As sports betting has gained popularity over the years the number of betting markets has also increased. And the European Handicap market has offered punters another angle to approach their sports bets.

The Handicap market, or the European Handicap market, as it’s listed with some bookmakers is a simpler version the Asian Handicap market that works in full goals only. i.e. The underdog will be a +1 or +2 goal head start whereas the Asian Handicap works in 0.25 increments.

The main and key difference with the European Handicap is that the draw is still possible whereas the Asian Handicap offers just two outcomes.

Another key difference is that there are no void bets or refunds with the European Handicap, it’s a simple of case of winning or losing your bet depending on the result of the final score and the handicap added together. That’s why the draw is still possible; we look at this in the market example later.

Why use Handicap markets?

The Handicap betting market offer a great way of backing short priced favourites to record big wins. For example, Manchester City at home to Watford is priced up at 1.20 for a home win, which is not a price to excite any punter, but if you fancy Manchester City to knock a few past newly promoted Watford then the European Handicap will offer a much better price.

Handicap betting

Backing Manchester City -1 goal would be give you odds of around 1.50 but if you believe they will be win by a bigger margin then Manchester City -2 would be somewhere around odds of 2.30. But remember they need to win by 3 clear goals for it to be a winning bet – just two goals who result in a draw on the Handicap market – which priced at 4.00 (see below).


Likewise, your maybe looking at from the other angle and fancy the underdog in the match not to lose the game. So by backing Watford +1 goal means you win the bet if they avoid defeat, so you have 2 of the 3 outcomes covered.

All in all, the European Handicap is easier to understand for the novice punter and offers another dimension than backing the traditional fixed odds match winner market.

European Handicap Market Example

As already mentioned, there are still three possible outcomes (home win/draw/away win) as the handicap works in whole numbers. Below is an example of the European Handicap using the Watford v West Brom match.


Watford – 2.00

Draw – 3.40

West Brom – 4.0


Watford -1 3.40

Draw (Watford -1) 3.60

West Brom +1 1.83

As Watford are seen as favourites to beat West Brom in the match winner market, the handicap market has given West Brom a start of +1 goal. Here are the possible outcomes.

  • Watford beat West Brom by more than one goal. Watford -1 WINS
  • Watford beat West Brom by exactly one goal. Draw -1 WINS
  • The match ends in a draw. West Brom +1 WINS
  • West Brom beat Watford by one goal or more. West Brom +1 WINS

The European Handicap can also be in forms of +2, +3 or higher depending on the match in question and these bets can usually be found the “Alternative Handicap” markets but bear in mind that the odds will much higher/lower depending on which side of the handicap you are on. But, nevertheless, they can prove to be fruitful markets if a team has a defensive crisis and you fancy their opposition to win by a few goals.


The European Handicap is a great way to add variation to your betting pre-match, you also have the option for handicap betting in-play but you must filly understand the market before using the handicap’s in-play.

  • All three outcomes are still possible – win/draw/lose.
  • Simple and easier to understand than Asian Handicaps.
  • The underdog is given an advantage pre-match.
  • Works in increments of whole goals, +1, +2, +3 etc.
  • The European Handicap market is great way of covering both outcomes if you backing the underdog in a match.