG members on the forum will be more than happy to help.

Check out all the Asian Handicap Prices on this weeks matches.

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