The most popular form of soccer betting is the win-draw-win or 1×2, which has players picking one of three possible outcomes and wagering money on it. If the outcome of the game matches the player’s choice, he wins. If it doesn’t, he loses. The only problem with this setup is – and this will probably be obvious straight away for US bettors – that out of the three possible outcomes, two favor the house, and only one backs the bettor. The bottom line: the odds are not exactly favorable for the bettor, as a matter of fact, a savvy US bettor wouldn’t really get his money into the middle on such a proposition. Enter the Asian handicap. This type of soccer betting originates from Asia, hence its name. Though it is nowhere near as popular as the win-draw-win (the bulk of the betting public is obviously intimidated by the weird name and the unknown structure behind it), the Asian handicap offers the bettor much better odds. Once you get the basics of the Asian handicap you’ll realize it’s actually extremely simple and due to the better odds that’s probably all you’ll ever want to use.
The first step is to understand how the Asian handicap works. Only by truly understanding the mechanism at work will you be able to take advantage of it, just placing Asian handicap bets for the heck of it is not the way to go.
The Asian handicap eliminated one of the three possible outcomes featured by 1X2 betting. The draw is no longer an option with the Asian Handicap. You bet on either team A to win or team B. The whole setup is similar to the spread betting used in football and basketball: one of the teams starts out with a handicap, meaning that – because it is more likely to win on account of the superior collective skills of the players – it’ll start anywhere from a quarter goal to several goals down. If you bet on the favorite, it basically needs to cover that handicap for you to win. If the underdog prevents the favorite from covering the handicap, you lose. If you bet on the underdog and it loses by less than the “handicap” given to the favorite, you win the bet.
Though the betting mechanism at work in Asian Handicaps is extremely simple, finding ways to win is extremely tricky. Proper handicapping becomes more important than ever, because the nature of the sport you bet on. You may pick a favorite to cover a spread which you consider to be a decent one knowing the strengths of the two teams involved, only to find that the favorite isn’t exactly motivated and it settles for a marginal win, saving its key players for more important confrontations.
The way to find value in Asian Handicaps is a lot like the way you find value in the basketball or football lines. The bookmaker needs to balance every game he offers through the handicap (he aims to get bettors onto both sides, in a relatively equal proportion). He needs to do that so he can collect his vigorish (aka juice), risk-free. The juice works just like the poker rake does in online poker, with the difference that while in poker you can recover your rake through rakeback in Asian Handicap betting you can’t really do the same.
As he balances his games by means of the spread, the bookie may be forced to perform line movements he wouldn’t normally perform. The reason for such line movements is the money, more of which may come in on one side than on the other.