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

Selection Odds
England + 1.5 1.92
Argentina – 1.5 1.92

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

Add England’s head start of +1.5 goals and you get

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

Enjoy your betting lads


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