Different margins on 1×2 vs Asian Handicaps

I was on Bet365 site placing my bets for the weekend. The game that caught my eye was Derby vs Newcastle. Odds are 2.8 for Derby, the draw 3.2 and Newcastle 2.8.


Nothing really out of the ordinary. Derby are playing poor and Newcastle expected to finish high so Bet365 have called this a coin toss. They can’t separate them so the odds of 2.8, either way, seem fair.

If you were looking at the draw no bet market you would expect both sides to be the same and would pay out the same as if you were betting on, saw Newcastle and the draw in a way that you would get your money back if there was a draw. So, if you wanted £100 draw no bet, you put £31.25 on the draw at 3.2 and £68.75 on at 2.8. Now here’s the thing.


Bet365 are offering 1.83 for the draw no bet for each side. If you put on the bets in the ratio above, you get an effective price of 1.925. So it makes no sense at all to do draw no bet.

What’s even more strange as its easier to see, is that the Asian Handicap +0, which is essentially ‘draw no bet’, has odds of 2.00 for Derby and 1.9 for Newcastle. Immediately, you can see that Newcastle are favourites on this market even though on the 1X2, the bookie can’t split them. The other thing is that both prices are higher than the draw no bet, so if you wanted to bet on draw no bet, you’d be better off doing the Asian Handicap every single time.

However, that’s not all. Remember, before, I said if you put on £31.25 on the draw at 3.2 and £68.75 on at 2.8, you get odds of 1.925. So it means if you want to bet on Derby draw no bet, you put on the Asian Handicap, whereas if you want to bet on Newcastle you place bets on the 1X2 to simulate the draw not bet. It might only be a few percent different, but it all adds up. Remember the difference between -0.5% and +0.5% is 1% but thats the difference between being a long term winning and a long term loser.

So why does this happen?

Basically, Bet365 and other bookmakers, have to try to balance the book and have different margins on different markets. Bookmakers like to have the odds to attract money on each side so they win no matter what. They adjust the odds depending on the weight of money placed. This usually isn’t possible and really the bookies are just professional gamblers betting against the mug punter with a superior margin.

So when the Asian Handicap is different from the 1X2, it usually means that there has been a lot of money placed on one side. In this case, people in Asia think that Newcastle is more likely to win.

The other thing is about the margin or over round that a bookie has. This is where the bookie makes his money. If you add up all the possible outcomes and odds, it comes to over 100%, so the bookmaker has a margin. With certain markets, such as draw no bet, they just book to a higher margin. So in this case, the draw no bet market is booked to about 106.4% whereas the 1X2 is booked to 102.68% and the Asian Handicap to 101.75%.

So when you are betting, always bet on the lowest margin market and look out for bets which overlap. Its an uphill battle but you have a better chance if you bet smart.