What is Asian handicap betting in soccer?

Asian handicap betting is a form of betting on soccer in which teams are handicapped according to their form so that a stronger team must win by more goals. In other words, it is equivalent to a point spread in American football.

The system originated in Indonesia and has gained popularity across Europe and in North America. The handicap, or point spread, typically ranges from one-half goal to multiple goals.

Several oddsmakers, or bookmakers, like to use the half-goal or one-and-a-half goals as the handicap to eliminate the chance the bet ends in a push (or tie), because, obviously, a side cannot score one-half of a goal.

The term “Asian handicap” was coined by journalist Joe Saumarez Smith in November 1998. He was asked by an Indonesian bookmaker, Joe Phan, to provide a translation of the betting method that was termed ‘hang cheng betting’ by bookmakers in Asia.

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