Betting Guides > European Handicap Betting in Football Explained

    European Handicap Betting in Football Explained

    What is the European Handicap?

    4 min |

    What is the European Handicap?


    In the betting world often, you can find a huge difference in the performance of two teams that are facing each other. Due to many different reasons (many players injured, current financial situation or just better quality of players) one team can be a favorite, so the odds of that team will be really low. Punters usually do not like to bet on such events, because of the big investment they have to make in order to get some decent profits and respectively the huge risks that come with a big investment.

    Therefore, bookmakers have come up with a way to lure punters into playing these games and it’s called a handicap. A European handicap in bets essentially gives an advantage to one team (or player in a single sport) before the event has even started. Thus, the match starts more even and the odds are respectively more competitive for the two teams/(players).


    European handicaps betting in the fine details

    At first, the European handicap might seem confusing and hard to understand, but once you see the logic behind it, it will become very easy to use which makes it one of the most popular ways to bet.

    So, let’s take a more detailed look at “European Handicap”.

    Let’s take, for example, a match between Arsenal and Qarabag from the Europa League. Arsenal is the clear favorite in this match and the odds respectively are not attractive to any bettor. For that reason, bookmakers offer European Handicap to give an advantage to the underdog (+1, +2, etc.) and a disadvantage to the “stronger” team (-1, -2, etc.). If a bettor gets a European Handicap of +2 for the underdog, that means they will start with a two-goal advantage. If the European handicap is taken -2 for the favorite, they will start the match with the disadvantage of two goals.

    So, the odds with European Handicap would look like this:

    Arsenal (-2) @ 2.60

    Draw (+2) @ 4.00

    Qarabag (+2) @ 1.99


    When does your bet win?

    If you take the same example, then the results of the match will be as follows:

    If you bet :

    •  Arsenal-2, your bet will be winning, if Arsenal won by 3 goals or more.
    •  on Draw +2, your bet will be winning if Qarabag lose by exactly 2 goals.
    •  on Qarabag +2, your bet will be winning if they win the match, draw, or lose by 1 goal.


    The difference between European Handicap and Asian Handicap

    There are two significant differences between European Handicap and Asian Handicap. In the European handicap you have a draw option, which is not the case with the Asian handicap. That is why it is also called triple-way betting, you can choose between three possible bets/odds.

    Another significant difference is that European Handicaps are always with integer numbers like -1, -2, -3, etc. This can directly match the number of goals in a match and makes it easier to understand, especially for beginners in the betting world. In Asian handicap, you will see advantages or disadvantages of 0.25, 0.50, 1.25, 1.50, etc. You can find a detailed explanation of the Asian Handicap here.


    Which sports can be bet on with the European Handicap?

    Football is certainly the most popular sport to play with European handicaps, but it is not the only one. The European Handicap is a great way for bookmakers to even the strength of two teams/players in many sports. The basic rules in every sport are the same. For example, in basketball, a team is awarded an advantage or disadvantage with the number of points. You can find the European handicap in tennis as well, where one player has an advantage or disadvantage in games and sometimes in sets. Other sports you will see in the European Handicap for, are volleyball, handball, ice hockey, and sometimes baseball and American football.