The European handicap in practice and theory, why is it less common than the Asian variety?

european handicap

European handicap theory

A handicap is a virtual added advantage for one (usually weaker) team, against the other team that appears in the match (usually stronger) points are virtually deducted. The points can represent the number of goals in the match, corner kicks or, of course, a basic bet on winning, losing or a draw. The European variety of handicap is based solely on whole numbers. This means that you will never encounter a notation like -1.5 or +2.5, such a stock means that it is not a European handicap. However, when you see a whole number, for example -1, it does not mean that it is 100% a European handicap, as this form of notation is also used in Asian handicaps. So how to recognize which variety it is? Bookmakers, practically always describe the bet. HA means the Asian handicap variety. No notation, or HE means the European variety just discussed. However, an advanced player will immediately notice the difference and be able to tell which handicap it is by the amount of the odds, since despite the same notation they mean a different bet and differ in odds.

So what does European Handicap -1 mean? It means that one of the teams has been deducted a point before the start of the match. If we bet on a team with a -1 victory is not enough, if this team wins by one goal our bet is lost. If it wins by two up our bet is won. The opposing team having +1, gives a winning bet in case of a draw or win, if it loses, our bet is lost. If, on the other hand, this team had a European handicap of +2 it would mean that compared to +1, it can still lose by one goal to make the bet a winning one (except for those results already described at +1) As you can see this is a scheme that applies to all European handicaps, whether -1,-2,-5,+2,+4. The theory and scheme is always the same as described above, only the teams, sports, handicaps change. It is not too complicated and understanding one or two European handicap events gives a full understanding of the whole theory.

European handicap practice

The theory gives an explanation of what this is all about and what it consists of. However, in order for the explanation to be complete and fully illustrate this type of handicap, there can be no lack of an example of matches with this very type of bet. A practical example will allow you to fully visualize and better assimilate the European handicap by meeting it “live” at the bookmaker.

For example, the Premier League match Chelsea – Norwich . The bookmaker recognizes that Chelsea is a big favorite and puts odds of 1.22 to win. However, it also puts up odds for a European handicap of -1 and -2. At -1 1.88, and at -2 2.55 (example odds). The player decides to put part of the stake on -1 and part on -2. Let’s assume that the match ends with Chelsea winning 2-0. So what about the coupons in such a situation, So one of them, -1 is won, because the handicap has been covered. On the other hand, the other bet, -2 is lost. One goal was missing for it to be a winner. If there had been a 1-0 score or a draw/loss for the home team, the entire bet would have been lost.

For the second example, we will choose a different sport. Ice hockey, NHL game St Louis Blues – Anaheim Ducks. We assume that the Ducks are severely weakened. Because of this, the bookmaker considers the hosts to be the big favorite. In addition to the basic lines for victory, he puts a European handicap of +3 on the Anaheim Ducks, who are condemned to defeat, to equalize the odds in the line put up. What does such a handicap tell us? If we place this bet then the “minimum” result for us to win this bet would be a 2-0 Ducks defeat. This and all more favorable results for the Ducks mean a winning ticket. On the other hand, any defeat of 3 or more goals means that the bet is a loser.

The examples confirm exactly what the theory implied, which is that it’s basically a simple matter and there’s nothing too complicated about it that would prevent you from understanding this type of betting fairly quickly. Whether it is football or basketball, the European handicap, it always works in the same way as described above.


There’s no fooling, the European handicap is much less applicable than the Asian handicap, which by far dominates when it comes to handicaps, and there’s absolutely nothing surprising about it, it allows for much, much more. It gives more betting options and possibilities and is definitely more common with bookmakers, with sports betting brokers it is one of the main types of betting. Advanced players bet on Asian handicaps, that’s obvious. But let’s return to the title topic, the European variety. We already know that the second variety is much more widely used and described on the Internet, making it more popular and, let’s not kid ourselves, better. But does this make the European handicap useless and inapplicable?  No, this is not the case, it is strongly related to the bookmaker at which you bet.

If the bookmaker has a developed Asian handicap section, they cover the function of the European ones, after all -1 European is equivalent to -1.5 Asian. So the European handicap is fully substitutable for the Asian one. The other way it doesn’t work. However, what about bookmakers who do not offer Asian handicaps? In such a situation, the ability to bet on European handicaps can be useful. Besides, in the less frequently offered variety, you can sometimes find quite good value and odds. Thus, one cannot unequivocally say that these handicaps suck! Despite their limited use and substitutability by the more popular Asians, one should be happy if there are more options to bet on. We always say that the more options to choose from the better for players, whether it’s in terms of the number of bets on a given match, the number of betting lines or basically anything else, more choice is just good.

Best handicap betting sites

Many years ago at European bookmakers, you could find a lot of sites with European handicaps (after all, it is not without coincidence that the very name indicating the origin of this variety) However, over time, asians, popular in Asia bookies began to take over the handicap market (if you can call it that way) and thus we no longer very often find the European variety, but remember, as we said, asians give exactly the same opportunities, plus much more. That is, you can still realize your stratagem without a problem if it was based on European handicaps. So where can I find the largest number of handicaps? We chose the sites in terms of the number of offers for handicaps, it was not easy, because currently there is competition in this regard and bookmaker sites often seem similar in this respect, we, however, went deeper in our tests and thus we can present you with a list of the best handicap sites.

The above-mentioned sites offer a large, in fact, the majority of their offer in handicaps and on them are based basically all lines for all sports, so it is not an exaggeration to say that they are the first choice option for players looking for extensive sites with such possibilities. It is also worth remembering that handicaps, used in a conscious and rational way, give a great advantage and opportunities, after all, there is a reason why they are so “liked” by experienced players. They can be the basis of any broader betting strategy, whether we mean arbitrage betting or combo bets. Handicaps can be and even in many situations should be the basis of such as well as other strategies.


Subscribe us!

Available soon, but you can subscribe.