As the 2020 Tokyo Olympics get closer, handball action heats up in Europe.
The action starts Sunday where the highly anticipated women’s international between France vs Norway goes.
It’s followed by the men’s competition Monday when France takes on a surprise package, Egypt.
The online sportsbook has odds for all major handball competitions.
France vs Norway
The French women’s national team has always been a class act, but it’s Norway that has dominated in recent meetings.
Norway has won the last four meetings against France, dating back to 2018 when they won in the Golden League. However, despite its domination, every game has been a tight affair.
Norway has won the four games by a combined margin of seven goals. It shows little there is between the handball powerhouse teams.
France is in excellent form with eight wins, one draw, and a loss from the 10 games. The loss came to Norway and it drew with Russia 28-28 in December. Recent wins came over Denmark, Croatia and Sweden. The most recent outing was a gripping 24-23 result over Denmark, so the form reads well.
— Aaron Martin (@aaronm513) June 17, 2020
Norway and France are the top-ranked handball teams in the women’s competition. Norway currently leads the way and we’re not surprised. It has won 14 of the last 15 games, with the loss coming to Montenegro, which was the +550 underdog to cause the upset.
Despite the rare loss, Norway bounced back with a win over Romania. However, the five-goal win was tighter than expected. Romania was priced at +1000 in handball betting markets, so only winning by five goals wasn’t a great result.
Norway is there for the taking given its recent results. France always pushes Norway close, so there could be value with the home team.
France was the +250 underdog when they last met, and although that was eight months ago, expect less division in the market this time around.
France is now +145 on the moneyline and Norway is -175.
Pick: France Women
France vs Egypt
Egypt has never beaten France and it was a +1000 outsider to win when they last met in 2018. However, it has been playing well of late and shouldn’t be ruled out.
It comes off consecutive defeats, but they were one-point results. Losing to Denmark 39-38 after penalties is a fine effort for a team that starts most games as outsiders. It then lost to Spain 30-29 after producing a good second-half comeback.
France won’t have it all its own way, but the recent form speaks volumes. The French have won six of their last seven games, and the only loss was a 29-28 effort against Portugal.
— Equipes de France de Handball (@FRAHandball) June 27, 2021
Included in the winning run was a 46-30 domination of Greece and a 40-29 win over Tunisia. However, they lost back-to-back games in January against Sweden and Spain, which they were expected to win.
Nikola Karabatic is playing terrific handball and he won the silver medal for France at the Olympics in 2016 and gold in 2012 and 2008.
“From our history, we have the obligation to bring back a medal… and it’s a lot of pressure,” Karabatic told Yahoo France.
He is still recovering from his first serious injury in 17 years of playing handball, but he feels good enough to face Egypt.
“I feel good, close to a good level. I don’t take too much trouble, I try to be the best possible for the team. It was the case when I played in the league, which gives me confidence. I am confident,” he said.
Given the talent France possesses, we can’t see it losing against Egypt. Class should prevail, and although Egypt has been unlucky losers recently, this would be an upset for the ages.