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Getting friendly with the Asians should up your profit margins.

Byline: Kevin Pullein

The advantages of Asian handicap betting were illustrated once again by last week's Champions League ties.

You got the best odds and, I would argue, an opportunity to exploit them fully.

I have said this before and I will say it again - you really should put in the effort to understand Asian handicapping. It can seem complicated on first encounter, but it is actually very simple once you become familiar with it.

I gave a detailed description in Sports Betting on 26 September 2003. Basically, an Asian handicap consists of a handicap line and a money line. The handicap line is the start a team is given or receives. The money line is the odds on the team given or receiving that start.

Now let's consider some prices.

Take a bookmaker at random from our midweek Champions League Pricewise.

Convert his odds on the home, draw and away for any given game into percentages and add them up. You will probably find that the percentages add up to 112 or 113 per cent.

The true chance of a game finishing in a home, draw or away is obviously 100 per cent. It must finish in one or the other.

The bookmaker has built a profit margin into his prices of 12-13 per cent.

In effect, you could say, he has added four per cent, or a little bit more, to what he believes to be the true chance of each event. It's a little bit more complicated than this, but we don't need to go into those complications here.

Now let's consider the prices of firms in our Asian handicap table. Obviously, with a handicap, there are only two possible outcomes rather than three. But the prices of firms in our Asian handicap table do not add up to 108 per cent or 109 per cent. Just 103 per cent or 104 per cent.

The smaller a bookmaker's overrounds (as they are called) the smaller the mistakes he has to make before the odds he quotes represent value for money to you rather than him.

Obviously, different bookmakers quote different prices, on the traditional fixed-odds as well as Asian handicaps, and you should always shop around to get the best bargain.

On average, the best book percentage in our Champions League Pricewise table was 106 per cent - better than 113 per cent, but still worse than 104 per cent. The best book percentage in our Asian handicap table was, on average, just 102 per cent.

If you want to make money from your betting, you should always bet at the best available prices, and those will very often be found on Asian handicaps.

In some ways, Asian handicapping is similar to spread betting. If you are already familiar with the latter, you will probably find it easier to understand the former.

Most make-ups in the goals supremacy market are quite close to the original spread. When deciding how much to stake per goal, however, you have to consider not only what happens most of the time but also what will happen some of the time. You have to allow for the freak result.

With Asian handicaps, what you have every time is an odds bet to more or less even money.

If, say, you back a team with a 0.5-goal start and they lose, it doesn't matter whether they lose by one goal or ten. You can stake accordingly.

This is what I mean when I say that a lot of the time you can get more enjoyment out of your winnings with Asian handicaps as well.
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 1, 2004
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