I Am Son of Gamblor: Week Three

SORRY – I finished off my last article by saying I’d spend this week rating the current Rangers team, but it’s been brought to my attention that we’re trying to walk before we can run.

I’ve had a busy week of chat on Twitter with various punters – both old and new – and the same question has come up:

What are Asian handicaps, why do you use them and how do they work?

Asian handicaps are a type of bet which allows all football games to be converted into a level match. The handicaps are measured in ¼ goal increments from a 0 handicap upwards. A good way to think about it is if a team has a slight advantage, it would be considered a ¼ goal favourite with additional ¼ goal handicaps added as the difference in quality between the teams increases.

A match between two level teams at a neutral venue would have a 0 handicap. This is important to remember – if the game ends a draw, then all bets are returned as neither winners nor losers. One of the premises behind the Asian handicap is punters don’t like the concept of losing their money on a draw – they prefer the bet to end in a definite win for one team or the other.

Let me illustrate with a couple of examples:

Team A +0.5 v Team B -0.5

The final score is 1-1, but after Team A receives its half goal handicap start, the result is scored 1.5 – 1. Team A is settled as the winner. If the odds were at even money and the bet size was £100, then the bet will win £100.

Team A +.25(0, +0.5) v Team B -.25(0, -0.5)

I realise this looks horrible and probably has most people reaching for the Paracetamol, but please stick with it because it’s a lot more simple than it looks! The .25 handicap is made up of 2 bets: the first at a 0 handicap, and the second at the .5 handicap – you will see it written as either 0,0.5 or .25 as an abbreviation.

So, we have a scoreline of Team A 1 – 1 Team B:

  • The bet was struck on Team B for £100 at even money -.25
  • This translates as saying £50 of the bet was at a 0 handicap and returned to you, with the other £50 of the bet at -.5 which lost
  • So, for your £100 bet, you lost £50

The flipside of that bet is if you backed at the same price and stake the +.25 handicap:

  • You would have your £50 returned to you for the ‘0’ part of the bet (remember 0.25 is 0+0.5), but the other £50 at +.5 is returned as a winner (£50 at even money = £50 profit)
  • The final result is an overall profit of £50

As the handicaps change and go up the scale to .75 (ie, half at .5 and half at 1), then  to 1 and then 1.25 (half at 1 and half at 1.5), then to 1.75 (half at 1.5 and half at 2) – it’s worth taking a moment to consider how these would work out.

I don’t want to make this seem more difficult than it is and turn this week’s article into the gambling version of the Open University, but nevertheless, it’s important to know all of the options available to you. If you can master the concept, you’ll have a significant advantage in the betting market.

What is ante post betting?

Before the start of the season, I like to try to pick out the winners of the various leagues in an attempt to create the winning jackpot I can retire on. It’s a pretty simple process to pick the winners of the respective leagues and put them into an each way accumulator. “Each way” betting is where you pay double what you would for a “win only” bet, but you get paid a 1/5th of the win odds if your choice finishes in the top three in the league. When you put these bets into doubles or trebles, the odds are multiplied together and have a potential large payout.

My mindset when doing these bets is to look for weaknesses – find the teams who aren’t going to be as strong as the bookmakers think and cross them off the list. I’ve spent some weeks watching the teams, which has helped me come to the following conclusions:

First Division

Partick Thistle, Livingston and Falkirk are the teams I think will be placed in the top three this year. Thistle were available at 7/1 when the prices first came out and are still available at 5s which makes them “the value”. I wouldn’t be surprised if either one of them won the league, but you have to take the biggest price in a very even race.

Second Division

This is an incredibly difficult league to predict. I could only legitimately count out Albion Rovers and Stranraer as incapable of maintaining a season-long challenge. That said, such is the erratic nature of the league, they could probably still beat any other team in the league “on their day.” At a price of 7/2, I make Queen of the South good value.

Third Division

The bookmakers have sensibly priced up a market without Rangers. This league doesn’t seem to be as strong as in years gone past, but there are a couple of teams at the top of the market who appear vulnerable and whom I would happily take on. Last year, Peterhead were the team most “pro punters” had high hopes for. They had a disastrous start to the campaign, but finished strongly, narrowly missing out on the playoffs. They have strengthened again in the close season – and I may end up regretting this – but at 5/2, they could be one of the best bets of the season. In fact, if last season’s wounds were not still as raw, I’d be even more bullish on them.

You won’t be able to get the best odds for each of the teams if you place them as a multiple, because different bookmakers might differ with their prices – but even taking slightly worse prices you should still end up with something like a 80/1 treble.

If you have any particular questions or topics you would like David to cover, contact him via Twitter at @sflpunter.

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