Soccer Betting: european and asian handicaps explained

Soccer Betting: european and asian handicaps explained

handicap betting
Autor betsonly 15 Feb 2018

What are the differences between asian and european handicaps in soccer betting? We explain all you need to know about handicap betting.

Handicap betting – also commonly known as the spread – involves giving one team a virtual deficit, or handicap, which they need to overcome at the start of a match. It is designed to even up the odds, where one opponent is deemed inferior to another. For a bet to succeed the stronger team has to overcome their handicap – a straight victory is not enough.

In broad terms, when betting online, one team will be given a goal deficit. For example, if Real Madrid were to travel to Levante in La Liga, Real Madrid, as the stronger team, would be given a goal deficit, and any bet on them winning would only win if that handicap was overcome. So, Levante (+1) and Real Madrid (-1) means that Real Madrid have to win by two goals or more for the bet to succeed.

In terms of soccer betting, the two most popular types of handicap betting are Asian handicap and European betting. What is the difference between the two?

Asian betting is a popular variant of handicap match betting because there is only one of two options for a bet – either a home win or away victory. There is no draw option – if the match is drawn, in virtual terms, the bet is void and the stake is returned.

There is wide range of Asian handicap markets, with online sports betting sites offering a full goal handicap, a half-goal handicap, and a quarter goal handicap options.

With the full goal option, and with Real Madrid and Levante handicapped (-1) and (+1) respectively, any Real Madrid win by two goals or more (2–0, 3-1, 4-2, etc.) means that the bet succeeds. If Madrid wins by only one goal (1-0, 2-1, 3-2) then the match is deemed a draw after the one goal handicap has been applied, and all bets are void. Any other result – a draw on the pitch, or a defeat for Real Madrid – means a lost bet.

It is, however, with the half-goal and the quarter-goal options, that Asian handicap betting really stands out by offering more attractive odds than other alternatives.

With a half-goal handicap – for example, Real Madrid (-1.5) and Levante (+1.5), then Madrid has to win by two goals or more for the bet to succeed. Any other outcome – a narrow win, a draw or a defeat – and the bet is lost.

The quarter-goal handicap is a little more complex. Such a handicap can be expressed in two ways – (-0.25 or -0, -0.5). Quarter-goal handicaps split a bet between the two closest ½ intervals. In this case, the bettor’s stake is automatically divided equally and placed as two separate bets.

Returning to our example of the Real Madrid and Levante match, suppose that the handicap is Levante +1, +1.5. The handicap states that half of the bet goes on Levante to win, draw or lose by less than one goal, and half on them to win, draw or lose by less than 1.5 goals.

If the final score is Real Madrid 1, Levante 0, half of the bet would be refunded because the match is drawn (Real Madrid 1, Levante +1 i.e. Levante lost by exactly one goal.) The second half of the bet would win (Real Madrid 1 Levante +1.5 i.e. Levante lost by less than 1.5 goals).

The European handicap is not such a familiar term in online sports betting. The key difference from Asian betting is that there are three outcomes possible – a home win, a draw and an away win. There are no void bets or stakes refunded. Instead, bettors can bet on a draw (adjusted for the handicap) as the result of a match.

Staying with the same example, but with European handicap rules applied, if Real Madrid are given a one goal handicap (-1) against Levante, then, if they win by two goals or more, then the bet wins. If Real Madrid records a narrow win, then that counts as a draw, and for those who bet on it, then their stake wins. Any other result on the pitch, counts as a home win to Levante.

European handicap betting is a good way to back favourites to record big wins, or to support underdogs not to be beaten. However, it does not offer the same attractive betting odds as the Asian handicap betting options.