November 7

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Betting Odds Explained

By Matt Finnigan

November 7, 2022

Betting Odds, Sports Betting

What are betting odds? And, more importantly, how do you read them and understand what they mean? In this blog post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about betting odds so that you can make informed bets and hopefully make some money!

We’ll cover the different types of odds formats, how to calculate your potential winnings and more. So whether you’re a seasoned bettor or a complete novice, read on for all the information you need to make smart bets.

The easiest way to think about sports betting odds is through the concept of chance (probability) of a particular outcome in an event occurring.

Sports Betting

Sports betting is increasing in popularity because it’s a fun way to add excitement to your favourite sporting events, and it can also be profitable if you know what you’re doing.

Before you are ready to start betting, it’s important to understand how betting odds work. This will help you determine how much money you could win, and calculate the probability of an event occurring.

Online bookmakers all kinds of free bet promotions with great value odds to entice you to sign up and create a betting account with them.

Fractional Odds

Fractional odds are the most common type of betting odds used in the UK. They are typically presented as two numbers, separated by a slash, like this: 4/1.

The number on the left (4) is how much you will win if your bet is successful. The number on the right (1) is how much you need to stake to win the stated amount.

So, in the above example, a £1 bet on 4/1 odds would return £4 in winnings (plus the original £1 stake).

The higher the number on the left (33) in comparison to the number on the right (1) the outcome of the event is less likely to happen

If a bookmaker is offering 33/1 you win £33 for every £1 that you bet, your chance of winning are slim. Most people who don’t understand how betting odds work might see this as good value.

The lower the number on the left (1) in comparison to the number on the right (4) in the betting odds, the outcome of the event is more likely to happen

If a bookmaker is offering 1/4 betting odds it means that your chance of winning is high. In this instance, you win £1 for every £4 that you bet.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are becoming increasingly popular, especially with betting exchanges and European bookmakers. They are presented as a single number, like this: 1.80.

This number represents the total amount you will win if your bet is successful, including your original stake. So, in the example above, a £1 bet at decimal odds of 1.80 would return £1.80 in winnings (plus the original £1 stake).

To calculate your potential winnings with decimal odds, you just multiply your stake by the odds. So, using the example above, if you staked £10 at decimal odds of 1.80, your potential winnings would be £18 (plus your original stake of £10).

Moneyline Odds (American Odds)

Moneyline odds are most commonly used in the US, but they can also be found on some betting exchanges and European betting sites. They are typically presented as two numbers, either positive or negative, like this: +180 or -200.

Positive American odds (e.g. +180) represent the amount you will win if you bet $100. Negative American odds (e.g. -200) represent the amount you need to stake in order to win $100.

So, using the examples above, a $100 bet on +180 odds would return $180 in winnings (plus the original $100 stake). Similarly, a $100 bet on -200 odds would return $50 in winnings (plus the original $100 stake).

To calculate your potential winnings with American odds, you need to use a different formula depending on whether the odds are positive or negative.

For positive odds (e.g. +180), you multiply your stake by the decimal odds and divide by 100. So, using the example above, if you staked $100 at +180 odds, your potential winnings would be $180 (plus your original stake of $100).

For negative odds (e.g. -200), you divide 100 by the decimal odds and multiply by your stake. So, using the example above, if you staked $100 at -200 odds, your potential winnings would be $50 (plus your original stake of $100).

Implied Probability

Implied probability is the conversion of betting odds into a percentage chance of an event occurring. It can be useful to know the implied probability of an event happening, as it allows you to compare different betting odds and see which offers the best value.

To calculate the implied probability of betting odds, you use a simple formula:

Implied Probability = 100 / Decimal Odds

For example, let’s say you’re looking at the following betting odds for a football match:

Team A: 2.00

Draw: 3.50

Team B: 4.50

Using the formula above, we can calculate the implied probability of each outcome as follows:

Team A: 100 / 2.00 = 50%

Draw: 100 / 3.50 = 28.57%

Team B: 100 / 4.50 = 22.22%

As you can see, Team A has the highest implied probability of winning at 50%. This means that the bookmakers believe Team A is the most likely to win the match.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Team A is the best betting option. Remember, you also need to take into account the betting odds being offered. In this case, Team B has the highest potential return (4.50) so they may offer better value for money even though their chances of winning are slightly lower.

Implied probability can be useful when comparing betting odds, but it’s important to remember that it’s only a guide. The actual outcome of an event is always down to chance and anything can happen on any given day.

Fractional Odds vs Decimal Odds vs American Odds

Now that you know the different types of betting odds, you may be wondering which one is best to use. The answer is that it depends on your personal preference and where you are betting.

Fractional odds are most popular in the UK and Ireland, while decimal odds are used more in continental Europe. American odds are predominantly used in the US but can also be found on betting exchanges and some European betting sites.

It’s important to note that the different formats all represent the same thing – they just express it in different ways. So, whether you’re betting at decimal odds of 1.80 or fractional odds of 4/5, you’re essentially betting on the same thing.

The only difference is that the way the odds are presented may be easier or more familiar to you depending on where you’re betting.

Matt Finnigan

About the author

A full time professional sports trader since 2002 and I expanded my investment portfolio during the 2020 pandemic to include crytpocurrency and forex trading when the sporting world ground to a halt.

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