European handicap in sports betting: everything you need to know

Similar to the 1x2 handicap, the European handicap in sports betting is a type of bet that aims to give an advantage to a team that is clearly underdog. The objective is none other than to mitigate that difference, making the match fairer and more equitable as far as betting is concerned.

In a European handicap bet, the aim is, therefore, to reduce the handicap with a bet that gives the player a large enough margin of error to make it easier for him to win his bet.

But the European handicap is bidirectional, i.e., it can be made for the underdog team as well as for the team that is in a clear advantageous position.

What is the European handicap in betting?


The European handicap is widely used by professional bettors looking to reduce the risk they take when betting. There are several types of European handicaps, which we will call European handicap A, European handicap B and European handicap C.

  • European handicap A. The most standard European handicap is the one that gives a positive margin point to the team that is at a disadvantage. For example, if Valencia CF (home) plays FC Barcelona (away), we would place a 1 handicap bet on Valencia CF, as FC Barcelona would normally be the favorites to win the match.

Let us now imagine these three scenarios:

  • 1 - 0. With the European handicap it would be 2 - 0 in favour of Valencia CF. We would win, in this case.
  • 0 - 1. With the European handicap it would be 1 - 1. In case of a draw, we lose the bet.
  • 0 - 0. With the European handicap it would be 1 - 0 in favour of Valencia CF, which would make us win as well.
  • European handicap B. In the second type of European handicap, the European handicap type A is replicated, but we give two points instead of one. The same rules are followed for measuring wins and losses: victory if the handicapped team's points are higher, and defeat in case of a draw or if the favorite team wins.
  • European handicap C. In European handicap betting type C, 3 points are awarded to the weaker team in the match. It is a more aggressive strategy, but the essence remains the same: in case of a draw, we lose.

European handicap vs Asian handicap


One of the main differences between the European handicap and the Asian handicap is that in the European handicap, draws do not count as wins.

While in the European handicap only whole numbers are applied, in the Asian handicap the numbers applied can be decimals. Therefore, it is possible to see bets of the type +1.5, with a draw being impossible when adding a number with decimals. In case of a draw, the bet is considered lost in the European handicap, but with the Asian handicap we can recover the bet amount.

Despite using decimals, it is advisable to start using Asian handicaps because, although you lose some odds compared to the European handicap, they maintain the possibility of recovering the capital in any event.

In addition, the Asian handicap 0.0 is equivalent to a bet without a draw, returning the stake in the event of a draw.

The Asian handicap has aspects that may be friendlier to a certain user profile, which is why it is more suitable for those who prefer to bet with certain beneficial conditions or are new to using the handicap in their betting.

European handicap for beginner bettors


Although it is not advisable to include handicap betting if you are a newcomer, you may want to learn quickly or feel ready to introduce handicaps into your betting. If you have also decided to start with the European handicap, you are either deluded or you really feel ready and are looking for a thrill.

The best way to start betting with European handicaps is to start with low values, i.e., +1 and -1. This will make it much easier for you to calculate how the different results will look after applying the handicap, thus speeding up and improving your decision making.

Another tip for beginners: don't complicate your life and always bet in favour of one of the participants. Considering the handicap (never a better way to put it) that the draw poses in this type of betting, it is normal that your plays are focused at first on giving the victory to one of the contenders. Because, bearing in mind that a draw will make you lose your stake, you'll want to start by avoiding a draw.

However, don't panic if you feel a little lost at the start or find it hard to keep up with the calculations of your bets. The best thing to do is, if you feel you're in trouble, start using the Asian handicap, and once you've specialized in this type of betting, take the plunge. This way, you will have the opportunity to profit under certain conditions and not commit more of your capital than necessary.

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