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The Asian handicap is a form of betting on football which was initially popularised in Indonesia but has since spread to be used across the world. The purpose of the Asian handicap is two-fold. By giving one of the teams a ‘virtual’ lead of a certain number of goals it balances out the often large imbalance in the perceived likelihood of each team winning and it removes the possibility of a draw, as is the case with draw no bet wagers.
In a match with a particularly strong favourite, it may seem like a waste of time to bet on the outsider, while the odds offered on the favourite don’t offer a great deal of value. In a case such as this, giving the underdog a 1, 2 or 3 goal lead will shift the odds by requiring the favourite to overcome a ‘losing’ position before being able to win the match.
Liverpool are playing Everton and recent form and injuries to Everton players means that they are strong favourites to win. The Asian handicap gives Liverpool a minus goal handicap and Everton a plus goal handicap. This means that Liverpool, for betting purposes, start the game a goal behind, and have to win by 2, 3 or more goals for a bet on them to pay out. Everton, meanwhile, start the game a goal ahead and, as long as they can hold on to this lead – i.e. not concede a goal – they will win the bet. This will shift the odds to make them more attractive and will mean that a draw in the actual match will still result in a win for Everton. This Asian handicap will be expressed using a -1 or +1 next to the name of a team. For the purposes of this bet, if Liverpool were to win the actual match by a single goal it would be declared a 1-1 draw, and the stake would be returned.