Three-way fixed odds betting has long been the traditional way of backing the outcome of a football match for the majority of punters, but the reality is that it doesn’t always offer the best options for a decent return on your investment.

Sure, sometimes you will see a team at decent betting odds that you strongly believe will win, in which case a traditional punt on the ‘1X2’ fixed odds, particularly if you have something like a Skybet Bonus bet available, is absolutely fine.

However, there is a potential alternative in the form of a ‘Asian Handicap’ bet. The beauty of Asian Handicap betting is that the draw outcome is effectively taken out of the equation, making it just a two-way betting market instead of three. That in turn also reduces the bookmaker’s’ margin, so providing added value for your bets.

Asian Handicaps are particularly popular when there is a short-priced favourite involved, as it levels the playing field from a betting perspective for a game where the outcome might otherwise be considered to be something of a foregone conclusion.

So, for example, were there to be a game between Manchester City and Burnley at the Etihad Stadium, we might expect the Citizens to be priced up at around 1/5 (1.20) to win the match Not the most attractive odds from a backing perspective.

However, with the Asian Handicap, you should be able to back City at perhaps -2.5 at odds of perhaps 9/10 (1.90). What that translates to for the purpose of any bet is a pre-match goals handicap of -2.5 goals for City and +2.5 goals for Burnley. So, were you to back City on this Asian Handicap, you would need them to win by a margin of 3 or more goals for a winning bet.

Of course you can also use Asian Handicap for games that are far more evenly matched on paper too. There is always an angle you can have with an Asian Handicap bet if you have an opinion on the game.

There are basically five potential outcomes with any Asian Handicap bet:

Win – you win the value of your stake multiplied by the odds

Win half – you win half the value of your stake multiplied by the odds; while half the value of your stake is returned

Push – your stake is returned in full

Lose half – half the value of your stake is lost; half the value of your stake is returned

Lose – your stake is lost in full

What that means is that, depending on the specific Asian Handicap you select, you have the option of having the draw on your side or of using the draw to restrict any potential losses you might incur.

Asian Handicap bets have plenty going for them and should certainly be considered as an alternative option to fixed odds betting whenever you want a punt on a football match.