European handicap

October 1, 2018 | In: Articles

European handicap introduces an advantage for or against a contender for an event, but, unlike the Asian handicap, does not eliminate the possibility of a draw, but considers it as another possible outcome to be taken into account in terms of the handicap.

What is the European handicap? The European handicap is an advantage or disadvantage that we add to the score of a contestant. This advantage or disadvantage is expressed only with whole numbers (1, 2, 3 …) and does not eliminate the possibility of a draw, for which we can bet taking into account the handicap indicated by the bookmaker. The European handicap is usually used to balance very unbalanced matches, with a clear favorite, and thus improve the odds or correct the risk associated with one of the rivals.

Types of European handicap

To better understand the European handicap we are going to divide them into two types, depending on whether they add so many advantages or subtract them.

Positive European handicap (+1, +2, +3, etc.)

This handicap adds the advantage indicated in the number to the team’s marker indicated in the bet.


A Second B team faces a First Division team in the Copa del Rey. Being the first leg we think that the score is going to be very tight, but it is still very risky to bet on the lower category team. As the Second B team share will be very high, we can play a European +2 handicap in your favor, decrease the risk and continue to maintain acceptable odds. In case the Second B team wins, ties or loses by 1 goal, the European handicap would win us the bet. We would only lose it if I lost by 2 or more goals.

Let’s imagine that he wins 1-0; when adding the handicap +2 the result would be 3-0, victory. Suppose you draw 1-1; when adding the handicap +2 the result is 3-1, victory. Even if you lose by 1-2, when you apply the +2 handicap, you win 3-2. Only if he loses, for example, 0-2 or 1-4, the bet would be lost since in the first case the final result would be 2-2, draw, and in the second 3-4, defeat.

Negative European handicap (-1, -2, -3, etc.)

This handicap subtracts the points indicated in the number to the team’s marker indicated in the bet.


We bet on the Spanish football team in a friendly match against a clearly inferior team such as Andorra. The normal thing is that the shares of Spain are very low, so to raise them we bet on Spain with a European handicap -1 (Spain -1). If Spain wins by 2 or more goals difference, to subtract the handicap would continue to come out victorious and we would have won the bet. If Spain only won by 1 goal, draw or lose, the bet would have failed.

A result of 3-0 in favor of Spain would leave a final score after a handicap of 2-0 and we would have won the bet; but a 1-0 victory, after applying the handicap -1, would be tied 0-0 and the bet would have been lost. The same thing would happen with all the markers in which Spain was defeated, since the handicap would contribute to make the defeat worse.

European handicap to draw

The possibility of betting on the draw is what most characterizes the European handicap. It is perhaps the most difficult aspect to understand, but it is very useful to be able to bet on the tie and its usual high odds in more advantageous conditions.

Its operation is as follows: the bookmaker offers the result of a tie associated with a handicap. This handicap will be the one that we must take into account in the final score so that when applying it the match is in a draw.


A bookmaker offers us the possibility of betting on the tie to games in a tennis match by means of a European -4 handicap associated with a player. This would imply that to win the bet, the player who is awarded the -4 handicap must add at the end of the game 4 more games than the opponent, regardless of whether he wins or loses.

In a match between Nadal and Federer, we can bet on the draw by conceding a European -4 handicap to Federer (Draw Federer -4). Imagine that the game is won by Nadal 6-4, 1-6, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4. When adding up the total of games won by each tennis player, we get that Nadal has won 20 games and that Federer has won 24 games If we apply the handicap -4 of Federer, the result to games is 20-20, a draw that would win us the bet.

European handicap for beginners

The main difficulty that this handicap presents is to take into account at all times the possibility of a draw. For this reason, to begin to familiarize yourself with it, it is better to opt at first for the lower handicaps, +1 and -1. With these handicaps it is easier to calculate how the different possible results would be after applying the handicap and to decide better in this way which of the three options, victory of contender 1, victory of contender 2 or draw, we will choose.

It is also advisable at first to bet on the participants before the draw. It is easier to make a forecast with European handicap when what is sought is the victory of one or the other rival. When you understand the dynamics of the handicap properly, you can take the leap of betting on the tie.

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