Handicap and Asian handicap betting are all the rage nowadays. I can find huge handicap and Asian handicap coverage with most good online bookmakers and it is a great way to get some interesting odds from matches where one team is a runaway favourite to win.

However, there are a few pitfalls which newcomers and veteran bettors alike can fall into when it comes to handicap and Asian handicap bets. I would know because I have made some of the same mistakes in my own handicap betting efforts. But, I’ve learned from my mistakes and I’ve listed everything that you should look out for when making your handicap bets. That way, you won’t even make the same mistakes once!

1. Unrealistic handicaps

We’ve all been there with the standard win-draw-win markets – enticed by a bet with odds that are so staggering that you just have to take a punt on it. Well the same thing can happen with handicap and Asian handicap markets just as easily.

You find a fixture between two teams so unmatched that the favourites may as well be forced to play with their legs tied together just to give the other team a chance, so you think: “let’s put a +5 goal handicap on the underdogs.”

As tempting as it might seem, this kind of handicap is the equivalent of stealing candy from a baby. The bookmaker being the big bad thief and you being the baby. Keep your head and don’t do anything crazy with your handicap bets!

2. Increasing the handicap for better odds

Sometimes it can be tempting to increase the handicap up just a notch to get those better odds, like taking a -2 goal deficit instead of a -1. But remember, higher odds are higher odds for a reason and put simply: there will be a smaller possibility of winning.

If you want to get higher odds then look for another bet where you can really be sure that the team you are backing will get over the line with the amount of goals that they score.

If you fail to find anything else then keep the handicap low and combine it as a multiple bet. You can place handicaps and Asian handicaps as part of doubles, accumulators and Lucky 15s with most good online betting sites.

3. Lack of research

Not doing your homework is a fatal error in the world of betting and this applies especially to handicap and Asian handicap betting.

Because the games that you bet on in the handicap markets have to be ones in which a team will win or lose by a large margin, you really have to focus your research to this factor. It’s no good to just see that a team has won their last three games and think that they are a shoe-in for a handicap bet because they could have simply scraped those victories by one goal each.

When doing my research, I ask myself questions such as: How many goals do the team tend to win by? Is their leading goalscorer expected to play? How many goals do the team tend to concede? How many goals does the opposition tend to score and concede?

4. Betting for the sake of betting

Sometimes you just want to place your bets and be done with it. maybe you are in a rush before kick off or you can’t be bothered to do the research. Well, if this is the case… don’t make the bet!

Unless you are confident that your bets are well backed up with your own research and the backing of tipsters on twitter then don’t press the “Place Bet” button. If you can’t find a good handicap that you can be 99% sure will make you a decent profit then it isn’t worth it – at the end of the day, no-one is forcing you to do it!

It’s better to wait for the right handicap or Asian handicap with good value than just throw your money away with a half-arsed bet.

5. Not knowing what the result requires

Make sure you understand what the result of your handicap and Asian handicap bet requires. It’s an obvious thing to point out but it is easy to go into a handicap bet with your numbers mixed up.

So, before making every handicap bet just take that extra 30 seconds to work out what each handicap result will require for you to win. All it takes it takes is a pen, paper and some mental arithmetic and you will know exactly how many goals each team will need to win by for you to win.

Because Asian handicaps are a little bit more complex, this is a must. Make sure that you know what will happen for each type of Asian handicap. For instance, when you make an Asian handicap bet with a whole number value such as 0, -1.0 or -2.0, then you could result in a push. This means that if the team wins by the same number of goals as the handicap, effectively taking the game to a draw then you will get your stake back.

Also, fractional values in Asian handicaps such as -1.25 and -1.5 mean different things too. For the quarter fractions (-1.25, -1.75) your stake is split and you can either win the bet, lose half of your stake or lose all of your stake depending on the outcome of the match. For half fractions, there is no possible insurance from a draw – you either win or lose all of your stake.

6. Assuming that handicap and Asian handicap bets are the same

It’s easy to do – you are scrolling down a long page of betting options looking for the handicap bets, you see the familiar positive and negative numbers and go straight to click them without noticing that they are actually Asian handicap odds.

In fact, some bettors fail to notice the difference between handicap and Asian handicap bets altogether. So let me quickly explain the main differences…

In brief, normal handicap bets give you three possible match outcomes – home win, draw and away win – each of which will be affected by a negative or positive whole number handicap.

Asian handicap bets eliminate the draw possibility by offering two match outcomes. You will also find fractional handicaps. When a draw does occur in an Asian handicap, you will get your money back.

To put it into terms of odds, Asian handicap odds tend be shorter than normal handicap odds because of the money-back insurance. For example, an Asian handicap of -1.0 will give a smaller payout than a normal handicap of -1 for the same team, simply because the former will give you your stake back if the result after the handicap is a draw.

So, there you have it – what not to do when you make your handicap and Asian handicap bets. Happy betting!