Asian Handicap in Soccer Explained: How To Bet Spreads & Totals

Learn how to bet soccer spreads and totals using Asian handicapping and get strategies for when to use these bets.

Nov 24, 2022 • 08:11 ET • 4 min read
Arsenal's William Saliba and Crystal Palace's Jean-Philippe Mateta (right) battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Selhurst Park, London.
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to betting on soccer, the juice on a typical 1x2 bet or a spread can be quite high due to the nature of the game. The Asian handicap wager allows you to eliminate the draw as an option, either via providing a “spread” or by creating a push via a draw. In addition, Asian handicap total bets also allow you to play fractional bets and split your wager in two, so that you may find value in the margins between the usual betting lines.

Asian Handicap: Understanding soccer lines of .25 and .75

With Asian soccer handicap betting, you’re able to wager on fractional odds rather than whole numbers or half numbers. This relates both to the spread of a match as well as the total goals scored. The Asian handicap number will split the difference between the two, using increments of .25 and .75 to bridge the gap between two lines that could cost quite a bit of juice on one end and be a difficult number to top on the other.

When you place an Asian handicap wager, you are essentially placing two separate bets. Your stage is split in half, with one half being placed on the split below the fraction and the other half being placed on the split above. The table below demonstrates which split you are wagering on depending on the quarter line that you are betting on. 

Quarter Split
X.25 (X.0 to X.5)
X.75 (X.5 to X.0)

For example, if you place a $20 wager on an Asian handicap spread of Manchester City -1.75 goals, you’re wagering $10 that they will win by more than 1.5 goals and the other half that they will win by at least 2.0 goals. Asian handicap bets allow you to play the margins and win either your entire bet or push half while winning or losing the other half.

What is a half-win?

Let’s say you wager a bet of Manchester City -1.75 goals, and they defeat their opponent with a 3-1 final score. This means they’ve won the match by two goals. You would win the first half of your bet, which was Manchester City -1.5 goals, and you would push the second half, as they won by exactly 2 goals and not more. If the odds for the bet were -110, you would return $19.09 for the first half of the wager, and you would return $10 on the second half from the push. This would net you a profit of $9.09 on the original wager. 

What is a half-loss?

Conversely, let’s say that you placed an Asian handicap goal line bet of Manchester City -2.25, and the match ended with a 3-1 scoreline. You would push the first half of the bet, returning the $10 stake as they won by 2.0 goals. However, your other half on Manchester City -2.5 would be graded as a loss, meaning you would lose $10 from the original wager. 

What is an Asian goal line in soccer?

An Asian goal line bet is an alternate method of wagering on the number of goals scored in a soccer match. Much like an Over/Under total wager, the Asian goal line allows you to bet on whether a match will have more goals scored than the Total offered or fewer goals. 

Unlike a standard Over/Under wager, it isn’t split by a half-goal. Instead, it allows you to bet on a combination of half-goals and whole goals, splitting the wager just like the Asian handicap bet and allowing you to place a half-bet on each side of a fractional number.

For example, let’s look at the below example where Crystal Palace is at home facing Arsenal. The total is fairly evenly placed at 2.5 goals, with no real favorite either way. This means that the Asian handicap totals have a decent amount of juice on them, depending on which lines you take. If the Total were more likely to be two goals or three goals, then you’d see more juice on the main total and less on the Asian handicaps.

Cry Crystal Palace vs Arsenal Arsenal
Goal Line Over Odds Under Odds
2.5 1.97 (-103) 1.92 (-109)
2.0, 2.5 1.675 (-147) 2.150 (+115)
2.5, 3.0 2.150 (+115) 1.675 (-147)

In this scenario, let’s say you felt the Total would go Over but wanted to protect against it just being two goals. You would look at the Over 2.0, 2.5 line (or 2.25) at -147 odds. Your $20 wager would be split between a $10 wager on over 2.0 goals and on another $10 wager for over 2.5 goals. Were three goals to be scored, you would win on both wagers. However, should just two goals be scored, you would push on one and lose the other. Of course, if one or fewer goals were scored, both wagers would be graded a loss.

It’s important to note that some major sportsbooks, such as Bet365, only display Asian lines in decimal odds versus fractional odds or American odds. Luckily, Covers has a handy odds calculator that can help you convert these into other formats for you to utilize!

Asian handicap chart

Using the tables below, you can see how $10 bets on the Over and Under would pan out based on different scores and spreads. These bets can result in wins, losses, pushes, half wins, and half losses.

Betting the Over

Goal Line (-110) Total Goals Over Bet Result $10 Bet Returns
(0.5 to 1.0)
0 Lose $0
1 Half Win (0.5 wins, 1 pushes) $14.55
2+ Win $19.10
(1.0 to 1.5)
0 Lose $0
1 Half Lose (1 loses, 1.5 pushes) $5
2+ Win $19.10
(1.5 to 2.0)
1- Lose $0
2 Half Win (1.5 wins, 2.0 pushes) $14.55
3+ Win $19.10
(2.0 to 2.5)
1- Lose $0
2 Half Lose (2.0 loses, 2.5 pushes) $5
3+ Win $19.10
(2.5 to 3.0)
2- Lose $0
3 Half Win (2.5 wins, 3.0 pushes) $14.55
4+ Lose $19.10

Betting the Under

Goal Line (-110) Total Goals Under Bet Result $10 Bet Returns
(0.5 to 1.0)
0 Win $19.10
1 Half Lose (0.5 pushes, 1 loses) $5
2+ Lose $0
(1.0 to 1.5)
0 Win $19.10
1 Half Win (1 pushes, 1.5 wins) $14.55
2+ Lose $0
(1.5 to 2.0)
1- Win $19.10
2 Half Lose (1.5 pushes, 2.0 loses) $5
3+ Lose $0
(2.0 to 2.5)
1- Win $19.10
2 Half Win (2.0 pushes, 2.5 wins) $14.55
3+ Lose $0
(2.5 to 3.0)
2- Win $19.10
3 Half Lose (2.5 pushes, 3.0 loses) $5
4+ Lose $0

What is an Asian handicap in soccer?

A typical soccer moneyline wager would feature a 1x2 style, with odds being given for a win for Team 1, a draw, and a win for Team 2. Also known as a three-way line, this is standard for soccer matches, given the three different outcomes available in a regulation match. However, it can be more difficult to play due to the nature of the sport, and can often provide a lack of value if one team is heavily favored.

The Asian handicap provides a way around this. Not only does it provide the bettor a way to still play the favorite in a one-sided matchup, but it provides the book more opportunities to take wagers on the outcome of matches that feature prohibitive favorites. It also simplifies bets for those who find the three-way outcome too difficult to play or who prefer more of a 50/50 outcome.  

Let’s again take, for example, the aforementioned match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal. The Gunners are favored in this match with a three-way moneyline for the visitors sitting, likely around -130 odds or higher. For some, that is simply too much juice to wager on an outcome that could go in three different ways rather than two.

Cry Crystal Palace Arsenal Arsenal
+0.5 (1.98 OR -102) -0.5 (1.92 OR -109)

Instead, the bettor turns to the Asian handicap market. Rather than trying to determine one of three outcomes, the bettor now gets to pick between two different wagers with a 50/50 outcome. If they feel that Arsenal is going to win outright, then they would take the Gunners -0.5 and wager that they outscore Crystal Palace by more than that amount. 

Should they feel that Palace is going to get a result, either via a draw or an outright victory, they would instead play the +0.5 line. This means that when the final whistle blows if adding 0.5 goals to Palace’s tally puts the number ahead of Arsenal’s goal tally, the wager wins. 

Alternatively, Asian handicap lines can provide split wagering, as we’ve discussed before. You will typically see this in matches where a draw is a more likely result, or it can simply be played by those who want to protect against specific outcomes. 

Cry Crystal Palace Arsenal Arsenal
0.0. +0.5 (2.25) 0.0. -0.5 (1.62)
+0.5, +1.0  (1.70) -0.5, -1.0 (2.10)

In this example, we again have a bettor who believes that Arsenal will win but, this time, wants to protect against the draw. He can take Arsenal 0.0, -0.5 (or Arsenal -0.25) with a split wager, where one wager would push should the match end in a draw, and the other loses outright. Should Arsenal win outright, then both wagers would be judged as winners.

Conversely, let’s say the bettor believes that Palace will get a draw but wants to protect against a one-goal loss. This bettor would play Crystal Palace +0.5, +1.0 (or Palace +0.75) and split their wager between the two lines. Were Palace to lose 2-1, then the +0.5 wager would be graded as a loss, while the +1.0 wager would be a push. Should Palace draw 1-1 or even win, then both wagers would be graded as wins. 

It’s important to note that not all Asian handicap lines will provide a winner or a loser. There can be times when two teams are evenly matched where the line will be 0.0 on both sides. This is the same as a “draw no bet” market bet, where a level scoreline will see all wagers refunded as a push. 

Asian handicap spread chart

Using the tables below, you can see how $10 bets on the favorite and underdog would pan out based on different scores and spreads. These bets can result in wins, losses, pushes, half wins, and half losses.

Betting the favorite

Spread (-110) Score (Favorite-Underdog) Bet Result $10 Bet Returns
0 1-0 Win $19.10
1-1 Push $10
0-1 Lose $0
(0 to -0.5)
2-1 Win $19.10
1-1 Half Lose $5
0-1 Lose $0
(0.5 to -1.0)
2-0 Win $19.10
2-1 Half Win $14.55
1-1 or 0-1 Lose $0
(-1.0 to -1.5)
2-0 Win $19.10
2-1 Half Lose $5
1-1 or 0-1 Lose $0
(-1.5, -2.0)
3-0 Win $19.10
3-1 Half Win $14.55
3-2 or 0-1 Lose $0

Betting the underdog

Spread (-110) Score (Favorite-Underdog) Bet Result $10 Bet Returns
0 1-0 Lose $0
1-1 Push $10
0-1 Win $19.10
(0 to +0.5)
2-1 Lose $0
1-1 Half Win $14.55
0-1 Win $19.10
(0.5 to +1.0)
2-0 Lose $0
2-1 Half Lose $5
1-1 or 0-1 Win $19.10
(+1.0 to +1.5
2-0 Lose $0
2-1 Half Win $14.55
1-1 or 01 Win $19.10
(+1.5 to +2.0)
3-0 Lose $0
3-1 Half Lose $5
3-2 or 0-1 Win $19.10

Benefits of betting Asian handicaps and totals

There are multiple benefits to playing Asian handicaps and Asian totals. The biggest is the mitigation of risk by playing lines that are heavily juiced. With soccer matches tending to be tight affairs with draws and wins by low margins, it can be risky to play the three-way lines. It is also difficult to recommend wagering on heavy favorites, and betting on underdogs in that situation can often require finding decent odds on a double chance line.

You can also often find better betting odds for match Totals using Asian totals, including World Cup odds and more. If two high-scoring sides are facing each other in a match, or two low-scoring sides, the juice n a standard 2.5 total line can be very prohibitive. The Asian total allows you to account for that and take less of a risk while still getting in on the action. 

An added benefit is that if you’re able to properly read a match going well over or under the projected line, or a team winning or losing by a specific amount, you can mitigate your risk and bring in some serious profit if correct. For example, if you think Manchester City will win by multiple goals, rather than simply betting on them to beat an underdog and play them at -150 moneyline, you can instead wager them as a -1.5 Asian handicap and win more money at less risk should they win by two or more!

Asian handicapping betting strategies

Asian lines can boost parlays Asian lines can boost parlays

Most books will allow you to parlay Asian handicaps and Asian totals with other bets for a parlay. This can be a great way to get away from heavily-juiced money line bets, which add little value to a parlay, and instead, throw in an Arsenal -0.5 at better odds. It also provides you a way to include some wager types that you can’t otherwise. For instance, most books don’t allow you to parlay a Draw No Bet wager, but they will let you do that with a 0.0 Asian handicap bet. 

Asian lines can also let you play lines that have a better chance of pushing than other straight bets, which would simply cancel that leg of your parlay rather than sinking the entire thing with a loss. For example, playing over 2.0 goals instead of over 2.5 would push should a match end 1-1. 

Pay attention to lineups and upcoming matches Pay attention to lineups and upcoming matches

Quite often, heavy favorites will rotate their lineups against smaller clubs, especially if they have a major upcoming match or have multiple matches in a short span. For example, if a team like Liverpool is facing a newly-relegated club, and have a Champions League match in the midweek, then their manager might be inclined to rest players.

This can provide you a terrific chance to cash in on what would typically be a fairly spot-on Asian handicap line. If Liverpool’s opponent is getting an Asian handicap of +2.5 at even odds, then you can possibly exploit that line, given Liverpool will no longer be at their full strength and may only win by one or two goals. Always know the personnel and situation of the teams involved so you can find lines that might be in your favor. 

Don't sleep on the first-half Asian handicaps and Asian totals Don't sleep on the first-half Asian handicaps and Asian totals

The halftime markets for Asian lines can present quite a bit of value if you have a good eye for how teams are playing. I’ve found that in many knockout matches, whether it be a cup tie or a Champions League first leg, teams can be a bit cagey and take fewer risks. This can lead to some terrific betting opportunities for Asian totals and Asian handicaps. Again, knowing your situation surrounding a match can help you cash in on these alternate markets. 

Look around for different Asian lines Look around for different Asian lines

Different books utilize different Asian line types–and some don’t offer them at all. FanDuel, unfortunately, offers very few Asian handicap lines of any kind, while DraftKings offers quite a few. In fact, DraftKings offers Asian lines up to specific times, which allows you to work the aforementioned halftime lines. One of my favorite DraftKings Asian lines is the Asian Total up to X minute, usually either the 30th minute or the 70th minute.

Bet365 has perhaps the most widespread alternate betting options, including Asian total corners, Asian handicap cards, and Asian total cards. This is yet another way that you can use your research and insight to find lines that provide you with a betting edge and an opportunity to find mistakes that you can capitalize on. 

Utilize Asian handicaps during live betting Utilize Asian handicaps during live betting

This might be one of my favorite live-betting moves, especially when an early goal is scored. Sometimes you’ll have a heavily-favored side where you cannot find any good betting value prior to kickoff, and then suddenly, they’ve conceded a shocking goal just five minutes into the match. Now, that pre-match favorite is suddenly behind, and the lines have shifted.

Rather than focusing on the fact that their money line has changed, the better route might be to look at the Asian handicap. For example, a team that was -1.0 before kickoff might now be down to an even handicap. This allows you to play them to win at 0.0 but would still protect you against a draw. It can also come in handy with Totals, as an early goal will often skew the number higher and allow you to now play the pre-match Under with less juice. 

Asian handicap FAQs

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