A Guide to Handball Betting Strategies

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It’s true that handball isn’t up there with the likes of soccer, boxing, or tennis, each with major events that get the entire world on its feet. However, in certain European countries, handball is something of a big deal, attracting fans in the thousands as they turn up to spur on their favourite teams in countries such as Spain, France, Germany and The Netherlands.

So it shouldn’t be of any surprise that while it may not be a sport that gets mainstream media coverage in more than a handful of countries, betting fans can still put their money where their mouth is on both domestic and international handball.

In this betting strategy guide, we’re going to be looking at why sports bettors love handball and how you can have success by betting on this growing sport.

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Handball Basics

If you don’t have any knowledge at all on handball, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s an easy game to understand.

Handball shares a number of similarities with an indoor version of football known as futsal. Even the size of the goals are the same, and each team in both sports consists of seven players (six outfield players and a goalkeeper), with the aim of scoring more goals than the opposition. A game lasts for 60 minutes, is divided into two 30-minute halves, and allows rolling substitutions without any need to inform the referee.

There’s no possibility of a draw in handball. If the game is tied after an hour has been played, two five-minute periods of overtime commence to determine the winner. Should the score remain tied at the end of those additional periods, the two teams engage in a shootout.

The name may give the impression that players can only use their hands to touch the ball, but this isn’t the case. A player can use any body part as long as it’s above the knee, and once a player is in possession of the ball, they can either shoot, hold, or pass the ball. However, they’re only allowed to hold the ball for a maximum of three seconds and dribble for no more than three steps. This ensures that the game maintains an enjoyable pace. No player other than the goalkeeper is permitted to make contact with the floor of the goal area, which is why you’ll see players jump when shooting near the area.

A major distinction between handball and football/futsal is that handball tends to be a higher-scoring game. While there are under five goals scored in the majority of football matches, and under 10 in futsal, handball sees far more scoring action, with most games seeing more than a total of 40 goals. This makes it closer to basketball than football when it comes to pure end-to-end scoring.

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Handball Around the World

There’s a national handball league in more countries than you might think- even in those where the sport doesn’t attract a great deal of fans. In countries such as Norway, Denmark, Spain, France, and Germany, however, the leagues are immensely popular, with masses of spectators filling stadiums around the country.

The German Bundesliga (also called the DKB HBL as a way of differentiating it from the football league of the same name) is the world’s most popular handball league, with such teams as SG Flensburg-Handewitt and THW Kiel attracting thousands of fans to each game.

Other leagues that are popular in their own country include the Håndboldligaen in Denmark, PGNiG Superliga in Poland, K&H Liga in Hungary, Liga ABOBAL in Spain, and Ligue Nationale de Handball in France.

In The Netherlands the Dutch handball champions are decided in the NHV Eredivisie. The league attracts handball teams from all over the country. Notable participants are Sittardia, with 18 titles the most successful Dutch handball team in history from Sittard, and HV Aalsmeer and Handbal Volendam with 10 and 7 titles respectively.

Every top European team also plays in the EHF Cup and the EFH Championships League in a bid to determine continent’s best teams. The EFH Champions League was established in 1956, with Barcelona having shown that they’re a formidable force to be reckoned with over the years. They won their ninth title in 2015. It’s a highly competitive event, with no team ever successfully defending the trophy since 2008/09 when Ciudad Real pulled off back-to-back championship victories. No Dutch team managed to play any significant role in either of the two competitions.

It isn’t just domestic teams that receive massive support in those countries. International teams are also well supported. The Men’s IHF World Handball Championships is an annual event, with France continuing to prove that they’re the team to beat, winning six gold medals in recent events. Other teams that have enjoyed immense success at the championships include Spain, Russia, Germany, Romania, and Sweden. In 2019, co-host Denmark beat Norway to win the event for the very first time. The next event will take place in Egypt in 2021, with the 2023 event to be co-hosted by Sweden and Poland.

While the Women’s IHF World Handball Championships is played in the same calendar year as the men’s tournament, there’s completely independent of each other and are usually hosted by different countries. Russia has been the dominant country in the women’s competition, although those teams you would expect to be involved at the highest level also tend to compete. In 2015 the Dutch women’s team achieved their best result to date: a second-place against Norway in host country Denmark.

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Handball Betting Markets

Like most other team sports, match outcome, i.e. the team the bettor thinks will win, is the most commonly placed bet in handball. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t other markets to get involved in, however. In fact, there are dozens, such as winning margin bets or the number of goals, e.g. betting over a specific goal line or under or over.

Match Outcome

As mentioned above, the outcome of the match is the most commonly placed bet. It’s a simple bet that speaks for itself.

Unless you have an outsider you feel has a good chance of winning, however, it isn’t easy to find tempting enough odds on which to place a bet. Many bettors, therefore, opt for multiples, such as accumulators, doubles, or trebles. This includes multiple teams in one bet in order to provide a larger return from the bettor’s stake.

Total Goals

If there’s an upcoming match you feel could result in a high number of goals being scored- or conversely, a defensive battle between two low-scoring teams- it would make sense for you to consider betting on the number of goals.

Most matches offer a “line”. This is basically the bookmaker’s prediction of the number of goals scored. You then have the option of betting under or over the line. If the line was 50, for example, and you placed an ‘under’ bet, you would win if there were no more than 49 goals scored.

For those who don’t care who wins the match and only watch the game on a casual basis, this market can provide a bit of fun. This is especially true if you bet the ‘over’, as you would want both teams to attack and score as many goals as possible.

Winning Margin

If you like to seek out those bets that offer the most value, this market is one of the best to consider.

With a winning margin bet, you choose the team you feel has the greatest chance of winning and the minimum number of goals you feel they will win by. You might be offered 4/6 odds on THW Kiel to win their upcoming match against SG Flensburg-Handewitt, for example, while being offered 2/1 for Kiel to win by 10-12 goals. This works differently than a handicap bet because there’s a particular range of goals, as opposed to a minimum margin, making it more similar to ground round betting in boxing.

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Best Handball Bets

This might sound obvious, but the best bet is always the one that wins (and that ultimately pays out the most). That doesn’t mean that there is a particular handball market that gives you a better chance of winning than another.

Like with other sports, however, there are basic strategies that can help to boost the chances of you placing a successful bet. Sports betting after all, is different than betting games such as the lottery or many casino games, where people have no bearing on the result, but are instead based on chance alone. Let’s take a look at how this can work in your favour when betting on such sports as handball.

It Pays to Research

Sports betting has a significant advantage over casino betting in that people determine the results, as opposed to chance and luck. You, therefore, need to remember this when thinking about your handball betting strategy. Unlike games such as roulette, you aren’t going in there blind.

Team sports are susceptible to such consequences as injuries to players, poor decisions by coaches, and poor form. With this in mind, you should conduct your research before you place your bet in order to give yourself an edge.

It can be helpful to watch handball matches on a regular basis so that when you’re predicting the results of a match, you have an idea of form, matchups etc. The more you know, the greater advantage you will have.

Get immersed in the world of handball by keeping up on the latest news, transfers, team info, and all the results. This will help you to make an educated prediction on the outcome of the match.

Keep Tabs on Handball Statistics

One item of research which is important enough to devote an entire section to is handball statistics. This will give you an idea of certain patterns that specific teams adhere to. Some teams, for example, may adopt a conservative style of play in the early stages of a match before playing more openly later on in the game. This lends itself to in-play betting where you’ll find better odds on that team than you would prior to the match.

You can place a bet on the number of goals scored by certain players, so make sure to make a note of the top scorers and players for particular teams. You aren’t restricted to betting on individual handball matches, of course. There are several outright markets you can bet on, including competition or league winners, such as Germany’s Bundesliga, the national leagues in Norway, Denmark, Spain, and France, and global events like the World Championship or the Olympics.

Statistical summaries and form guides are great resources for you to tap into before placing your bet. There’s a seemingly endless amount of sports statistics available online, so make sure you make good use of them.

Give In-Play Betting a Try

As we briefly explained, in-play betting (also known as live betting) can be advantageous to those with knowledge of the sport.

Not only can in-play betting provide benefits with regards to betting with improved odds at the right time, but they can also add excitement to watching the match.

If you do have some knowledge of handball and have been doing your research, live betting is a great way for you to put that knowledge to the test, especially if one side manages to get in the lead early.

Mr Green offers literally dozens of in-play betting markets, which typically include the match result, winning margins, full-time and half-time betting, handicap bets, and the number of goals scored. You’ll usually find that any market available to bet on prior to the match is still available in-play.

Don’t Believe the Hype

While it’s beneficial to keep tabs on the latest handball statistics and news when dong your research, bear in mind that you need to avoid believing in the hype that can accompany certain players and teams.

When the media and fans hype up a player or a team, it can result in a shortening of the odds of that player or team, and often those adds are shortened too much. However, this provides an opportunity for savvy bettors to secure good value. If you feel that too much hype is being given to a player or team, keep tabs on the other team’s odds as they could begin to widen more than they should. Such opportunities are more common than you might think.

You’ll want to remain impartial when looking to place a bet on a handball match. If you find yourself becoming too attached to a certain team, you may begin to find that your predictions have become distorted- a situation you’ll want to avoid.

Try your best to keep your hopes and emotions to one side when betting on handball.

Trust Your Gut

While it’s important to avoid being swayed by the hype or being influenced by your favoured team, you should also trust your gut when it comes to making a decision on your bet. Your research will take care of the analytical side of things before your gut instinct takes over. You might feel that one of the teams is overpriced or that another team, while has seen some good form of late, has had luck on their side.

Team your knowledge with your gut and place a well-researched and the shrewdest bet you can.

Make a Prediction, Place Your Bet

Many players make the mistake of simply looking at the odds and making their selection based on what would pay out the most, before sitting back and dreaming of an upset.

A more intelligent way to approach a bet would be to scour the upcoming matches, look at the news, form, and statistics, and then make a prediction. Don’t make your decision based on the odds alone.

Don’t Chase Your Losses

As is the case with any form of gambling, the best betting strategy is to never chase your losses- especially avoid placing larger and larger bets.

Prior to placing your bet, you need to ensure that you would be comfortable with losing your stake. You want to be in a position where a win would be nice but where you wouldn’t feel down and out in the event of a loss. You should never bet more than you can afford to lose, and that applies to handball as much as it does any other form of gambling. You might not win, but at least you wouldn’t be out for the count.

You should regard sports betting as entertainment as opposed to a money-making venture. While anyone who places a bet wants to win, you should avoid placing a bet if you feel that a loss would put you on a downer, whether financially, emotionally, or both.

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Increasing Your Betting Value

If you’d like to get as much value as you can when placing your bet (and why wouldn’t you?), you should look out for Mr Green’s latest promotions and bonuses, as they’ll increase the value of your handball bets substantially.

Handball Betting Promotions and Bonuses

At Mr Green, we like to treat our customers to plenty of special offers and bonuses, such as rewarding new customers with a free bet, which can be applied to handball betting markets, among others.

At the time of writing, Mr Green offers a free €10 sports bet to new customers once they’ve staked €10 of sports bets online. This is one way to enhance betting value and offers more opportunities to win without having to spend more money.

We extend our generosity to existing customers with special benefits frequently awarded. You can typically find these benefits promoted on the website, but you should ensure that you open any Mr Green email that enters your inbox as we also send out promotions to selected customers on occasion.