Football, also called soccer, is the world’s most popular sport, and is the primary focus of most Asian bookies. If you live in Asia you probably follow both the major European leagues such as English Premier League, La Liga, etc. and your local football competitions. In this article I’ll discuss betting on each. For reason this is a broad topic I’ll start by covering the best online bookies for the area you live, before getting into more details.
Editor’s note: With Asian handicaps often a ¼ or ¾ handicap is used. If the handicap is -0.25: half the stake is bet on -0 and the other half on -0.5. If the handicap is -0.75: half the stake is bet on -0.5 and half on -1. If this is confusing, refer to Wikipedia article: Asian handicap.
Today all Asian bookies offer both Asian handicap and 1×2 betting. Also many international betting sites
(Including the UK’s most famous) now offer Asian handicaps as an alternative to their primary 1×2 markets.
1×2 and Asian handicap are the most popular football markets, but all the betting websites we recommend also offer the following wager types:
With Asian bookies, such as 188bet, the above mentioned markets are offered on almost all football competitions. You’ll find some do offer specials on big matches such as first goal scorer, last goal scorer, total corners, bookings and more. As a general rule of thumb Asian bookies offer better odds than European bookies. The European sites do however offer far more betting options, with all these specials mentioned (plus dozens of others) as standard markets. These specials are however novelty bets. Most serious Asian punters avoid them because they have a large advantage to the bookmaker.
Every online bookie, Asian and European, offers betting on the popular European football leagues such as English Premier League (EPL), Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, German Bundesliga, French Ligue, Portuguese Primeira Liga, Turkish Superlig, and countless others. The same is true for major competitions such as Champion League, World Cup 2014, Euro 2016, 2016 Olympics, etc. For reason that you can pick virtually any betting site to wager on these, we won’t list them out individually.
More challenging is discovering which betting sites offer odds on domestic football in countries associated with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) – the governing body of association football in Asia. In this section I’ll provide a brief overview of football betting in nine popular AFC nations, and then conclude with advice on where to bet the remaining 22.
When Asian football betting is discussed, Australia is often omitted from the conversation. This is perhaps due the fact Australia has a very mature legal betting market with sites such as Centrebet.com having been online and legal since 1996. Perhaps the other reason is Australia was originally part of the FIFA subdivision OFC. However since 2006 they have been part of the AFC, and have come close to major success in this division. In 2008, Australia’s Adelaide United finished runner in the AFC Champions League and in 2011 the Australian national team finished runner up in the AFC Asian cup.
All Australian football competitions that can bet online are governed by Football Federation Australia (FFA). If you live in Australia you will want to use AU licensed sites covered in our article on Australian bookies for football (soccer) betting. For those living elsewhere wishing to bet Australian football (called soccer in AU) 188Bet and Bet365 are the best sites to use. Both offer betting on the top level A-League, and state leagues NSW Premier League, Victorian Premier League, Western Australia Premier League, Brisbane Premier League and South Australian Super League. 188bet also offers markets on Queensland State League.
Outside China, there is only a small following for Chinese football. Even though at the time I am writing this article (2012) FIFA has China ranked #5 of all AFC nations, the country simply hasn’t had much recent success in AFC competitions.
Once a threat in any competition, the China National team’s last noteworthy accomplishments were a runner up finish in the 2004 AFC Cup and winning the 2005 East Asian Football Championship. In 2006 they failed to advance through the preliminary qualifying stage for the FIFA world cup. In 2007, they toured the US and managed to lose 1-0 to the lowest ranked MLS team Real Salt Lake, who had just finished last in the league. This was followed up with a disappointing failure to advance out of the group stages in 2007 AFC Asian Cup, and failure again to qualify for the 2010 World Cup after home losses to Qatar and Iran.
China does however have one of the most exciting domestic leagues for online football betting. This is Super League which is the highest tier of professional association football in China. If you live in China refer to our article Sports Betting in China for the best sites to use for betting Super League. Those living elsewhere can bet on Super League at 188Bet, or pretty much any other Asian bookie.
Note: Other leagues governed by the Chinese Football Association (CFA) (League One, League Two, and League Three) are for the most part non-betting competitions. The only Chinese football online betting is offered for tends to be Super League and FA Cup.
Football is very popular in Indonesia both for betting major European leagues EPL, La Liga, Serie A etc. and for domestic football betting. Indonesian football has only limited appeal to other countries due to many changes, such as replacing the top flight league twice since 2008 and having a breakaway league.
Before 2008, Liga Indonesia Premier Division was the top flight professional football league in Indonesia (–due to conflicts, in 2011 two different versions of this league were organized). This league was replaced as the top level with the Indonesian Super League (ISL) in 2008. Then in 2011 the Super League was replaced with the Indonesian Premier League (IPL). This triggered the Super League to break away from PSSI.
There have been many threats that the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) will be suspended from FIFA competitions if they fail to get the breakaway league issue resolved. While an agreement was almost reached, on August 9, 2012 the Jakarta Globe reported Indonesia Super League (ISL) is considering a new season as a breakaway league (source).
Indonesia, who has never had much success in the Asian Cup (nor has their teams in the AFC Champions League), has had decent success in the ASEAN Cup competition. For this they reached the finals in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2010 though they were defeated each time, never lifting a trophy. These appearances have helped their domestic leagues gain a small following in other South East Asian countries. The rest of Asia, and the world for that matter, find the conflicts and instability confusing, so for the most part those betting these leagues are local Indonesian punters and professionals looking for value.
It’s worth noting while not a large international appeal, both Premier League and Super League are very popular for betting in Indonesia. If you live here you can find the best websites for Indonesian football betting in our article on Indonesia bookies. For those living elsewhere the best websites for betting ISL and IPL are 188bet.com and Bet365.
Japan is the most successful footballing nation that is part of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and is currently ranked #1 in the AFC rankings calculated by FIFA. The men’s national team are the reigning Asian Cup champions and also won the Asian Cup three additional times (1992, 2000, and 2004). At the 2010 World Cup they made the round of 16. Their 2012 Olympics’ team also had a great run but was upset by South Korea in the bronze medal match.
Japan also has a popular domestic league called the J. League. This consists of J. League Division 1 (J1) and J. League Division 2 which are both fully professional. Clubs from J1 League have done well in AFC Champions League with Urawa Red Diamonds winning in 2007 and Gamba Osaka winning in 2008. As a result of this success, the 2009 and 2010 AFC Championship matches were hosted in Japan at the National Stadium in Tokyo. Unfortunately for them, this was only to see teams from their bitter rival South Korea take the title both years.
If you live in Japan and want to bet local football, see our article on Japanese betting sites for our top recommendations. If you live elsewhere, due to Japan’s great success in Asian and World Competitions it should come as no surprise almost all betting sites offers odds on J1 League matches and the Xerox Super Cup match. Additionally, some Asian bookies (ex: 188Bet) and European betting sites (ex: Bet365) offer betting J-League Division 2, Yamazaki Nabisco Cup, and Emperors Cup.
Malaysia football has little, if any, international following. At the time I’m writing this article (2012) they are ranked #25 out of 31 AFC national teams ranked by FIFA. The team hasn’t qualified for the Olympics since 1980 and has never qualified for the World Cup. Recently they lost all their Asian Cup games, China 5-1, Uzbekistan 5-0 and finally Iran 2-0. Their domestic clubs have also had no success in AFC Champions League.
Despite being one of the lowest tier countries in AFC, many betting sites do offer odds on leagues of Football Association of Malaysia (FAM). The top level is Super League, and the second level Premier League. Both those located in Malaysia and other countries can bet these competitions at a limited number of sites, namely Bet365, 188Bet, BetVictor, Ladbrokes and SportingBet. Malaysia also hosted the longest running football tournament in Asia. This is the Malaysia cup which was founded in 1921. The top 16 teams participate in this tournament. While not too many betting sites cover this www.bet365.com does.
Note: If you live in Malaysia and are new to online betting, read our article on Malaysia online bookies where I cover the available banking methods and other important details.
Singapore football betting is an interesting topic. Despite considerable financing by state run betting SG Pools, their national team has never had any success in the AFC Asian Cup, nor has their domestic team in AFC Champions League. The same is true for world competitions. The only success Singapore has had is against other South East Asia countries. They won the ASEAN Cup (now known as AFF Suzuki Cup, and previously as the Tiger Cup) in 1998, 2005 and 2007. During that 2007 run they set a national record defeating Laos 11–0 in a match where Mohd Noh Alam Shah scored 7 goals.
Interesting is despite the only excitement to speak of coming from success in South East Asia competitions (the area Asian bookies mostly target) no Asian bookie offers betting on Singapore football. What makes this a bit strange is the fact that nearly all European betting sites (ex: Bet365) and even US sportsbooks (such as 5Dimes) do offer betting and a large number of markets on Singapore football matches. In fact, even the Czech Republic top legal bookmaker Fortuna.cz, covers S-League. The others mentioned cover this plus League Cup, Singapore Cup, Singapore Charity Shield. The reason Asian bookies avoid these leagues is because most use Singapore as a banking hub and they don’t wish to run into legal challenges with the specific Singapore leagues, clubs, or governing bodies.
Note: If you live in Singapore and are interested in betting European football, you can find recommended betting sites in our article titled Online Betting Singapore.
If you live in the Republic of Korea and are new to online betting be sure to read our article Online Betting in Korea before proceeding. In this article I cover the banking methods, ID requirements, and how to get around blocks that redirect gambling sites to warning.or.kr. I also cover which online bookies offer betting on K-League, National League, Korean Cup and League Cup.
For those living outside Korea, not familiar with Korean football, note this is one of the top AFC nations. Their men’s national team is currently ranked #3 in the AFC by FIFA trailing only Japan and Australia. However when new rankings come out they are expected to pass out the #2 ranked Australia.
They finished third place in the past two Asian Cups. In the 2012 Olympics, their U23 team completed a Cinderella run by defeating Japan in the third place match to score an unlikely Bronze Medal. In AFC Champions League, their K-League teams have had great success the past three seasons. The Pohang Steelers lifted the trophy in 2010 and Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma did the same in 2011. In 2012 Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors fell just short. They finished regulation time and extra time of the finals tied 2-2, but had to settle runners-up when Qatar defeated them in penalty shootout.
For those living outside South Korea, the best site for betting Korean football is Bet365.com.
Thailand is a very popular country for football betting. Back in 2000-2001, the betting website Ladbrokes.com was the principle sponsor of Liverpool FC’s 2001-2002 Asian tour which saw them compete in Thailand. This was the first real betting website presence here, and Ladbrokes took full advantage translating their website to Thai language. This caught on in a hurry and today Thailand has many ties to European football, especially the English Premier League.
Former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra (the self-exiled brother to Thailand’s current PM) made bids to purchase EPL clubs Fulham and later Liverpool while still the head of state. After leaving office he finally got the team he desired purchasing Manchester City on 21 June 2007 for £81.6 million. This turned him a nice profit as he later sold the club to Abu Dhabi United Group for £200 million.
Thailand’s two most popular beers Chang and Singha are heavily involved in European football sponsorships. Chang is shirt-sponsor of English Premier League Club Everton and also sponsors the Spanish La Liga’s Barcelona and Real Madrid. They’ve also developed a Chang Football Academy for up-and-coming young Thai footballers. Meanwhile their prime competitor Singha sponsors English Premier League’s Manchester United and Chelsea.
In 2011 Thailand hosted a friendly between Thai superstars and EPL club Chelsea which drew a sellout crowd of over 60,000. Coke was the main sponsor. Honda (Thailand’s most popular company for cars) is planning a tour that will have Manchester United and Liverpool visit in the coming years.
As a result of Thailand’s connections to football, dozens of betting sites now offer betting accounts in Thailand Baht (THB). This includes popular UK sites such as Ladbrokes and Bet365 and even professional betting site Pinnacle Sports now supports Thai language. This is of course in addition to most all Asian bookies supporting Thai language and offering THB accounts. If you’re from Thailand and wanted to know which of these sites are best refer to our article on Thailand bookies.
As far as Thai football is concerned, only the top level Thai Premier League is offered by a select number of online betting sites. These include Bet365, Ladbrokes, BetVictor, BWIN, 188Bet and Dafabet. The Thai National team is ranked #18 by FIFA out of the 31 Asian nations and hasn’t any success at all in any events other than the ASEAN Cup. For this less popular and less competitive competition they were the Champions in 1996, 2000 and 2002 and the runner up in 2007 and 2008. The Thai Premier League, founded in 1996, was without a sponsor from 2003-2010. They are now sponsored by a barely known energy drink coincidentally named ‘Sponsor’. The league is largely underfinanced but does have some enthusiastic local support.
Football is the most popular bet sport in Vietnam. Anyone living in Vietnam interested in betting V-league online can do so at www.188bet.com. They offer new players a 100% up to 5,000,000 VND sign up bonus. Here you can bet 1X2, Asian Handicaps and Over/Under. While not supporting the Vietnamese currency, other websites offering V-League betting include Bet365, PaddyPower and SportingBet. Using these sites, it’s possible to bet V-League on Draw No Bet, Double Chance, and Correct Score. SportingBet even offers European Handicap on Vietnamese Football.
V-League is the only Vietnamese football league that betting markets are offered on. This is despite the existence of a Vietnamese First Division, Second Division and Third Division which all use the usual promotion and regulation system. While very popular in Vietnam, this league is not well followed outside the country.
The Vietnamese football leagues have been subject to much controversy regarding corrupt officiating. There was a recently a threat to form a breakaway league for 2012, though this has since been settled. This was the result of a September 29, 2011 meeting that included the VFF and the 14 V-League teams and 14 First Division teams. They decided to form a new corporation, the Vietnam Professional Football Company, to manage the V-League. The VFF holds a 36% stake in the new corporation, and the rest is held by clubs.
The V-League does get some decent sponsorship money. Each team is allowed 5 foreign players, which is more than most Asian football leagues offer. About half the foreign players in the league come from Brazil. Back in 2003 the league was sponsored by Pepsi, but has used local sponsors since. Currently it is named Eximbank V-League for sponsorship reasons.
The Vietnam National football team has many sponsors. This includes Nike, Yamaha, Panasonic and twelve large Vietnamese corporations including insurance companies and banks. They are ranked #14 by FIFA out the 31 AFC national teams. While they haven’t much success in AFC Asian Cup, they have done well at the ASEAN football Championship. They won this in 2008, and have several seven total top four finishes since 1996.
There are many more Asian countries than the nine covered here that are part of the AFC region. Some with recent success include Iraq who won the 2007 Asian Cup. They defeated Saudi Arabia who finished runner up and went on to have additional success in 2009 when Ittihad FC of the Saudi Premier League finished runner up in AFC Champions League. The following year Iran had success when Zob Ahan Isfahan F.C. of the Iran Pro League team did the same. In 2011 we saw shock Champions League win when Qatar Stars League franchise Sadd Sports Club defeated South Korea to life the trophy. Some of the other AFC nations not mentioned in this article include Uzbekistan, Jordan and Kuwait whose National teams, as of 2012, are all ranked in the top 10 by FIFA of all AFC teams,
If you’re interested in betting football from any of the other countries mentioned Bet365 is a great European betting site for doing so, and 188bet is a great Asian bookie offering the same. Here it is possible to bet on small market top level leagues such as Uzbek League, Jordan Premier League, Kuwaiti Premier League, Syria Cup, India I-League and many other Asian football leagues and competitions.
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