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What is a European Handicap?

What is a European Handicap
The “European Handicap” betting type is generally referred to by most bookmakers as ‘handicap betting’ and is often abbreviated to EH in short hand. Importantly this should NOT be confused with Asian Handicaps (AH) which are a similar (in that a handicap is applied to one side or the other) but different (Euro Handicaps still include the draw) concept to EH.

In EH, a whole number of points or goals are taken away from the favourite in a football match – the favourite is ‘handicapped’ to even things up / make the ‘competition’ more even (so as an example if you imagine a top of the league team playing a bottom of the league team, by handicapping the top team by a number of goals, the competition becomes more ‘even’). Handicap bets are settled on the outcome of an event after adjusting the actual final score to take into account the handicap

European Handicap Example

  • Liverpool EH(-1)
  • Draw EH(-1)
  • Everton EH(+1)

The possible outcomes are:

  • Liverpool beats Everton by more than one goal: Liverpool (-1) wins (eg if the result is 2-0, the adjusted score will be 1-0 and so the Liverpool EH(-1) handicap bet wins).
  • Liverpool beats Everton by exactly one goal: Draw (-1) wins (eg if the result is 1-0, the adjusted score will be 0-0 and so the handicap bet draw wins).
  • The game ends in a draw or Everton win: Everton (+1) wins (eg if the result is 1-1, the adjusted score will be 1-2 and so the Everton EH(+1) handicap bet wins).

European Handicaps and Dutching
European handicaps can be extremely useful for dutching purposes. If you have bet on TeamA to win at a bookmaker, you can 2way dutch this bet off with a bet on TeamB to win with a +1 handicap – TeamB EH(+1).

To see why this is, look at the explanation of what happens if there is a draw or Everton win in the example for Everton EH(+1) above – if you bet on Everton EH(+1) and the game is either drawn, or Everton win, then your Everton EH(+1) bet wins; you are effectively covering both the draw, and the “Everton to win” outcome in a single bet.

As a result, you can 2way dutch any ‘Team A to win’ bet by betting on ‘Team B to win with a european handicap of 1’ bet.

Dutching TeamA EH(-1) vs TeamB(+1.5)
A classic 2way dutching combination is TeamA EH(-1) vs TeamB AH(+1.5). In this case there can be exactly one result, the market is ‘complete’ and so you can easily dutch the two bets off against each other in the same way as above:

  • TeamA EH(-1) against TeamB AH(+1.5)

In fact this is exactly the same as dutching:

  • TeamA vs TeamB [b]AH[b](+0.5)

Generally the way to work out whether an EH bet is directly (ie 2way) dutchable with an AH bet is to add up the handicaps and if the result is exactly 0.5, then the two bets can be dutched against each other.

So EH(-1) vs AH(+1.5) works because -1+1.5 = 0.5.
EH(-2) vs AH(+2.5) also works because -2+2.5 = 0.5.
However, EH(-2) vs AH(+2) does NOT work because -2+2 = 0.

Here’s some practical ‘real world’ examples (these are a bit dated because I wrote them 3yrs ago but the principals are all exactly the same):

Example:

  • England FA Cup 24/02/10
  • Spurs vs Bolton

The listing at Interwetten reads:

  • Handicap 0:1
  • Spurs 2.3 … X 3.5 … Bolton 2.55

This is a European Handicap. You can tell this is the case because there is a handicap draw selection (the bit that reads ‘X 3.5’) available for betting – in other words if the result of the match is a draw AFTER the handicap is applied, the book will pay out on the handicap draw result. If you bet on Bolton at odds of 2.55 here, you would say ‘I bet on Bolton to win with a one goal advantage’.

Now, for the same match, the listing at 12bet reads:

  • Spurs 1.5 2.04
  • Bolton 1.88

This is an Asian Handicap. You can tell this because there are only two possible selections, there can only be one result. The line that reads ‘Spurs 1.5 2.04’ means ‘Spurs to win with a handicap of 1.5 goals’ (or ‘Spurs AH(-1.5)’). This implies the line that reads ‘Bolton 1.88’ means ‘Bolton to win with an advantage of 1.5 goals’ (or ‘Bolton AH(+1.5)).

Handicaps at the Asian specialists can be difficult to read – just remember that the selection that has the handicap number next to it is the selection to which the handicap is applied (ie in this case ‘Spurs AH(-1.5)’).

So, how do we dutch Spurs EH(-1) vs Bolton AH(+1.5)? In just the same way as you’d dutch Spurs vs Bolton AH(+0.5).

Say you can bet £20 on Spurs EH(-1) at odds of 2.3. If this bet wins, you will win back £20*2.3 = £46.

Therefore to calculate your stake on Bolton AH(+1.5), you divide the amount you would win on the Spurs EH(-1) bet (£46) by the odds on Bolton AH(+1.5) (1.88) and the result of that calculation is the stake you would place on Bolton AH(+1.5).

So:

  • Bolton AH(+1.5) stake = £46 / 1.88 = £24.47

So your dutch looks like:

  • £20 on Spurs EH(-1) @ 2.3
  • £24.47 on Bolton AH(+1.5) @ 1.88

Possible outcomes:
Although there can be three possible outcomes for the match – Spurs win, draw, Bolton win – there can be only two possible outcomes from our dutch, either Spurs EH(-1) wins OR Bolton AH(+1.5) wins. To see this, it’s easiest to first think about what happens when the European handicap draw happens, then look at the other possibilities:

Spurs win by one goal – Bolton AH(+1.5) bet wins, Spurs EH(-1) bet loses:

If Spurs win by one goal, the score line is 1-0. Now the result of your Spurs EH(-1) bet AFTER the 1 goal handicap is applied is actually 0-0 – a European handicap draw. You didn’t bet on the handicap draw, so your Spurs EH(-1) bet will lose…

however on the other side of the bet, the result of your Bolton AH(+1.5) bet AFTER the 1.5 goal advantage is applied is:

-1 (spurs won by a goal remember) +1.5 (the value of the handicap) = 0.5

ie Bolton win after the handicap is applied. Your Bolton AH(+1.5) bet will win.

Your profit/loss if this happens is:

  • Winnings from Bolton AH(+1.5) less Spurs EH(-1) stake
  • = £24.47*0.88 – £20
  • = £21.53 – £20
  • = £1.53

The same applies for any other scoreline where Spurs win by exactly one goal (2-1, 3-2, 4-3, etc)

Match is a draw – Bolton AH(+1.5) bet wins, Spurs EH(-1) bet loses:
If the final result is a draw – say 0-0 – then the Bolton AH(+1.5) will definitely win because after the +1.5 handicap is applied the score line is 0+1.5 = 1.5, clearly Bolton AH(+1.5) wins. The Spurs EH(-1) bet loses because after the Euro handicap is applied the scoreline is -1:0 (‘minus one, nil’ – ie the result of taking the -1 handicap off the nil-nil draw result is effectively ‘minus one, nil’).

Your profit/loss if this happens is:

  • Winnings from Bolton AH(+1.5) less Spurs EH(-1) stake
  • = £24.47*0.88 – £20
  • = £21.53 – £20
  • = £1.53

(same as previous result)

The same applies for any other scoreline where the result is a draw (ie 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, etc)

Spurs win by MORE than one goal – Spurs EH(-1) bet wins, Bolton AH(+1.5) bet loses:

If spurs win by more than one goal – say 2-0 – the the result of the Spurs EH(-1) bet after the 1 goal handicap is applied is actually 1-0 – ie the Spurs EH(-1) bet has won (another way of expressing this is to say ‘Spurs beat the one goal spread’). On the other side, the Bolton AH(+1.5) bet loses because after the +1.5 handicap is applied, Bolton still haven’t won – the adjusted handicap result is -2+1.5 = -0.5 (ie Bolton lost by half a goal) and Spurs have still won even after the handicap is applied on the Bolton side.

Your profit/loss if this happens is:

  • Winnings from Spurs EH(-1) less Bolton AH(+1.5) stake
  • = £20*1.3 – £24.47
  • = £26 – £24.47
  • = £1.53

Again, the same applies for any other scoreline where the result is that Spurs win by more than one goal (ie 3-1, 4-2, 5-3, etc).

So no matter what the result, your profit is exactly £1.53.

Summary
The key to understanding dutching Team1 EH(-1) vs Team2 AH(+1.5) is to look at each possible outcome (Team1 wins, Draw, Team2 wins), take a representative scoreline for each result and then apply the respective handicaps to each scoreline. Look at each possible outcome AFTER the handicaps are applied and confirm that only one handicap dutch outcome is possible. If the answer is yes, you’re good to go. If not then you need to think again.

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