What is European Handicap (EH)
In the betting world very often there could be a significant difference in the performance of two teams that are facing each other. Because of many different reasons (many players injured, current financial situation or just better quality of the players) one team can be a huge favorite and therefore odds for this team will be really low. Punters usually don't like to bet on such events, because of the big investment they have to make in order to have some decent profit and respectively the huge risk that comes with the big investment.
Therefore bookmakers came up with a way to attract punters to play on these games and it is called a handicap. The European Handicap (EH) basically gives to one team (or player in single sports) advantage before the event has even started. Thus the match starts more even and the odds respectively are more competitive for the two teams (players).
European Handicap in details
At first, European Handicap might seem confusing and hard to understand, but once you see the logic behind it, it is very simple to use and therefore one of the most popular ways for punters to bet.
So let's take a more detailed look into 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 for any bettor. Therefore the bookmakers offer European Handicap to give an advantage to the underdog (+1,+2, etc.) and disadvantage to the “stronger” team (-1,-2, etc.). If you get European Handicap of +2 for the underdog, this means that the they will start with the advantage of 2 goals. If you take European Handicap -2 for the favorite they will start the match with the disadvantage of 2 goals.
So the odds with European Handicap would look something like this:
Arsenal (-2) @2.60
Draw (+2) @4.00
Qarabag (+2) @1.99
When is your bet winning?
If we take the same example the outcomes from the match will be as follow:
If you bet on Arsenal -2 your bet will be winning in case Arsenal won by 3 goals or more
If you bet on Draw +2 your bet will be winning if Qarabag loose by exactly 2 goals
If you bet on Qarabag +2 your bet will be winning in case they win the match, gets in a draw or loses by 1 goal
Difference between European Handicap and Asian Handicap
There are a couple of significant differences between European Handicap and Asian Handicap (AH). In EH you have a draw option which is not the case with AH. This is the reason it is also called 3-way betting – you can choose between three possible bets.
Another significant difference is that EH is always with integer numbers such as -1, -2, -3, etc. This can be directly matched with the number of goals in a match and makes it easier to understand, especially for newbies in the betting world. In AH you will see advantage or disadvantage of 0.25, 0.50, 1.25, 1.50, etc. You can find detailed explanation of Asian Handicap here.
Which sports can be bet on with European Handicap
Surely football is the most popular sport to play with EH, but not the only one. European Handicap is a great way for bookies to even the strength of two teams/ players in many sports. The essential rules in every sport are the same. For example, in basketball, a team is given an advantage or disadvantage with the number of points. You can find European Handicap in tennis as well, where one of the players has advantage or disadvantage in games and sometimes even in sets. Other sports you will see European Handicap for are volleyball, handball, ice-hockey and sometimes even baseball and American football.