Asian handicap (AH) betting is a form of sports betting where handicap rules reduce the possible number of outcomes to two.
Asian handicap means bets on the outcome of a match and with how many goals a match is won. There are also Asian lines in number of goals, corners, yellow cards etcetera.
There are different varieties. In contrast to what is often referred to as European handicap, in Asian Handicap you can not either win or lose, but you can also get back some or all of your wager. This by placing bets on ‘full balls’ or ‘quarter balls’.
One advantage with the Asian handicap market is that the tax from bookmakers is smaller (hence higher prices) than other markets.
Half ball Asian handicap
One team is given an integer and a half goals head start (+0.5, +1.5, +2.5, …) and the opponent is handicapped by the same number of goals (-0.5, -1.5, -2.5, …).
Example 1: A team is backed with +1.5 AH. The gambler wins if the team loses with one goal or do better (draw or win). Otherwise the bet is lost.
Example 2: A team is backed with -1.5 AH. Then the gambler wins if team B wins with two goals or more. Otherwise the bet is lost.
Hence, a half goal Asian handicap bet results in either a full win or full loss.
Full ball Asian handicap
One team is given an integer goals head start (+1, +2, …) and the opponent is handicapped by the same number of goals (-1, -2, …). If the game finish exactly on the line of the bet the wager is returned to the gambler (a push).
A special case is the +0 bet which is equivalent to the draw-no-bet (DnB) and where a push is given if the match ends with a draw.
Quarter ball Asian handicap
A quarter ball bet is a combination of a half ball bet and a full ball bet, where half the wager is put on the full ball bet and half the wager on the half ball bet.
Example 1: Team A is backed with +0.25 AH. Then half the wager is placed on team A +0 and half of it on team A +0.5. Hence, if the game ends with a draw half the wager is returned and half the wager is a winner (half win).
Example 2: Team A is backed -1.25 AH. Then half the wager is placed on team A -1 and half on team A -1.5. Hence, if team A wins with a one goal difference half the wager is returned and half is lost (half loss).
Very short history
The bet type arose in Southeast Asia and the term ‘Asian Handicap’ was invented by journalist Joe Saumarez Smith when he in 1998 was asked by an Indonesian bookmaker to translate the name of the betting method known locally as Hangcheng.
Asian handicap is one of plenty of words/phrases/abbreviations in sports betting I have written about. See this dictionary for all the terms I have tried to explain.