Handball is a hugely popular spectating and betting sport in Scandinavia and most of the rest of Europe but the only major European country where it does not have a substantial following both live and on television is Great Britain. Bet Enthusiast will be providing tips for the leagues in Spain and Germany and European and international tournaments over the course of the season from September to May.
Handball was one of the most popular sports at the 2012 Olympics. The Copper Box arena was packed for each session and British sports fans got a taste of the spectacle and atmosphere that makes the sport so popular across mainland Europe. The sport is relatively simple in that the objective is to score more goals than the opposition. Indiscipline leads to two minute suspensions and 7 metre penalty throws are awarded after foul play.
The sport lends itself to betting because it is purely a matter of numbers. Many matches have big favourites so handicaps are applied to make for two way action and half point handicaps are used to prevent a tie. Motivation is a massive factor in handball as a drop in level of 5% can significantly affect the balance of the scoring.
Betting on handicaps can be tricky as for the players winning the match is the priority and it is no concern of theirs by how many goals that is achieved. Some teams establish a winning lead and drop down a level in terms of effort which means the opposition can often outscore them in the second half. Other teams press on and maintain the margin of supremacy until the end of the match.
The two most popular handball betting markets are the handicap and total goals. Goal quotes are generally expressed as a two way, using half goals to prevent a tie. Some bookmakers offer this market as a three way which means you can bet on over or under a specific number and that number. Live betting on many matches allows trading to guarantee a profit or minimise a loss during game time.
The strongest leagues in Europe are in Germany and Spain. Teams from these countries dominate the later stages of the Champions League, which is run on the same lines as the soccer equivalent with the best teams from the previous season qualifying to play in a group and then knock-out format. Matches in the elimination rounds are played over two legs and caution is again advised as teams that are sure of qualifying may drop a level in the second leg of ties.
Handball is an Olympic sport as we saw last year in London and the best 12 teams in the world, male and female, compete for medals. There are also World Championships and European Championships, played on a four year cycle, which means there is a major international tournament in three of every four years.
Online bookmakers that operate mainly in mainland Europe take huge amounts of bets on handball. In terms of betting turnover the sport is fourth behind soccer, tennis and basketball. Arenas across Europe are full for family-orientated starting times and Bet Enthusiast will be looking to provide some profitable tips for our followers in this sport over the next nine months.