A Guide to Understanding Betting Odds

Understanding odds is a very important part of sports betting and knowing how they work and affect betting is critical.  Odds are used to work out how much money a bettor will get back from any bets they win and are also important in any betting scenario.

There are different ways that odds are written and odds are also connected to the probability of winning a bet.  Odds also determine the value of a bet, if it is good value or not and value is an important factor when placing a bet.

Odds are also very important to bookies as it determines how much they make.  Odds may also be referred to as “price” of a wager on some sites.  They can either be odds on (how much can be won less the bet) and odds against (amount you can win that will be more than the amount bet).

Bettors can still profit from an odds on bet as bettors will be given their bet back as well, but bettors will have to bet more.  Favourites are usually odds on and those that have a less likely chance of winning will be odds against.  There are also even money odds; if a bettor wins they will receive the amount bet in profit plus the original bet.

Odds are expressed in three formats, decimal, moneyline (American) and fractional.

Decimal Odds

Decimal is the format used by most sites except for those that cater mainly to Americans.  It is the easiest format of the three and are displayed using two decimal places and show the exact amount a bettor will win for each bet.  Because this format is easy most sites prefer to use it.  2.00 Is even money, higher than 2.00 is odds against and odds on is for anything lower.

Moneyline/American Odds

Moneyline also known as American odds are mainly used in the US.  It is a bit more complex.  These odds can be positive (number has a + sign) or negative (number has a – sign).  These odds show the profit on a winning bet of $100.  If the odds were +150 a wager of $100 would have a payout of $150.

Bettors will also get their bet returned to them, so they would get back a total of $250.  The negative moneyline odds will show bettors how much they will need to bet to make a profit of $100.  If the odds were -120 a bet of $120 would yield a win of $100.  Bettors would get the initial bet returned to them which means they would receive a total payout of $220.00.

Fractional Odds

Fractional odds are used mostly in UK.  Fractional odds are expressed as 2/1, which is two to one, or 10/1, which is ten to one.  Even money using this option are written as 1/1, but is refereed to as evens.  It may seem a bit complex trying to work out the payouts using this option, but with practice bettors will soon be able to master this.

Each of the fractions shows the amount of profit a bettor can make if they win, but the bettor will need to include their initial bet.  Most bettors would rather convert fractional odds to decimal odds, as it is easier to work out.  They will then divide the first number by the second and add one.

In order for bettors to be successful and make a profit from sports betting it is vital that they understand how the odds work and to also shop around at various sites to get the best deal.