Asian handicap / Hang cheng betting

Asian handicap is a gambling term used to described spread betting. Asian handicap is a way for bookmakers to reduce the number of possible outcomes from three (traditional 1 X 2 betting) to two by eliminating the possibility of a draw. Asian handicap is also a way for bookmakers to reduce their exposure to risk by balancing the amount of wagering on each side of a match where there is a very clear favorite.

The term Asian handicap is fairly young. The method was traditionally used by Asian bookmakers and known as 'hang cheng'. In 1998, a journalist named Joe Saumarez Smith was asked by Joe Phan, an Indonesian bookmaker, to provide an English translation for 'hang cheng' and Smith suggested Asian handicap.

How does Asian handicap work?

The aim of the bookmaker is to create a handicap (also known as line) that will make the chance of either team winning (after the handicap is taken into account) as close to 50 percent as possible. The payout offered will be close to even money; usually between 90% and 100%.

The more of an “underdog” a team is, the higher the handicap. This way, even a highly uneven match will become interesting to bet on, since a superior team must win big – not simply win – to count as the winner in the eyes of the bookmaker taking Asian handicap bets.

Asian handicaps start at a quarter goal and can consist of several goals in matches with a clear favorite. The use of quarter goals and half goals removes the risk of a tie since no team can score a quarter of a goal or half a goal.

Asian handicap for soccer

Asian handicap has become especially popular among punters that wish to bet on soccer matches without the possibility of a tie. Unlike most other popular sports, ties are fairly common in soccer. With traditional fixed odds, most bookmakers have rules that stipulate that anyone with a wager on any of the two teams will lose their money in the event of a tie.

Example

Let's say you want to bet on a match between Team A and Team B, and the bookmaker is offering you the following Asian handicap: 0 : +1.0, +1.5

This means that half of your bet will be on Team B winning, or losing by less than 1 goal. The other half of your bet will be on Team B winning, or losing by less than 1.5 goals.

If the final score turns out to be Team A 1-0 Team B, half of your wager will be returned to you due to draw. (Team B lost by exactly one goal). The second half of you wager would win. (Team B lost by less than 1.5 goals).

In-running Asian handicap betting

In addition to offering wagering opportunities for the end result of the match, many bookmakers (especially online) will allow you to make wagers while the match is in progress. These wagers will be settled according to the scoreline for the remainder of the game. Only goals made after the bet has been placed will count.