European Handicap

October 12, 2022

Asian handicap has the largest share of global handicap betting as it is a more popular way of balancing the odds of winning between two teams. However, this is not the only handicap bet you can choose. European Handicap predated Asian Handicap and was used by online bookmakers in Europe long before Asian Handicap became popular.

This feature will help you fully understand the European handicap features and highlight the differences between European and Asian handicaps, making it easier for you to choose the best way to bet and increase your chances of winning.

How does European Handicap work?

A European Handicap is a 3-way bet, similar to a 1X2 match result bet. That’s why it’s also called “single handicap” or “three-way handicap.” In any game where the two teams are significantly different in strength, a handicap is placed on the outsider to make it harder for the favorites to win the bet.

So far, the functionality is the same as Asian Handicap. It is a notable difference: the European Handicap (abbreviated EH) is always a whole number, which means it can be matched with the goal difference. Asian handicap is not -1.5 balls or -0.25 balls. European handicap is always -1, -2, -3, etc.

Like the Asian Handicap, where the main goal is to get out of a tie result (with a non-integer handicap, you can win or lose your bet), European Handicap has a “tie” result. Of course, this is not the actual draw of the game but the “equilibrium” of the specific handicap set by the online bookmaker.

European Handicap Example

The Spain national football team is at home against Scotland, and the odds of winning the game are almost 100%. 1X2 betting odds on Spain winning should not exceed 1.01. The European handicap favored the underdog Scotland, who had a lot of goals (usually 3 or 4) that Spain had to overcome to be considered the winner. It makes betting on the match even more fun, as it is harder to predict the match’s outcome correctly.

Regardless of the result, if the European handicap is three goals, Spain will only be considered the winner if they win by four or more. Accordingly, whoever backs Scotland will win the bet even if they lose less than three. The match is a draw if Spain wins the EH handicap by three goals.

European Handicap Structure Explained

European handicap betting usually looks like this:

Team A (-2) / Draw (-2) / Team B (-2)

What does it mean?

  • Team A (-2): If you support this option, you will win when the relevant team wins by three goals or more.
  • Tie (-2): In this case, you win if your favorite game wins by two goals.
  • Team B (+2): The last option favors the game’s outsider. If your backed team wins the game, draws, or even loses by one goal, your bet will be considered a winner.

Differences in “Draw” bets

We have already mentioned that the main difference between European and Asian handicaps is that there is no tie result. It is not 100% correct: the correct wording is “draw result without winning,” as there is also a round handicap in Asian handicaps. But there is a big difference.

When you bet on Asian Handicap -1, if the favorite wins by one goal, your bet will be refunded as the bet is considered a ‘draw.’ You don’t win, and you don’t lose.

On the other hand, if you bet -1 European handicap and your team wins by a goal, you will lose your bet. In euro handicap betting, you cannot get your stake back. You can only win this bet by placing a “Draw” bet, where you expect the favorite to win with a one-goal lead. This option does not exist in Asian Handicaps as it is a two-way bet.

When to bet on European Handicap?

If you pick to bet on European handicap odds, you should know that you are taking a much higher risk than 1X2 betting. The truth is that EH odds are easy to find, as almost every online bookmaker offers them on the market (Asian handicap is increasingly popular but not available everywhere).

If your favorite style of play involves supporting the stronger team to win, usually at home, then you should study the European handicap carefully. If you find out that the home team is expecting to win by more than one goal, you can make huge profits. The odds can vary widely, as the 1.25 odds of the favorites can be the 1.60-1.70 odds of the same team winning two or more goals. It will have an impact on your funds.

The downsides of this play are pretty much the same as the Asian handicap. In most cases, you only bet on the team’s motives because if the team thinks they won the game, they may not be aiming for the second goal.

What should I pay attention to when choosing a European handicap?

Before placing a European Handicap bet, please follow the tips below.

Recent form: Wide or narrow win for the favorite? Have the underdogs excelled in recent away games, or have they lost more than one goal?

Home/Away Matches: Their current record indicates necessary behavior you should know before placing your bets.

Weather/Pitch: If it rains, the pitch gets heavier, and the favorite team has a more challenging time overcoming obstacles.

Motivation for the game: Did the favorite team win because they scored more than one goal, or was it a dull draw because nothing was affected?

Club relations: In the case of friendly crowds, you should avoid substantial target differences.

European Handicap Strategy

Using European handicaps is an attempt to increase the odds on some popular bets. However, all games with significant odds differences are not the same. Please focus on specific types of matches, such as:

  • When there is a vast quality difference between the favorites and the underdogs, the favorites will have no trouble scoring many goals.
  • When the favorite team has a strong attacking record, and the underdog has a hard time keeping a clean sheet.
  • A result from a team considered favorites is shocking (beaten by an underdog last week, a humiliating knockout in a midweek cup, or a massive defeat in an international break), and there is a real incentive to fight back.
  • In the case of supporting the underdog, be aware that the favorites are facing severe injury/suspension issues or have real problems with the coach and their relationship with the players.

Motivation is the key

In the Spain vs. Scotland example mentioned above, a one-two-goal victory would give Spain the three points they need. If they score more goals, they won’t gain anything, which increases the risk for the favorite to relax, especially on tremendous obstacles. There’s nothing more frustrating than watching a strong team slow down and not go for another goal because they’ve already won, but unfortunately, that’s not our bet.

It would be perfect if you were more careful about estimating odds and defining what “worth betting” means. European handicap odds are always more acceptable than simple 1X2 odds, so it’s easy to get carried away rather than estimate them carefully.

Find better odds

In an increasing number of games, the European handicap is an alternative betting option, even among opponents who theoretically have the same chance of winning. In this case, EH is not used to balance the difference in power but to give the would-be winner more attractive odds. Assume that the Man Utd-Barcelona derby has a neutral venue. If there are no signs, the odds for both teams should be about the same.

Online bookmakers will provide European handicap odds for this game, but the odds of overcoming the handicap are much higher this time. For example, if a Barcelona win has an offer at 2.20 in the 1X2 bet type, they will be more than 3.50 to win in a European Handicap -1. In this case, the European handicap is recommended when we are on the team to win and want to choose better odds and take the corresponding risk.

European handicaps for other sports

The European handicap is also in other sports besides football, but the essence is the same. For example, basketball betting has point handicaps that include draws. The favorite must match the said handicap to win the tie bet again. We can also find it in tennis betting (matches and even innings), team sports like volleyball, handball, and water polo, and individual sports like darts and snooker. Some online bookmakers even offer European handicap options in American sports like baseball or American football.

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