The biennial EHF European Men’s Handball Championship takes place at various venues around Croatia, with teams travelling to Zagreb, Split, Porec and Varazdin to compete for a place in the final. Always a heavily covered handball betting event, the European Championship offers tons of betting value in 2018 from all the top sites!
The competition runs from the 12-28 January, with 16 national squads competing in four group stages before the winners advance to the main round. Before betting a major event for a less than main stream sport, it's good to check with the experts. Read on for a glimpse at which teams are likely are worth a punt!
Hosts Croatia appear in the first group, alongside 2012 hosts and runners up Serbia. Iceland are also in the group, as are Sweden, who are the most successful team in the history of European Handball, having won four of the 12 previous tournaments.
Bear in mind that Croatia have twice been runners up, most recently in 2010, and picked up the bronze in the 2016 tournament. Their current form and home advantage gives sees them sitting at odds of 1/3 at William Hill. With Sweden at 7/2, though, they could be an interesting bet too.
France have been winners in 3 of the last 13 chances including 2006, 2010 and 2014, so if they keep to the same four-year pattern they're due a win in 2018 as well. William Hill certainly thinks so, offering 1/4 odds that they'll clinch the Group B title this year.
Given that the other members of the group include Norway, Belarus and Austria, none of which have ever scored a medal, it would take something extraordinary for France not to qualify. Albeit Norway did come fourth place in 2016; if they can upset the favourite by taking the top group slot, William Hill is offering 11/4.
Current champions Germany managed to beat Spain in 2016 to claim the tournament prize. William Hill has them pegged as favourites to win Group C, although whether they can reach the final again is another question. Their nearest rivals in the group stages are Slovenia, who picked up a silver medal way back in 2004.
But they did most recently manage to reach the quarter-finals of the Olympic Games in Brazil – a reversal of fortune since they didn't qualify for London or Beijing. Their upwards momentum could surprise Germany and with odds of 3/1 at William Hill, Slovenia could be a solid bet.
Montenegro are an extremely long shot at wild odds of 50/1, while Macedonia are attracting a more palpable 9/1 to win the group. Although their form doesn't suggest they'll be dashing to success, their ever-present group of fans, known as the Macedonian Phalanx, could spur them on to victory.
The last group is possibly the most well-balanced of the four, although William Hill has put Denmark as favourites of the pack at 8/11. The Danes won silver when they hosted the games in 2014 and claimed two championship titles in 2012 and 2008. They're also the defending Olympic champions, having taken the gold medal in Brazil.
Despite all this, they have some stiff competition in Spain. The odds are slightly more advantageous for the punter at 11/8 and, although Spain didn't win a medal in Brazil, the handball team has an impressive list of medals, taking silver in the 2016 European Championships in Poland.
Both Spain and Denmark are tied for the most medals in this competition with six apiece, although Denmark has the edge with two golds. The other two teams in Group D are Hungary and Czech Republic. Neither has won a medal before, although Hungary managed to reach the quarter-finals of the 2017 World Championships in France. With William Hill offering 10/1, it could be a calculated long shot.
France and Croatia look to reignite their handball rivalry as they are respectively first and second favourites to win the overall tournament. William Hill has France as the favourite at 2/1, with Croatia chasing their heels at 3/1. Current champions Germany are attracting odds of 9/1, behind Denmark at 7/2 and Spain at 7/1, but they could still be worth a bet as they look to retain the title.
So if you think you know which country will show the best stride jump shot and go on to claim the prize, why not place a bet with William Hill today? If you join now, the bookmaker is offering £30 in free bets when new players deposit just £10, giving you a total of £40 to bet on the Handball Championship!