European handicap much like the Asian handicap is used primarily by punters to gain an advantage over the bookies. Although the Asian handicap is more popular with punters, the European Handicap has been in existence longer. It simply aims to hand outsiders a chance to win if they don't lose by a significant amount of goals. The main difference between them is that the Asian Handicap eliminates the draw option. With the European Handicap, the draw option remains that is why it is referred to as the 3-way betting.
Basically, the European Handicap is used for the give an advantage to underdogs of a football match. This is when a certain number goal(s) is given to the underdogs of a match event before it starts. After the final whistle, the total results are tallied including the goals given to the underdogs to get the results.
Let's say there is a league match between Fc Barcelona and Atletico de Madrid during the season. Fc Barcelona playing at home is favourite to win because it's in the first position in the league. Atletico is not far behind them in third only separated by five points. The odds offered for both teams to win are Fc Barcelona (2.20) vs Atletico de Madrid (3.50) respectively. Let's say the away side is given a two-goal advantage to compensate for the fact that they are more likely to lose the match. The odds of Atletico de Madrid drops because of the goals advantage but it is worth it in the long run.
You can also back the favourites by giving them goal advantages if the option is available with any bookmaker. The European Handicap can be used for both the favourites and underdogs of a football match event. It just offers better odds value when you side with underdogs. The same can be said of the fact that if underdogs are offered goal advantages and the favourites is still expected to win, the odds that will be made available for the favourite increases.
European handicap bets usually appear like this:
Fc Barcelona (-1)
Atletico de Madrid (+1)
Fc Barcelona (-1): If you back this option, you win when the team in question wins by two goals or more.
Draw (-1): In this case, you win if the match favourite wins by exactly one goal.
Atletico de Madrid (+1): The last option favours the outsider of the match. Your bet will be considered a winning one if your backed team either wins the match, gets a draw, but must not lose the match.
European Handicap strategy
Using the European Handicap is, in fact, trying to increase offered odds for certain bets on favourites. However, all matches with a significant odds difference are not the same. You should focus on specific types of matches, such as:
- When there’s a huge quality difference between the favourite and the underdog, meaning the favourite will score a lot of goals.
- The favourite team has a strong offensive record alongside the underdog’s difficulty of keeping a clean sheet.
- When a team considered the favourite is coming from a shocking result. Maybe losing to an underdog in the previous match. This makes them really motivated to get back to winning ways.
- In case of backing the underdog, look out for games where the favourite faces significant injury/suspension problems.
- It might also be that the club has real trouble with the coach and his relation with the players.