Asian handicap is nowadays one of the most popular forms of betting on football (soccer). As more and more Asian bookmakers entered the European markets in the early 2000's, it quickly became extremely popular worldwide. Let's find out more about Asian handicap betting, where it originated from, why is spread betting so popular and what are the main advantages.
Asian Handicap History
It is known that the "Asian handicap" term was first introduced in Europe by journalist Joe Saumarez Smith in 1998, when he was asked by Indonesian bookmaker, Joe Phan, to provide a translation of the betting method that was known as "hang cheng betting" by bookmakers in Asia. The new betting format turned out to be a success and quickly became a mandatory option for all bookmakers worldwide.
The "hang cheng" betting itself is estimated to have been invented somewhere in the Far East, probably in the early 1990's. However, "hang cheng" or "Asian handicap", is technically the same thing as "spread betting", that was invented much earlier by Charles K. McNeil, a Chicago bookmaker in the 1940's. The only difference between "spread betting", also known as "points spread", and "Asian handicap", is that the first is based on points rather than on goals and thus it is known so in the United States mostly or when talking about US sports. But if we consider the NBA points as "goals", it's one and the same thing, even if the "Asian handicap" term mostly refers to soccer betting.
Asian Handicap Betting Explained
There are no winning and losing teams when taking Asian handicap bets. Let's say that Manchester United is quoted at 1.30 to win at home against Aston Villa, the draw is priced at 4.50 and Aston Villa to win is valued at 9.00. In Asian handicap terms, this match will be transposed into a -1.5 spread for Manchester United and a +1.5 handicap for Aston Villa (spread betting is the same thing as Asian handicap betting). Manchester United -1.5 will be priced at about 1.95, and Aston Villa +1.5 will be priced at about 1.95 too. What does the -1.5 spread mean? It means that Manchester United should be winning by two goals or more if you are to win your bet, assuming that you took them at -1.5. So only a 2-0, 3-0, 3-1, or other wins by two goals or more, will mean the -1.5 Manchester United spread was a winner. All the other scenarios will make +1.5 Aston Villa the winning bet, because they should be losing by two or more, to stay out of the +1.5 spread.
This way it's the spread/handicap you take the decisive point, not the plain results of the teams. So even if the team you bet on might lose or draw, you may still win your bet thanks to a good handicap (spread), although it may happen just the other way around if you back a favorite with a -2 handicap let's say, and if they only win 1-0, the bet is lost even if the favorite team won the game.
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Why Is Spread Betting So Popular?
When you take an Asian handicap bet, the chances are always estimated to be at about 50% each way, as online bookmakers try to balance things up and attract equal amounts of money both ways. Although they use sophisticated programs and hire smart traders for this purpose, it is known that the standard Asian handicap offer is usually the true reflection of the general opinion.
In other words, if bookies estimate that about 50% of the money will go for Manchester United -1.5 and the other half for Aston Villa +1.5, this is the spread they will likely come up with, known as "early odds" or "early offer". The initial spread/handicap might change by the kick-off time and usually, this is a consequence of the money involved.
Things that usually change a spread from its original (early) estimation, are players' injuries, various breaking news that wasn't known before, but also huge amounts of money wagered in a short period of time even though there are no strict rules for that. There are exceptions of course, but we will talk about them on another occasion.
Advantage Of Asian Handicap Betting
The greatest advantage of the Asian handicap betting is the market itself. Due to an easier way for online bookmakers to balance the money involved, Asian handicap markets are high liquidity markets. So in conclusion, you can bet more money on the Asian handicap markets than you would be able to on traditional 1X2 markets.
This also allows sportsbooks to offer low margins markets, also known as reduced vigorish, which in conclusion means better odds. It is often found that while the best traditional European bookmakers will offer 1,90 for 1 - the home team to win (1X2 market) - the same bet can be found in the Asian handicap format, only that it will be known as -0.5 and the odds will be almost always higher - 1.98 instead of 1.90 for example, which is a BIG difference and often delimitates a winning punter from a losing punter.
Asian Handicap Betting Rules:
Please refer to the table below for the asian handicap rules:
Teddie, the Asian Handicap Tipster