Handicap and Asian Handicap Bets
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As well as the usual win-draw-win “match odds” markets, bookmakers often produce handicap and asian handicap markets on some sports. These are much more common with US bookies and US sports. Please note that for handicaps and asian handicaps the + or – sign is VERY important.
These work by adding a whole number of goals to one team, so you may see them written as +1 or -1 for example. In a win-draw-win market this results in another 3-way (win-draw-win) market but with the draw now being offset to 1 goal to the team designated +1.
If Team A is +1, the draw is -1 and Team B is -1 then Team A has a 1 goal advantage, and this market behaves as though Team A started the match with 1 goal. Any score which is 1 goal more to Team B will be settled as a draw in this market, eg 1-2. For a bet on Team B to win they must score 2 more goals than Team A. In general if the handicap is -x then the team must score x+1 more goals than their opponents for your bet to win, if the handicap is +x then your bet will win unless the opposition scores x goals more than your team. If the – team scores x goals more than the + team it is a draw..
Betfair does not have handicap markets and handicap bets cannot be laid on the match odds market. They CAN be laid on the Asian handicap market (see below), if the correct handicap is available, as follows:
Back Team A match odds, lay Team A -0.5 AH
Back Team A +1, lay Team A +0.5 AH
Back Team A +2, lay Team A +1.5 AH
Back Team A -1, lay Team A -1.5 AH
Back Team A -2, lay Team A -2.5 AH
You can also dutch these 3-way handicap bets with 2-way Asian Handicaps at other bookies as follows:
Back Team A match odds, back team B +0.5 AH
Back Team A +1, back Team B -0.5 AH
Back Team A +2, back Team B -1.5 AH
Back Team A -1, back Team B +1.5 AH
Back Team A -2, back Team B +2.5 AH.
Note that you can use the first of these to dutch +0.5 asians with Betfair by BACKING team A in the match odds market at Betfair, which is useful for matches where Betfair do not have the correct asian market.
These are more complicated than ordinary handicaps and there are several varieties, but the thing they all have in common is that they eliminate the possibility of a draw. They therefore turn a 3 way win-draw-win market into a 2-way win-win market. Always match like with like when you are backing asians, unless you are dutching with handicaps (see above). You cannot back an asian and lay on the match odds market, except for -0.5, which is the same as match odds for that team. Note that some bookies do not allow asians to count for the WR for a bonus.
Draw No Bet – these are the simplest asians, and look rather like handicap bets, the commonest being +0, -0 (or just 0, or DNB). This means that you get paid out as normal on a win, but if it is a draw you get your money back (void, push, no action are other terms for this). 0 draw no bet markets may be denoted “pk” at US bookies. Betfair sometimes have draw no bet markets, or 0 markets in the asian handicap section, where commonly they have 2 or 3 different asians on the same match. You can also get +1 and -1 draw no bet, which acts like a handicap except that the draw is void. You should be very very careful not to match these with the corresponding handicap bets, as you could be in trouble if the result was a draw (after the handicap).
Standard asians – these use 1/2 a goal to get rid of the possibility of a draw. They may be denoted +/- 0.5, 1.5 etc or +/- 1/2. The important point is that they are 1/2 or 0.5, NOT 1/4 or 0.25, 0.75 etc, and that the figure appears on its own. eg Liverpool -1.5. Match like with like and you will be fine.
Split asians – this is where life gets complicated and confusing. Some bookies split the bet in half so that one half goes on a draw no bet type bet and one half goes on an asian. These can be denoted in various ways, the most common being +/- 0.5, 1, which can also be written 1/2 and 1, or confusingly, +/- 1.25. If you see numbers which are multiples of 1/4 they are always split asians. Betfair do have split asians on some matches – a typical example is shown below:
So, if you were to place a bet on Germany +0&+0.5, you are placing 2 bets: half your stake goes on Germany draw no bet, and wins if Germany wins, but is voided if it is a draw, and half goes on Germany +0.5, which means that the bet wins unless Spain score at least one more goal than Germany. That’s why this bet is odds on – Germany are starting with an advantage. Similarly the Spain +0&+0.5 is odds on, but shorter, because Spain are already favourites to win the match.
Note that in the above example, if a bookie was offering +1, +0.5 you can not match this bet at Betfair on this particular game.
Personally I find split asians confusing and difficult, and I only ever arb them if I can see clearly that the bet is the same as at Betfair, and that means that the bookie is showing the split rather than showing the combined value as say 1.25.
Note that for bookies that do allow asian handicaps as part of the WR, some bookies will allow a push to count, and some will not. If you are going to use draw no bet or split asians as part of the WR you should read the bookies T&Cs on the subject very carefully.
IMPORTANT – if the screenshot had shown Germany +1 and Spain -1 instead of the 0 draw no bet options, this is still a draw no bet market. It is NOT a handicap market and cannot be matched with a handicap of +/- 1 at a bookie. Some bookies do have +/- 1 draw no bet markets, and if you are using these to arb with you need to be extremely careful that you are matching like with like. A handicap market will have odds for the draw, an asian will not.
I have chosen football as an example, but handicap bets are common on other sports, particularly rugby, NFL, ice hockey, baseball etc. Some of these are quite large, for example +/- 17.5. In these cases you need to be careful that you are not exposing yourself to some risk if you take bets which are not exactly the same. It is sometimes possible to make use of the slight differeces in handicap range to create a situation where in the narrow band in the middle you win at both bookie and betfair (or at both bookies in the case of a dutch) – this is called a “middle”. If you are going to attempt this you need to have a better understanding of exactly what these handicaps mean than I do, to be certain that there is an overlap, not a gap in the middle.
Remember that bookies choose the handicaps carefully and the range is likely to reflect a probable outcome. Another hazard with these is that some include overtime and some do not, so you really do need to check and double check the rules at bookie and Betfair (or 2nd bookie) to avoid being caught out by an overtime goal. I never attempted any middles, and only did handicap bets when I had reassurance from someone who knew what they were doing that the bet was safe. Be warned, and be careful. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
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