Asian handicap (half time)
Asian Handicap is the most popular betting market in the world for professional punters and will be visible on bookmakers that offer it in the following format (Team 1 -0.5AH, Team 2 +0.5AH). -AH covers the possibility of that team/player winning, whilst the +AH covers the possibility of that team/player winning or draw, meaning two of three outcomes are covered. You can read more about Asian Handicap betting here. It is possible to use Asian Handicap betting to bet exclusively on the first or second half of a sporting event, most commonly football. The method of asian handicap betting is available in many other sports but will often be displayed as ‘point spread’ or ‘spread betting’ instead.
Pros and Cons
- Pro - Asian Handicap HT (Half-Time) Betting gives you the option to cover two out of three outcomes when backing a +AH, which can offer good value given how cagey first halfs can sometimes be.
- Pro - You’re likely to have a higher strike rate using any kind of Asian Handicap betting as opposed to match markets.
- Con - Asian Handicap betting is often considered less risky because of how the various asian handicaps are assessed, and so odds are lower (generally around 1.90 (9/10) at opening.
- Con - Asian Handicap HT betting is one of the most popular ways to bet and so it is very carefully priced by bookmakers which can lead to a regular lack of value.
Asian Handicap half-time betting is a variation of Asian Handicap betting, which you can read about here. This shortened version of the market involves betting on just the outcome of the first half of a game. An Asian Handicap is a method of betting that instead of adjusting the match odds to reflect the most likely outcome adjusts the Asian Handicap. An Asian Handicap is based on form and a team's tendency to score and concede goals.
Betting on an Asian Handicap market means betting on either the favorite to win by a certain number of goals, or betting on the underdog to avoid defeat by a certain margin or draw the match. Half-time Asian Handicaps are naturally smaller numbers than a full-time Asian Handicap because teams have less time to fulfill them. That perhaps favors the underdog who are more often than not likely to be more resilient early on in a game.
Here is an example of how a half-time asian handicap market may look.
Team A -1AH
Team B +1AH
If a team is favoured to win by a margin of three goals over 90 minutes, you may see an Asian Handicap like the one above for the first half. If a team is expected to make a first half break through and are priced at slim odds to do so, there may be no value in betting on them to lead by the break.
Asian Handicap assesses form and provides a number that makes for a betting market based on a level playing field. WIth Asian Handicap betting, a team can trail and still cover the handicap. If you’re familiar with the US Sport method of betting (Spreads/Handicaps) than it’s a good comparison, but with smaller numbers.
How does it work?
Just like with full time Asian Handicap betting, a half-time Asian Handicap should be viewed as an imaginary deficit. We all know that a game starts 0-0, but asian handicap betting applies an imaginary deficit. Consider the above line and suppose you bet on Team A -1AH. The game starts 0-0, or -1-0 as far as the handicap is concerned. To win, your team must erase that handicap and beat it, which would mean leading 2-0 by half-time.
Half-time score: 2-0 to Team A
Handicap score: +1-0
If your team leads 1-0 at half-time then they have erased the handicap but not surpassed it. With whole numbers such as -1AH, -2AH, -3AH and so on, you will get your money back if your team wins by that number of goals but does not surpass that.
On the other side of the equation is the option to back Team B +1AH. Again, the game starts 0-0, but an imaginary handicap is applied that whenever a + is involved must remain in tact or not be surpassed. Think the opposite to the -1AH requirements as the two compliment each other.
Half-time score: 2-0 to Team A
Handicap score: 2-0 (-1)
This would mean a loss. If the score remained 0-0 however, then the +1 is still +1 and you have yourself a winner. The simplest way to think of the Asian Handicap calculation is as follows…
Step One: Take the number of goals scored (Two in this case)
Step Two: Subtract them from the handicap number
Outcomes: If your number is 0, you get your money back. If your number is positive, you win. If your number is negative, you lose.
How to assess the market
Whilst you just might be right with that feeling in the pit of your stomach from time to time, statistics are one of the best tools a bettor can utilise. The Asian Handicap half-time market probably lends itself to betting the underdog more often than the favorite, but it depends on the circumstances.
The best of teams are often frustrated more early in the game than they are late in the game, but some sides have very good records in some halves and very poor records in the other. Random examples from recent seasons would be both Real Madrid and Barcelona scoring just around 40% of their goals in the first half, whilst Houston Dynamo lead at half-time in their first 10 MLS home games having conceded just once in the year 2017.
A basic starting point would be to consider the goals scored and conceded by each team in its respective home/away games, recent form, home/away form, average times of first goals and the quality of opposition when they have or haven’t covered similar first-half Asian Handicaps before.
Asian Handicap betting of any kind is more likely to attract professional punters than casual punters for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is the added security and lower risk that can be associated with handicap betting for professionals, whilst casual punters are less likely to be attracted to the sort of odds on offer. But many professionals might ignore the option to bet on the Asian Handicap half-time market, having faith in their ability to select a winner over 90 minutes. Asian Handicap half-time betting is exclusive to the sport of football. It may often be used to back an underdog that someone believes can hold out until half-time or to boast the odds on a shorter priced full-time favorite.
Asian Handicap half-time betting probably doesn’t rank as highly on a professional punter’s list of preferred markets, but it does have a lot of advantages when used tactically. The positive is that some teams that go to face tough opposition may employ tactics that make a first half breakthrough much harder to come through (“park the bus”!). Equally a short-priced favorite will be better priced if they do make the breakthrough in the first half. When used tactically and correctly, the Asian Handicap half-time betting market may offer you value or an advantage that doesn’t quite exist over 90 minutes.