Understanding US Odds and Asian Handicaps

American odds are no different to decimal odds or fractional ones, they are simply displayed in a different way.

A 4/1 shot has decimal odds of 5.00 (your winnings and one point stake included).  In the US those odds will be displayed as +400 which is the amount you would win (stake not included) for a 100 unit bet.

All US odds that feature a ‘+’, invariably described as ‘the money line’, show you the amount you will win for a 100 unit stake. However, if a selection is odds on, say 1/2 (fractional odds) or 1.50 (decimal odds), the US money line will feature a minus (-) sign and tell you how much you need to stake to win 100 points.  Therefore, in this example the US odds would be -200.


Fractional odds / Decimal Odds / US Money Line

  • 1/3  1.33  -300
  • 4/6  1.67  -150
  • 1/1  2.00  +100
  • 6/4  2.50  +150
  • 4/1  5.00  +400
  • 9/1  10.00  +900

Asian Handicap betting simply explained:

In Asian Handicap betting the odds-compilers give a goals deficit to the team they think is more likely to win expressed in goals, or fractions of goals.  The advantage of this is it allows you to bet on a mismatched game and it makes games two-sided by eliminating the possibility of a draw.

How does it work?

If Manchester City were to play Aldershot in an FA Cup game you would expect to see the better known team to start as the overwhelming favourites possibly as short as 1/20.  However, with an Asian Handicap the favourites are given a goal handicap.  In this instance it may be -3.5 goals.

This is a handicap which will be added to the final score.  For example, if Manchester win the game by 5 goals to nil the ‘handicap result’ would be a 1.5 goal win for Manchester.  However, if the score-line was 3-1 they would lose on the handicap by 0.5 goals to 1 (adjusted score-line being -0.5-1).

With handicaps ending in .5 there can be no draw outcome (only two possible results) but this does not mean the bookmakers will be betting 5/6 on each side of the ‘line’.  The odds can and do vary in line with the weight of money they attract.

Split Balls

Sometimes teams can have two handicaps marks.  These are called ‘Split Balls’ and would be listed as follows:  Portsmouth (+1.0 & -1.5) vs Southampton (-1.0 & -1.5).  

With this sort of Asian Handicap bet your stakes are split equally across the two handicaps listed.  If you back Southampton half your stakes goes on the them with a -1.0 goal deficit, the other half goes on Southampton with a -1.5 goal deficit.

Once again you simply add the handicap to the final score-line to ascertain the result.  So if Southampton draw or lose the match, you lose because you’ve failed to overcome the handicap.

If Southampton win by a single goal, you will lose half your stakes (the half placed at -1.5) and get half your stakes back. But if Southampton were to win by two goals or more, your entire bet would be a winner.

1 Comment
  1. Reply
    Trish at

    Boy that’s complicated stuff. Love Americans!

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