Betting Odds Explained

Learning how to calculate probability and calculate odds is one of the most important things you should know when you start sports betting. Try some sites here that offer the points below. Advertiser disclosure

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What Are Betting Odds?

UK Bookmakers and Betting Exchanges use betting odds to show the likelihood of a specific outcome happening.

Betting odds are usually written down as fractions or decimals. If you are using American odds, the numbers will come with a plus (+) or minus (-) symbol.

For any given event, bookmakers can provide multiple outcomes for any one event.

Example: Let’s take betting on a football match.

You can choose to bet on the home team or the away team winning. You can also bet on a draw. Bookmakers and betting sites will provide odd values for each outcome based on the probability of them coming true.

Betting Odds Explained

How do Betting Odds Work?

The basic function of the betting odd is to give a numerical representation of the chances of an event happening.

Betting odds will also give you an idea of how much you can possibly win should you end up with a winning bet or qualifying bet.

Types of Betting Odds

There are three basic types of betting odds. They are:

  • Fractional
  • Decimal
  • American

Fractional Odds

Fractional odds are also known as British betting odds. They are called fractional because they are usually written in fractions or ratios.

Example of this odds format is 6/1 or Six to One.

Decimal Odds

This is more straightforward and easy to compute. They display the amount that you could win for every £1 wagered.

American Odds

This is also called Moneyline Odds. They have a plus (+) or minus (-) at the front of the odds. The odds with the + symbol will have a lower probability of occurring, but a higher payout.

Reading Betting Odds - How Much Will My Bet Win?

Below is a quick breakdown of how you can read betting odds or make sense of an odds table or the odds displayed on your betting website.

Fractional Odds

With fractional odds, the number on the left shows the potential profit should you bet the amount on the right.

Example: 8/2: Win £8 per every £2 bet staked

3/15: Win £3 per every £15 bet staked

Odds On and Odds Against

When the number on the left-hand side of the fraction is smaller than on the left, this is referred to as “Odds-On”.

When the number on the left is bigger than the number on the right, this is Odds Against.

8/2 is Odds On. 3/15 is Odds Against.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds show how much you could potentially win by multiplying your bet stake by the odds.

Example: Odds of 3.0 on a bet of £1. Multiply the odds by the bet amount and you get the potential qualifying bet settlement of £3.00.

A bet of £6 on 4.0 odds will return £24 should that bet win. A bet of £2.5 on odds of 1.50 should return £3.75 if you are to win.

American Odds Formats

Also known as Moneyline odds, American Odds tell you the potential profit from a win. Those that have the (-) before the odd numbers are the favorites to win and those that have (+) are the underdogs.

It is calculated on multiples of 100.

Example: Team A has odds of +150.

Team B has odds of -160.

If you get a qualifying bet from a bet on Team A with +150, you win £150 per every £100 bet. If you bet £10, you win £15 in profit plus your stake.

If you bet on Team B and they win, you will win £100 per every £160 bet.

In addition to the above, other odds terms and odds formats you may encounter include:

  • Actual odds
  • Traditional odds
  • Continental odds

Odds Calculators

There are many odds calculators on the internet today. For example the free online calculators at WSN and SportsLine.

You can even download an app to your phone. Try checking if the betting site you are signed up with has its own odds calculator.

Having one handy will help take away the hassle of computing the possible winnings from your odds. If it is simpler odds like the Decimal odds or Fractional odds, you can simply multiply or simply divide the numbers yourself to calculate the potential winnings.

Spread Betting

Spread betting has gone up in popularity in the UK over the last few decades. It gives punters an alternative to actual bet stakes.

What is Spread Betting?

With spread betting, you are not betting on the outcome – win, lose, or draw. Instead, you are betting on the accuracy of the betting odds.

You will essentially be betting on the accuracy of the sportsbook’s predictions on the probability of an event like how many goals will be scored.

Betting FAQ

  • How do bet spreads work?

    Bet spreads work by allowing punters to bet on the accuracy of the possible outcomes that are made by the sportsbook. They can choose to bet that the outcome will be higher or lower than the sportsbook’s prediction. The income will be based on how close the punter is to the actual outcome.

  • How do bets work?

    In sports betting, bets work by allowing punters to bet on the possible outcome of a game or a race. You win if you bet correctly and you lose if you don’t.

  • How do betting odds work?

    Betting odds show you how much you can win if you get a qualifying bet or if you successfully bet on the correct outcome.

  • How to understand betting odds?

    There are three major types of betting odds – Fractional, Decimal, and American. You will likely need to understand just one of these, depending on what your betting site of choice is using. With fractional odds, the number on the left shows the potential profit should you bet the amount on the right. Decimal odds show how much you could potentially win by multiplying your bet stake by the odds. American Odds tell you the potential profit from a win using (+) and (-) signs.

  • What do the betting odds mean?

    Betting odds are the numerical representation of how much you are likely to win if you get a qualifying bet.

  • How to work out betting odds?

    Each different type of odd is going to be worked out differently. Determine what betting odd type your betting site is using and look for a betting odds calculator to help you work out your potential wins.