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Asian Handicap Strategy

Updated: August 22, 2013

Don’t know what an Asian Handicap is? Check out our other article on this, Asian Handicap Explained . This article will cover a more advanced topic: using Asian Handicap to optimize your chances as a bettor seeking long-term profitability.

In the Asian Handicap Explained article, we talked about the advantages of the Asian Handicap over 1×2 betting:

  • Your bets are refunded less often.
  • Bookmakers charge less juice on Asian Handicap bets, knowing that their best customers like to bet this way, and the betting public probably won’t take notice or care that their 1×2 bets are being offered at a worse rate. Sometimes the reduction in vig is enormous — from 10 percent to 3 percent — which lowers the break-even point of bets won from 52.38 percent to 50.74 percent. (The formula is given in the other article.) Betting the Asian Handicap instead of the 1×2 is the easiest way to line-shop, and is the most important step you can take towards long-term profitability.
  • The possibility of a half-win and a half-loss means you can wager a greater proportion of your bankroll — units — than would be true in a 1×2 bet. The lower vig also lowers variance.
  • Those first three advantages are for the bettor, but the lower variance and smaller possibility of a draw / no bet also lets the bookies take stronger positions on one side or the other.

It’s easy to see that, as a sharp, you should be using the Asian Handicap almost exclusively when you want to bet sides. This is true whether you bet on WilliamHill, SBOBet, Betfair, or Pinnacle. In addition to line-shopping, bonus-collecting, bankroll management, and other advanced topics, the Asian Handicap is a tool that lets you stop hemorrhaging percentage points needlessly on bets with mediocre odds.

Now we’ll discuss how to get the most out of your Asian Handicap bets:

  • Bet on the underdog more often, especially with a bigger spread. In every sport in every market, there’s a bias towards picking the big-name teams in big media markets. Just because they can win their matches by a certain number of goals doesn’t mean that they will. (This advice also applies to HT / FT betting, and is similar to the public bias where teams are expected to score more goals than they actually will, just because the bettors want to see that.)
  • Bet more frequently. Lower vig means that more bets will likely be profitable. If your betting win-rate is too high, it means that you’re passing up too many wagers with positive expected value. (The difference between 3% vig and 10% vig is huge.)
  • Don’t believe the articles that claim you can achieve an astronomical win-rate with Asian handicaps. Anything above 60 percent is an anomaly at even money over long run.

Asian Handicap Strategy is critical to your success as a sports bettor, but it’s far from something that assures it. Be wary of sites that try to sell “systems” that will make you rich, quickly, from sports betting — it’s not easy! For further help write us at

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