European Handicap Betting

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European Handicap explained

European Handicap betting can be referred to as spread betting or three-way handicap with three possible bets per event.

You can choose to give a side a virtual head start or a deficit, which is then applied to the final score to work out the outcome of the bet.

It’s usually a market to consider when the match or contest is seen as ‘one-sided’, with one team inferior to the other. Where profit can be made by correctly judging the degree of one team’s supremacy over another, and as such is an important part of any football bettors’ strategy.

The handicap is a well-known and long-established device in sports betting, by which a bookmaker gives an advantage in points or goals to the weaker team, to theoretically even out the chances of both teams. In sports betting, the handicap margin is added to the final result to determine the outcome of a handicap bet. Although handicap betting is widely used across many sports, it is particularly well-known in football betting, where the European Handicap and the Asian handicap have grown steadily in popularity in recent years.

What is European Handicap betting?

Let’s look at an example of how European Handicap betting works in practice.

If England were playing Andorra, then the Three Lions would be short-price favourites to win the game. This is how the European Handicap might look with the three outcomes:

England (-1): 1.30
Draw (-1): 4.00
Andorra (+1): 5.50

In this European Handicap market, England must win by two or more goals to land the -1 line. If Andorra win or draw, then Andorra +1 is a successful bet.

The draw -1 bet would be the winning line if England win the game by a one-goal margin – and it’s this line that makes it different from Asian Handicap betting.

Sometimes there is more than one line to choose from, or you might come across different terminology. Here’s an example:

EH 1 (-1): 1.30
EH X (-1): 4.00
EH 2 (+1): 5.50

European Handicap Football Betting

This is still a European Handicap (EH) market, but 1 refers to the home team, 2 the away team, and X the draw.

The differences between Asian and European Handicap betting

The one simple way to show the difference between European and Asian Handicap betting is that the European markets offer a draw option.

Here’s how an Asian Handicap market might look:

England (-1) 1.3
Andorra (+1) 5.5

In this example, if England win by a single goal, neither bet would be a winner, so your stake would be returned. As a result, Asian Handicaps are often quoted in half-goals to eliminate the draw, unlike European Handicaps which work in whole goals.

There are also variations of Asian Handicap. For instance, you might come across an option with quarter-ball, half-ball and whole-ball handicaps. It’s up to the punter to weigh up the markets, although the choice may come down to a matter of personal preference

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The difference between Asian and European Handicap betting

The most obvious way in which the European Handicap differs from the Asian Handicap is that is offers a draw option. With Asian Handicaps, there are only two outcomes, and if the bet ends in a handicap draw, then the bettor’s stake is refunded.

For example, an Asian Handicap version of the market detailed above might look like this:

Brazil (-1) 1.65
Albania (+1) 2.35

With this Asian Handicap, if Brazil were to win by a single goal, neither bet would be a winner, and the bettor would have their stake returned. As a result, Asian Handicaps are often quoted in half-goals which eliminates the draw, whereas European Handicaps are always in whole goals.

It is also fair to say that the European Handicap is simpler to understand than the Asian Handicap, which has many varieties, including quarter-ball, half-ball and whole-ball handicaps. On the other hand, some bettors prefer Asian Handicaps as they only have two betting options to weigh up. As with all areas of betting, deciding which Handicap to use is a matter of personal preference and weighing up which suits your particular style.

asian vs european handicap

Tips for European Handicap betting

The European Handicap comes into its own in one-sided matches. If there’s little value to be found on the traditional fixed odds or outright win market, then the European Handicap market could give you an edge.

For example, if Man City were playing a home Premier League match against Newcastle, the Citizens would be a short price in the fixed odds market.

But, if they have injuries, suspensions or a big Champions League game on the horizon, they might not pull out all the stops. By backing either the draw or Newcastle on the European Handicap, you could get an edge, even if Man City do win the game.

Or, if they field a full squad, you could back Man City’s European Handicap line if you expect them to win the game convincingly, with this a bigger price than backing them to win in the fixed odds market.

european handicap strategies