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Learn How to Leverage Profit at Euro 2016 with Successful Handicapping

6th June 2016 / Julian
Betting Advice

Euro 2016 should prove to be a fruitful tournament for punters, with plenty of betting potential around for those with a keen eye.

Many will go straight in to the win-draw-win markets, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but many could leverage far greater profit if they took the plunge with handicap betting.


The Basic Rules of Handicapping

Handicapping is easy to get your head around when it’s written down in black and white. The bookmakers are essentially giving one team a fictional headstart against the other. Can you remember in the school playground where there was a mismatch between two teams of children and one would pipe up ‘okay, you can have a two-goal headstart’? That’s basically what handicapping is!

In its written form handicaps can be confusing for newcomers, so here’s a quick example:

England -1 (10/11) vs Wales +1 (4/6)

Here, the bookies are offering odds of 10/11 that England will win by two goals or more. That’s because a goal is theoretically taken away from them (hence the -1), so your bet will be successful if England win 2-0, 3-1, 3-0, 4-1 etc.

What punters often forget is the other side of the coin; the + handicapping potential. Many focus on the free-scoring teams with a – handicap – your Barcelona’s, Real Madrid’s and Bayern Munich’s – but there is plenty of value in backing a plucky underdog with a plus handicap.

In the example above our +1 selection of Wales would come in at odds of 4/6 if they either a) win the match or b) draw (because a goal would be added to their tally). Unfortunately, if they were a goal behind when the final whistle blows then our stake is lost, as this is not enough to overturn the handicap deficit; although there are differing rules on European and Asian handicapping regarding this, and we will discuss these in more depth below.

If you were to back England outright to win this match, you might only get odds of around 1/2. So as you can see, by adding an element of risk – without detracting from the way you perceive the game to pan out – you can increase your winnings exponentially.

European or Asian?


As mentioned, there are two types of handicap and these are drawn from two distinct betting communities: the European and the Asian.

The England/Wales example above is a European handicap market because whole numbers are used, and only a yes-no outcome can be achieved. Was my bet successful? The answer is either yes or no. With an Asian handicap, we can win our bet, lose it or achieve what is known as a ‘push’, where our stake is returned to us.

The mechanics of Asian handicaps are essentially the same as their European counterparts, although fractions are used to denote the handicap. For instance, you will often see -0.25, -0.50, -0.75 and so on. So again, we are putting a fractional handicap on our preferred team, so if they win by one clear goal then any of the above handicaps are satisfied.

The difference here is with the drawn matches. Let’s say you have a -0.25 handicap on England against Wales. If England win (by any scoreline) your bet is successful. If the match is drawn you will lose half your stake, with the other half returned. If England lose the match, you lose your stake.

There are various permutations of Asian handicaps, and these are best explained in this graphic:

Handicap – 0.00 – If your team…..

Wins = Bet wins

Draws = Stake refunded

Loses – Bet lost

Handicap – 0.25 – If your team…..

Wins = Bet wins

Draws = Half stake lost

Loses – Bet lost

Handicap – 0.50 – If your team…..

Wins = Bet wins

Draws = Bet lost

Loses – Bet lost

Handicap – 0.75 – If your team…..

Wins by 2+ Goals = Bet wins

Wins by 1 Goal = Half win

Draws = Bet lost

Loses – Bet lost

The examples above are all minus handicaps, and hopefully with this logic in mind you can work out what happens with plus handicaps as these operate in a similar fashion.

Euro 2016 Specific Notes on Handicapping

With this basic understanding you can now go off and place European and Asian handicap wagers to your heart’s content, but with Euro 2016 just around the corner we thought we’d identify some potential avenues of profit for the handicappers out there.

Rule 1: Beware the Underdog

The European Championships have been rife with shock results through the years, and while outright punters will have benefitted from a few of these it is handicappers who will have had the most joy.

Many predicted that Italy would be able to sneak a draw (after 90 minutes) against Germany in the semi-finals as they had recorded stalemates in three of their four prior matches in the tournament. A +1 or even a +0.50 would have come up trumps, and punters would have been quids in.

Look at those other shock results throughout the ages – the Czech Republic reaching the final in 1996, Russia beating the Netherlands in the 2008 quarter finals, Greece winning the whole competition in 2004….there are a multitude of examples out there. So if you have a hunch about an underdog, why not hedge your bets by handing them a handicap?

Rule 2: Beware the ‘Dead Rubber’

These are the matches in the group phase that have no real impact upon the outcome of proceedings, and thus surprise results occur.

There are plenty of examples: in Group A of Euro 2008, Portugal won their opening two matches and booked their place in the knockout phase with a game to spare. Their opponents Switzerland had suffered two defeats and were out of the competition. The result of Portugal vs Switzerland? The Swiss won 2-0, of course.

The above shows how ‘dead rubbers’ can produce eyebrow-raising outcomes, so make sure you handicap accordingly.

Rule 3: Close Encounters of the Knockout Kind

There are four quarter finals, two semi finals and one final played in each European Championship, and these have been bolstered by the addition of a Round of 16 for Euro 2016.

The key thing to note is how close these matches tend to be. At Euro 2012, only two of the eight knockout phase matches were settled by a goal margin of two or more. So if you’d have a +1.5 handicap bet on the underdog in each, you’d have been successful in 6/8.

The exact same scenario played out at Euro 2008, with only two of eight knockout matches being won by a two goal margin or more. Two were draws after 90 minutes, and the remaining four were won by a solitary goal. So even if your team lost, with a +1.5 handicap you would have won in 75% of instances.

Hopefully this article has been of interest, and highlighted some new techniques for you to take advantage of at Euro 2016. Remember the golden rule of handicapping: just because your team loses it doesn’t mean your bet has to!

The tip is based on the personal opinion of the author. No success is guaranteed. Please gamble responsibly. 18+

* All mentioned odds were valid at the time of writing. Betting odds are subject to fluctuations. Please check the current odds with the respective bookmaker!

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