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Asian Handicaps: American-style Point Spreads Meet Soccer Wagering

12 October 2003

Asian handicap betting is a form of wagering that is essentially a compromise between the two most popular styles of wagering in the U.S. and Europe. It is closer to the U.S.-style point spread system than the European "odds to win" model, yet it has some of the features of European-style sports betting and the bets themselves are based on a european sport, soccer.

Asian handicap markets are based on the form of betting which is predominant in the Far East and is now developing a growing following elsewhere. These markets provide the facility for one soccer team to be given a head start over another. If this start is of a half goal type (+ 0.5, + 1.5, etc.) there is no chance of things finishing level, and just two possible outcomes are possible. However, if the handicap is a whole number, it creates a third possible outcome, called a standoff, in which stakes are returned. For instance, if a team is handicapped at -2 and wins 2-0, bets at that handicap level are effectively void.

A third type of wager is sometimes referred to as a "quarter point" bet but is simply a combination of the above two. A bet placed on a handicap expressed as "-1.0 & -1.5" represents a splitting of the stake, with half being placed at -1.0 and half at -1.5.

For the serious gambler, Asian handicaps can sometimes provide exotic profit opportunities. Traditionally, bookmakers monitor each other's odds on soccer matches to prevent posting odds too far out of line. This is not the case with asian handicaps. A relationship exists between traditional soccer odds and asian handicaps, but the relationship is complex. A study of the two could yield strategies for exploiting pricing inefficiencies between the two. Savvy American sports bettors who understand the concept of middling (see my article on the "Aces Gold Fiasco" in the archives) should understand the profit potential here.

John May
John May is one of the most feared gamblers in the world. He has developed "advantage play" techniques for many games that are considered unbeatable.

Books by John May:

> More Books By John May

John May
John May is one of the most feared gamblers in the world. He has developed "advantage play" techniques for many games that are considered unbeatable.

Books by John May:

> More Books By John May