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Asian handicap betting is one of the best ways to wager on soccer, but it can be confusing for North American bettors at first glance.

Asian handicap betting is similar to other forms of point spread betting, and actually simplifies wagering on soccer because it reduces the number of potential outcomes bettors need to consider.

The purpose of an Asian handicap is straightforward: eliminate the draw from the betting card and equalize the action on games between mismatched teams.

Read on for a full break down of Asian handicap bets and how to be successful wagering on them.

Asian Handicapping Eliminates the Draw

Unlike popular North American sports such as football and basketball, soccer matches often end in a tie, or draw. In fact, more than a quarter of English League games have ended in a draw throughout history, and the number of draws have only increased over the years. 1-1 is the most common result seen in soccer.

As such, most soccer bets ask you to wager on three distinct outcomes: Team A win, Team B win, or tie. Three-way moneylines and double chance wagers fall into this category.

Bettors who don’t want to consider the possibility of a draw are left to choose between draw no bet and Asian handicap lines, both of which offer only two potential outcomes.

Draw No Bet vs. Asian Handicap

Draw no bet wagers also allow you to eliminate the draw when betting on soccer, but they differ slightly from Asian handicaps. It’s easiest to think of draw no bet wagers like two-way moneylines in sports like hockey or baseball. You pick a team to win the match straight up, and your wager is simply returned if competition ends in a draw.

Asian handicap bets avoid the possibility of a draw by ‘giving’ points to the underdog and ‘laying’ them against the favorite. Because we are adding or subtracting points from the final score no matter what, it’s not possible for both teams to finish the match with the same score.

How Does the Soccer Spread Work?

Most North American bettors can quickly grasp the concept behind the Asian handicap. Reading the lines can be a different story, however, as spreads with Asian handicaps often include values that don’t appear on betting cards for other sports.

The team that appears with a negative handicap value is the favorite, as the book is subtracting points from their final score in order to even the playing field. The team with a positive value is the underdog, and the book is giving them those points to bolster their final score.

Typically, the book will set a primary or main Asian handicap line that loosely reflects their prediction of the actual outcome and intends to attract equal action on both sides. This value is most often a half point (+0.5 & -0.5), but sometimes differs. Bettors also have the option to bet alternate Asian handicaps, with most books allowing you to lay -0.25, -0.50, -0.75, -1, -1.25, -1.50, -1.75, or -2.0 on the favorite. You can give +0.25, +0.50, +0.75, +1, +1.25, +1.50, +1.75, or +2.0 to the underdog.

So, what do all those half points and quarter points really mean?

What’s the Deal with 0.25, 0.5, & 0.75?

Asian handicaps that do not use whole numbers guarantee that the result is not a push, as no team can score a quarter or half of a goal.

Point spread bettors will be familiar with seeing half points on basketball or football lines, and they function the same way with Asian handicaps, such that a team must win by the next whole number in order to cover the spread.

Quarter points act as something of an insurance policy by dividing your stake and placing two separate wagers – one on the closest whole number and one on the closest half number.

Say you wager $100 on Chelsea at +0.75 in a matchup against Arsenal. You’ve placed $50 on Chelsea to lose the match by less than two, and $50 on the match ending in a draw or outright Chelsea win. If they end up losing by one, you’ve lost one wager but won the other, meaning you come out with a profit equal to half your original stake.

Reference the table below for a complete breakdown of the way your Asian handicap will be graded against a particular result:

Asian Handicap Results: 0 – 1.00

Handicap Team Result Bet Result Handicap Team Result Bet Result
0 Win Win 0 Win Win
0 Draw Stake Refund 0 Draw Stake Refund
0 Lose Lose 0 Lose Lose
-0.25 Win Win +0.25 Win Win
-0.25 Draw Half Lose +0.25 Draw Half Win
-0.25 Lose Lose +0.25 Lose Lose
-0.50 Win Win +0.50 Win Win
-0.50 Draw Lose +0.50 Draw Win
-0.50 Lose Lose +0.50 Lose Lose
-0.75 Win by 2+ Win +0.75 Win Win
-0.75 Win by 1 Half Win +0.75 Draw Win
-0.75 Draw Lose +0.75 Lose by 1 Half Lose
-0.75 Lose Lose +0.75 Lose by 2+ Lose
-1.00 Win by 2+ Win +1.00 Win Win
-1.00 Win by 1 Stake Refund +1.00 Draw Win
-1.00 Draw Lose +1.00 Lose by 1 Stake Refund
-1.00 Lose Lose +1.00 Lose by 2+ Lose

Now that we’ve reviewed the different betting options available on up to one-goal Asian handicaps, let’s take a look at a few more bets you can make on up to two-goal handicaps.

Asian Handicap Results: 1.25 – 2.00

Handicap Team Result Bet Result Handicap Team Result Bet Result
-1.25 Win by 2+ Win +1.25 Win Win
-1.25 Win by 1 Half Lose +1.25 Draw Win
-1.25 Draw Lose +1.25 Lose by 1 Half Win
-1.25 Lose Lose +1.25 Lose by 2+ Lose
-1.50 Win by 2+ Win +1.50 Win Win
-1.50 Win by 1 Lose +1.50 Draw Win
-1.50 Draw Lose +1.50 Lose by 1 Win
-1.50 Lose Lose +1.50 Lose by 2+ Lose
-1.75 Win by 3+ Win +1.75 Win Win
-1.75 Win by 2 Half Win +1.75 Draw Win
-1.75 Win by 1 Lose +1.75 Lose by 1 Win
-1.75 Draw Lose +1.75 Lose by 2 Half Lose
-1.75 Lose Lose +1.75 Lose by 3+ Lose
-2.00 Win by 3+ Win +2.00 Win Win
-2.00 Win by 2 Stake Refund +2.00 Draw Win
-2.00 Win by 1 Lose +2.00 Lose by 1 Win
-2.00 Draw Lose +2.00 Lose by 2 Stake Refund
-2.00 Lose Lose +2.00 Lose by 3+ Lose

Try not to become overwhelmed with all the numbers you see here. When preparing to wager on a soccer match, simply perform your own handicap and add or subtract quarter or half points to adjust the amount of risk you’re willing to take on the wager.

Looking for Other Ways to Bet on Soccer?

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, with more top-tier leagues and professional athletes playing around the globe than in any other sport. With so many games to bet on, it’s only natural to diversify your strategy and try your hand at a variety of different wagering types.

Review all of the options in our beginner’s guide to soccer betting and make sure you understand the differences between betting on soccer vs. other sports before laying down your hard-earned cash.

As always, be sure to bet within your limits and enjoy the action!