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How do Asian Handicaps Work?

Asian handicap represents one of the most popular betting markets for football events and deserves to be properly explained as such. Many experienced bettors, let alone beginners, generally struggle to understand it to the full extent which is why we have decided to write a proper guide covering everything you need to know about this exciting market. In this task we have been helped by the expert tipsters at

Asian handicap was named after its continent of origin because it was initially utilized in Indonesia. It has quickly spread out across the planet and is now one of the main betting markets for the most popular sport on the globe. It is also applied to other sports, as you will see later in the article. 

Asian Handicap – Definition 

While the rules, the lines, and the plus/minus signs might seem confusing, the market itself is very simple in reality once you figure out the main principles. The best way to help you understand Asian handicap is to underline the following: 

  • There are only two possible outcomes
  • The favorite always carries the minus (-) sign, while the underdog is always marked with the plus (+) sign
  • The value of the Asian handicap is the line set by the bookmakers 

With Asian handicap, there are only two possible outcomes as you can either back the home or the away team. This reduces variance present with full time winner markets where there are three possible outcomes including the draw. 

The fact the favorite always carries the minus sign is pretty self-explanatory because the bookies are trying to even the playing field by taking a goal (or two, or three, depending on the line) from the favorites and giving it to the underdogs, hence the plus sign for the latter option. 

Finally, you should know there are different lines set by the bookmakers and you get to choose whichever you prefer. The odds move correspondently but you will best learn more about this through the examples from below. These lines typically cause most problems to the bettors which is why we will go through each individually. 

Asian Handicap 0

We will start with the Asian Handicap 0, also known as Draw No Bet (DNB). This second name pretty much sums up the main point, there is no draw in this type of bet. You get to back either the home win or the away win. If the game ends in a draw, the bookmakers will refund your stake and this is the main difference between DNB and a standard full time winner pick where you have three possible outcomes. 

Asian Handicap 1 (or 2,3,4 etc.) 

The principle is identical to the Asian handicap with any rounded number. Here is an example: 

  • Manchester City -1
  • Arsenal +1

As always, there are just two possible bets for this marker as you can either back Manchester City to win in -1 Asian Handicap or Arsenal to win in +1 Asian Handicap. If you decide to go for the former variant, you need Manchester City to win by two or more goals difference for your pick to be a winner. If the Citizens win by exactly one goal margin, the bookies will refund your stake. In case of a draw or any Arsenal win, your pick is a loser.

If you decide to go for Arsenal +1, you will need Arsenal to win or draw to land the pick. If the Gunners lose by exactly one goal difference, you will get a refund, while any Man City win by two or more goals makes your bet a losing one. 

The principle is identical for all higher rounded lines, including -2, -3, -4, -5, etc. These higher lines are offered in the matches between two teams with a huge gulf in quality between them. For example, you’ll see something like a -6 handicap in the clash between England and Gibraltar in the EURO Qualifiers. 

Asian Handicap 0.5 (or 1.5, 2.5, 3.5, etc.)

This handicap moves away from the refund part. If you bet on half goals handicaps, your bet can only be a winner or a loser, there is no middle ground like refunds with the whole numbers (as explained above). We will use the same example: 

  • Manchester City -1.5
  • Arsenal +1.5

The situation is now clearer with these half goals’ handicaps. If you bet on Man City -1.5, you need them to win by two or more goals difference. Any other scenario, including Man City’s win by a single goal margin, a draw, and any Arsenal win, makes the pick losing. The same works the other way around, meaning if you bet Arsenal +1.5, you need them to either win, draw, or lose by a single goal margin to land your bet. 

The principle is identical with higher numbers. If you bet on England to beat San Marino in a -5.5 Asian Handicap, you need the Three Lions to win by six or more goals to land the pick. Any other scenario makes it a loser. 

Asian Handicap 0.25 (or 1.25, 2.25, 3.25 etc.) 

We now come to the versions most bettors struggle to understand. We will break it through in the simplest fashion. What is specific about the 0.25 Asian Handicap is that your stake practically gets divided into two separate (equal) stakes. Half of your stake goes to the Asian Handicap 0 and the other half goes to the Asian Handicap 0.5 pick. This makes the payout somewhat more complicated, with four possible outcomes included, as follows: 

  • A full win – this happens when both of your two separated bets land (both AH 0 and AH 0.5)
  • A partial win – this happens when you win one of your two separate bets while you get a refund for another 
  • A partial loss – this occurs when you lose one of your two separate bets and get a refund on the other
  • A full loss – this occurs when you lose both separate bets 

We will go through the same example: 

  • Manchester City -1.25
  • Arsenal +1.25

Let’s say that you want to back Manchester City in this case. The line is 1.25, meaning your stake goes to two separate bets, one at Asian Handicap 1, and the other at Asian Handicap 1.5. If Manchester City win by two or more goals, both the 1 and the 1.5 handicaps are winners, meaning you get the full win. If the Citizens win by exactly one goal, you will get a refund for half of your stake (the one that went on the AH 1 line), while your second pick (the AH 1.5) will be a loser. 

Asian Handicap 0.75 (or 1.75, 2.75, 3.75, etc.) 

This handicap works in the same manner as the previous one, breaking down your stake into two separate bets. The only difference is that the two new bets are AH 0.5 and AH 1 instead of AH 0 and AH 0.5 in the 0.25 version. So, there are also four possible outcomes, just as described in the above paragraph. Here is our example: 

  • Manchester City -1.75
  • Arsenal +1.75

If you back Manchester City at this line, you need them to win by three or more goals difference for the full win. If they win by two goals, you will win one of two bets (the 1.5 line), while the other half of your stake will be refunded (the one at the 2.0 line). Any other scenario, including the Citizens’ win by one goal margin, makes the bet a loser. 

If you bet on Arsenal +1.75 and they lose by two goals, you will get a refund for half of your stake (the one that went on the 2.0 line), while losing the other half (the one that went on the 1.5 line)