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Asian handicap is a form of betting on football matches which was originally introduced and became popular in Indonesia, but is now used all over the world. It is a system which has two aims. The first is to even out the likelihood of each team winning the match as far as any bettors are concerned, and the second is to eliminate the possibility of the draw as a result. In effect an Asian handicap gives one of the two teams playing a virtual head start, and in the case of a half goal Asian handicap, that head start is half a goal, although in some matches it may even be a quarter.
An example of a half goal Asian handicap:
Manchester United are playing Huddersfield and are extremely strong favourites to win the match, particularly as Huddersfield have several key players out injured. The half goal Asian handicap gives Manchester United a handicap of minus half a goal, and Huddersfield a handicap of plus half a goal. When the odds are displayed at an online bookmaker, this will be expressed via a -0.5 or +0.5 next to the name of a team. Under these conditions, a bet on Huddersfield suddenly becomes more attractive, because it will pay out if Huddersfield go on to win the match, but also if they manage to hold out for a draw. In the event of a draw, either goalless or a score draw, Huddersfield will have won the match by the half goal handicap, and bets on them to win will pay out. Unlike full goal Asian handicaps, there is no chance of this bet resulting in a draw and the stake being returned.