# Points spread and asian handicap explained

Points spread +/- is the most common sports bet type made on many US sports, particularly American football. It is a bet that can give excitement to one sided games because you can’t just bet the favourite to win, you have to work out if they will win by more than a certain number of points.

Point spread is betting on who will win the game with the favourite being handicapped a certain number of points. This could equally be expressed as the underdog getting a certain number of point’s head start.

Applying the point spread should make a game even. Let’s say the betting community thinks Argentina are 1.5 goals better than England. Sportsbooks will put up a points spread market of

SelectionOdds
England + 1.51.92
Argentina – 1.51.92

Let’s say you backed the underdog with the head start, indicated by the “+”. To determine if your bet was a winner take the final score of the game then add the underdogs head start to their score and see which team is ahead. So if the final score is

England 1
Argentina 2

England 1 + 1.5 = 2.5
Argentina 2

So with the points spread added you have a winning bet. Well done!

If you back the favourite to win with a -1.5 goal handicap, 1.5 goals will be deduced from the favourite’s final score, so you need the favourite to win by more than 1.5 goals for that to be a winning bet. So in this example the final score is

England 1
Argentina 2

Deduct Argentina’s handicap of -1.5 goals and you get

England 1
Argentina 2 – 1.5 = 0.5

If you bet on Argentina to beat the spread of -1.5 you have a losing bet.

## The Hook

A points spread will usually be a number and .5 to remove the chance of a draw which would result in a push where all bets are refunded. If a team had a handicap of -2 goals and then won the game by 2 goals there would be a draw. But with a handicap of 2.5 there can be no draw. The .5 is called the hook.

## The odds

Because the points spread amount usually represents the betting community’s view of exactly how much better one team is than the other the odds are usually 50:50 or pick’em, that is equal for both teams. This indicated there is an equal chance for the favourite to cover the spread or not.

## Asian handicap

An Asian handicap is simply goal spread betting on soccer where a head start or a handicap is applied to a team. It is usually applied to remove the frequent outcome of a draw in soccer by handicapping or head starting a team by an amount of goals with a .5.

A 2 way Asian Handicap such as Chelsea -1.5 & -2 means half of your stake will be put on Chelsea -1.5 and the other half will be put on Chelsea -2. This is sometimes displayed as Chelsea -1.75 so be aware if you see an asian handicap listed as Home +.25 this will split half your bet as Home +0 and half as Home +0.5