BEGINNER’S GUIDE to “ASIANS”
(Handicap Betting) by Alex Deacon
of The Racing and Football Outlook
With more and more firms offering Asan Handicaps as part of their usual footballing fare, punters looking to increase their bet repertoire should take a closer look into a world that is, on first inspection, slightly alien. But trust me. The world of “quarter balls” and “half balls” is by no means wholy balls. Indeed, after a series of wins or reduced losses, you may feel that “holy balls” are not simply the preserve of the local vicar.
In the bettingmad world of the Far East, the Asian Handicap is far and away the most popular way for Asian punters to bet on football. AHs there are known as “Hang Cheng”, which refers to the ten handicaps available in the bet (all Hang Chengs). The full set of these is shown in the table below.
In the UK at present, the tenhandicap format is usually simplified by our bookies who generally offer just one of the ten to bet on. This is usually the handicap that sees the odds of the two sides closest to the even money mark. Although some bookmakers as well as some of the exchanges are starting to increase the number of handicaps available, it is still rare to find all ten priced up.
TABLE SHOWING ASIAN HANDICAP PAYOUTS
Plus figures show percentage of original stake added to winning bets while minus
figures show percentage of original stake surrendered in losing bets. “Returned”
shows the circumstances in which you get your whole stake back.
HCs

Home

Away

Home

Away

Home

Away

Home

Away

Home

Away

Result

0

0

0

1/4

0

1/2

0

3/4

0

1

Draw

Returned

Returned

50%

+50%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

10

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+50%

50%

Returned

Returned

01

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

20

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

30

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

HCs

Home

Away

Home

Away

Home

Away

Home

Away

Home

Away

Result

0

1 1/4

0

1 1/2

0

1 3/4

0

2

0

2 1/4

Draw

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

10

50%

+50%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

01

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

20

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+50%

50%

Returned

Returned

50%

+50%

30

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

+100%

100%

So what is the attraction of Asian Handicaps and in what way do they differ from the usual handicap match odds markets?
The most significant difference between the a traditional 12X match result fixed odds bet and an Asian Handicap bet is in the removal of the draw to leave two outcomes (home and away) instead of three. This is important when betting multiples because factors of two not three are used in calculating total bets.
So while the probabilities of either outcome winning are higher than that of a match bet on fixed odds, the downside is that, with the increase in probability, it naturally follows that you’ll be collecting at a correspondingly shorter price than you’d be getting via fixed odds if you win. On the other hand, you need not be completely stumped when your pick concedes a late equaliser.
Given some of the advantages afforded over fixed odds and given that the typical football punter is familiar with the concepts of betting handicaps, even if it is only from the lamentable banker handicap section on the coupons, it is clear that the problem of getting more punters to look into betting Asians is this: that while the concept of handicaps is easy to understand, both the system of payout and method of calculating odds are very much alien to us.
Do not despair! Despite appearing strange, the payout system is actually relatively simple. Any confusion stems from the inclusion of the "quarter of a ball" handicaps and the idea of the returned stake  which has always sounded good to me! You see – it’s not just restricted to Premium Bonds! However, even these confusions can be solved relatively easily.
As you can see from the table, your stake is returned to you when the handicap is in “whole balls” (i.e. 0:0, 0:1, or 0:2) and the match result equals the handicap. For example, when the handicap is 0:0 and the match result is 00 (or any draw). Similarly for a 0:1 handicap, a onenil home win sees your stake returned to you.
Equally straightforward is the concept of payouts when using the quarterball handicap which can sometimes result in the profit or loss of half of your original stake. This occurs when the match result is within a quarterball of the handicap. For example, a handicap of 03/4 balls invokes the 50% profit/loss when the match result is 01, similarly the payout is the same if the handicap had originally been 01 1/4 balls.
In the table, the level of payouts are shown for each handicap. If as a punter you can learn the principles behind this table as the regular Asian handicap punters (and layers) have done, you’ll be pretty much there. However, if you’re still not clear as to how they work, here’s another example that should hopefully force home the point.
Each match has three elements relating to the bet: the handicap plus the prices for each of the two outcomes. So in a game between A and B, with Home Team A a short oddson favourite, we might find a Handicap of 01 ¾ to balance things up and both sides priced at the 4/5 mark. Broken down this shows a handicap of 0  1 3/4 goals with both outcomes priced at 1.8 (4/5).
Using the table we can see that a one goal win for Team A would see their backers losing their stake while those fancying Team B would win their stake multiplied by 1.8. A twogoal win for the favourites would however see their backers winning their stake multiplied by 50% of the stated odds, while backers of the underdog Team B would lose 50% of their stake.
For a return of stake to have been possible, the original quote would have to be in whole balls. Thus if the handicap had been 0:2 and the match had finished with Team A winners by two goals to nil, players on either side of the bet would have their stake returned to them.
Calculating the odds of an Asian Handicap is a little bit more involved than compiling those for 12X in that the different types of payout scenario also need to be figured into one’s calculations. Another factor that is important when calculating Asian Handicap prices is that, in addition to the percentage chances of the home, away and draw, one additionally needs to be aware of the percentage chance of the favourite winning the game by one and two goals.
In the following examples we show how you set about creating a 0goal and a 1goal handicap.
A common type of game is one where the home team is given a 50% chance, the draw 30% and the away team 20%. Typically in such a game we’d find the chance of the favourites winning by one goal to be around the 25% mark and the two goal win at around 17%. Having obtained and satisfied yourself as to the accuracy of these estimations, it is a relatively simple process to go forward and compile the first set of handicaps.
For the 0goal handicap, one simply finds the probability that the game is not going to end in a draw. This is calculated as 10030%(draw price) = 70% = a probability of 0.7. To obtain the final figure one simply divides this figure of 0.7 with the probability for the favourite winning, which in our example is p=0.5 (50%). Thus 0.7/0,5 = a decimal price of 1.4 for the favourite.
Obtaining the underdog odds is simply a question of calculating the percentage chance of the favourites bet (1.4 =71.4%) and subtracting it from 100, which leaves the percentage chance of the underdog (10071.4=28.6%). A decimal price for this is then simply calculated by dividing 100 by the underdog chance (100/28.6) =3.5.
In creating a 1goal handicap, the favourite odds are calculating subtracting the odds for a goal victory (25%) from 100 and then dividing this by the sum of the win percentage minus the one goal victory odds.
For example: (100one goal win odds [25%]) / (favourite win odds (50%) one goal win odds (25%). (10025)/(5025) = decimal odds of 3.0 (or 2/1 in fractions).
If you have any further queries about Asians, all you have to do is come on to the SoccerLotto Message Board (General Soccer Forum) and ask.