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When Asian Handicap and 3 way betting markets meet Part 1

By Ben

A discussion about the 0.5 Asian Handicap and the 1X2 market

All of you will be familiar with the 3 way football betting (or 1X2, where 1 is home win, X is a draw and 2 is an away win). This is pretty much self explanatory. If you bet on the home team and it wins, you win otherwise you lose. This is the most popular type of market for football betting in the UK. The book value for a typical match is 110%.

Asian Handicaps are a way of changing the 3 outcomes of a football match to just 2 for the purpose of betting. Basically the draw is eliminated by giving one side an artificial goal head start. Asian Handicap bookies typically book this market at 103%.

The two markets do sometimes meet. This happens when the handicap is between 0.5 and -0.5. Take for example a match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield. Typical 3 way odds may be 1.80 for home win, 3.20 for the draw and 4 for the away win. The AH odds for the same match would be about 1.90 for Liverpool -0.5 and 1.94 for Everton +0.5. So if you thought that Liverpool were going to win this one, you have a choice between 1.80, 3 way or 1.90 AH. Only a fool would bet on the 3 way price.

The calculation is slightly less trivial is you think Everton will win. For a straight win the only choice you have is to bet on Everton. However, if you think that Everton will not lose, you will have to decide whether betting on Everton +0.5 is better than splitting your stake and betting on both Everton and the Draw. To work this out you need to multiply the draw odds by the away win odds and divide this by the draw odds plus the away win odds. So (A*D)/(A+D). In this example, you get (3.2*4)/(3.2+4)=1.78. From this you can that betting on the AH is also more profitable.

The superior AH odds are all down to the reduced bookie margin. The odds in the example are all from one bookmaker and the two markets broadly agree on the probability of each outcome. In this situation is always better to bet on the AH than the 3 way market.

Things get interesting when you can get prices from a range of bookmakers. As it happened the best 3 way odds for the draw and Everton were 3.25 and 4.5 respectively. Plugging these numbers into the equation yields odds of 2.03. In this case bet on Everton and the draw.

Making these calculations can have a dramatic effect on your long term betting bank. Finding the best price is important but also selecting the best market.

In the next article I will discuss the 0 and quarter handicaps.

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