European & Asian Handicap Explained and How They’re Different

Understand the difference between the European & Asian Handicap, and learn how to decipher whole goal, half-goal and quarter-goal handicaps

There are many fixtures where there is a considerable difference between the two sides, for example, Manchester City vs Crystal Palace. Few bettors would be interested in backing the home side for a price of just 1.15, and probably even fewer would place their money on the visitors at odds of 20.

So, bookies invented handicap betting to encourage punters to stake more often!

After introducing football handicap the bookies turned that fixture in a virtually even match, giving the outsiders a head start of 3 goals and therefore levelling the odds for either outcome. This way, both sides have an almost equal chance of winning the game.

This makes the match much more attractive from a betting point of view, and as a result, it generates more action in the market.


Handicaps come in positive or negative amounts and can be assigned to teams, players, and to various scorelines that can represent goals, points, sets, games, and so on.

Some of these concepts may seem may seem complicated for beginners, but don't worry.

In this betting guide we’ll explain how European Handicap and Asian Handicap work using a couple of football betting examples.

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Quickly navigate to your desired topic:

  1. European Handicap Explained
  2. Asian Handicap Explained
  3. Asian vs European Handicap – Key Differences


European Handicap Explained

European Handicap Explained

Also known as a 3-way handicap, this type of betting handicap is pretty straight forward. European Handicap bets have three possible outcomes: Home Win, Draw or Away Win, and they are only associated with whole numbers.

The favourite will naturally have a virtual disadvantage, although some bookies will even include bets where the stronger team starts with a virtual goal lead, when applicable.

The best way to explain how this works is to use a European Handicap example. For instance, a football handicap for the England v Slovenia fixture, where the home side is a heavy favourite.

  • England Handicap 0:1 or England -1 represent the same bet: Essentially, the away side is given a virtual 1 goal advantage. England must win with a minimum two-goal margin to overcome the one-goal handicap if your bet is to be won. If the home side wins by only one goal, the best is lost.
  • For a Handicap 0:2 or England -2 bet to be a winner, the favourites should win by at least three clear goals for your bet to win.
  • Draw Handicap 0:1is the equivalent of this bet: The favourite wins by one goal. After you subtract one goal from the home side, the virtual result should be a draw for the bet to win, anything else and you lose.
  • Draw Handicap 0:2 bet would require England to win with a two-goal margin, nothing more, and nothing less.
  • Slovenia Handicap 0:1 or Slovenia +1 is identical to the X2 Double Chance You will win the bet if Slovenia doesn’t lose the match, as they are granted a virtual one-goal advantage.
  • Slovenia Handicap 0:2 or Slovenia +2 bet would be a winner only if the guests won’t lose the match by more than a one-goal margin.

Unlike Asian Handicaps, every online bookmaker should allow you to bet on European Handicap.

Be advised that some of the top bookmakers that don’t have Asian Handicap betting markets for football may include spread betting that looks like something in between. That’s often the case when it comes to basketball betting, where you’ll see half number lines, such as -15.5, +5.5 and so on. You must pay attention to the T&Cs to figure out if the final score includes extra time or not, and other factors that could sway the chance of winning the bet.

That should be enough to make you understand what European Handicap means. Next, we’re going to tackle the Asian Handicap lines.

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Asian Handicap Explained

Asian Handicap Explained

Asian Handicap (AH) is slightly more complicated than the European Handicap (EH), involving refunds and combined bets, but you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed as long as you take it step by step.

Asian Handicap eliminates the draw from the traditional football market, converting the initial 3-way market into a 2-way market. These wagers can be graded as Half-Win, Half-Loss, Win, Loss or Push (when the stake returned to the bettor).

You’ll see how easy it is to understand the concept if you take a look at a few simple Asian Handicap exemplifications.

We will use the Tottenham vs Bournemouth fixture, for the next example, where the home side is a heavy favourite.

  • 0 Asian Handicap is the same bet as Draw No Bet, so if you were to bet Tottenham 0, you would win if the home side triumphs, have your stake refunded (Push) if the match ended with a tie, and lose if the visitors won the game.
  • -0.5 Asian Handicap represents a victory for the picked side. Tottenham -0.5 AH is the same as betting on Home Win in the 1X2 line.
  • +0.5 Asian Handicap is a Double Chance bet: If you wager on Bournemouth +0.5, you have placed an X2 bet, so your ticket would be won if the away team wouldn't lose the match.
  • -1.5 Asian Handicap is the equivalent of -1 European Handicap, while -2.5 AH would correspond to -2 EH and so on. If you were to place a Tottenham -1.5 Asian Handicap bet, your wager would win only if the home side would win by two or more goals.
  • +1.5 Asian Handicap embodies three moneyline results. A +1.5 AH bet on the underdog means you win if Bournemouth win, draw, or lose by less than 1.5 goals.
  • -1 Asian Handicap serves as a potentially refundable bet. This one is a bit different from the rest. When backing Tottenham -1 AH you will require the home side to win by two or more goals for the bet to win, but if the home side wins by just a one-goal margin you will get your money back (Push), and of course, if the result is a tie or Tottenham lose you also lose the bet.
  • +1 Asian Handicap allows a little more room for error when placing a bet. A +1.0 AH bet on the outsiders would win if the visitors win or the match ends with a tie. The amount staked is returned if the Bournemouth lose by one goal, and you would lose your bet if Tottenham wins by two or more goals.

Please make sure you fully understand the AH bet types listed above before moving on to the next ones.

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Quarter-Goals Asian Handicap Betting Explained

Bets like -0.25 / +0.25 AH and -0.75 / +0.75 AH are also known as Quarter-Goals or Double Asian Handicap. Each of these betting options are basically two separate AH bets combined into one. Your stake will be virtually split in half, and each part will be placed on a different type of bet.

There’s no better way to explain it than to provide actual Asian Handicap examples, so that’s exactly what we’re going to do next.

When wagering £10 on the home side with -0.25 AH, you are actually betting £5 on Tottenham 0 AH, and the other £5 on Tottenham -0.5 AH.

0-0Half-LossYou lose half your stake on the -0.5 AH bet
Half of your stake (for the 0 AH bet) is refunded
WinBoth bets are won
0-1LossBoth bets are won

When wagering +1.75 AH on the visitors, you are in fact placing these two bets: Bournemouth +1.50 with half stake, and Bournemouth +2 AH with the other half of the stake.

0-0Half-LossYou lose half your stake on the -0.5 AH bet
Half of your stake (for the 0 AH bet) is refunded
WinBoth bets are won
0-1LossBoth bets are won

To quickly figure out what the actual bets behind Quarter Goal Handicaps are if you know nothing about them, subtract 0.25 units from the chosen AH, and put that down on a piece of paper. Then, do the opposite: add 0.25 units to the initial wager to unveil the second virtual bet.

But you won't have to do that every time you want to bet Asian Handicap. Once you grasp the concept, you'll just have to remember that the number shown on Double Asian Handicap represents an arithmetic average of the two combined Asian Handicap lines that are included in the wager.

Asian Goal Handicaps

Now, without dwelling too much on the subject, we’ll show a couple of examples to explain what Asian Totals are all about: The Asian Goal Line, Asian Over/Under, Asian Total Goals or Asian Total Corners work the same way:

  • An Over 2 Goals AH bet will be a winner as long 3 or more goals are scored, if 2 goals are scored the bet would be void, and your stake will be refunded, and finally, anything less than two goals will result in a loss.
  • Over 2.25 Goals AH represents a half stake bet on Over 2.0 Goals AH and the other half of the stake on Over 2.5 Goals etc.

Keep in mind that these principles apply for all Asian Handicap markets.

We believe we covered the essentials in our Asian Handicap betting guide. Next, we’re going to point out the main differences Asian Handicap and European Handicap bets.

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Asian vs European Handicap – Key Differences

Differences between Asian and European Handicap

European Handicap bets are three-way bets and thus provide three options: Home Win, Draw and Away Win, unlike Asian Handicaps that only come with two options: Home or Away, Under or Over, and so on.

Only Asian Handicaps can be quoted in half-goals and quarter-goals, such as 2.5 or 1.75, respectively.

Whole goals handicaps, like -1, -2, -3 etc. can easily be mistaken for one another, but they are in fact, totally different wagers: Your stake will be refunded when betting -1 AH on a team that wins by exactly one goal difference, whereas your -1 EH bet would be lost in the same scenario.

Hint: Although -1.5 AH is essentially the same bet as -1 EH, check out both lines before betting as one of them might be available at the same bookie for a better price.

To sum up, the introduction of handicaps have made betting much more flexible by allowing punters to adjust the risk and reward in almost any given fixture. At the same time, the introduction of handicaps has led to the rise of countless new sports betting strategies.

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