Betting Odds

If you take the plunge, and decide to bet on a sport, then you always bet at defined odds. Well, before you choose to bet, you can’t expect to win and beat the odds, if you don’t truly understand what odds are, how they’re made and what they mean. Here, we aim to explain all bout odds, the different types, and a basic understanding of how they are calculated too.

What are odds?

Quite simply, betting odds, or any odds for that matter, are an alternative expression of the chance of something happening. For instance, if we flipped a coin, we have a 50% chance of it landing on either heads or tails. Or if we put a red ball under a cup, a green ball under a cup, and a yellow ball under a cup, and a blue ball under a cup, you have a 25% chance of picking the correct colour. We work out the percentage by dividing 100% by the four outcomes, which gives us a 25% chance for each one. No matter what the situation is, all outcomes will add up to a 100%.

oddspageThe odds you will come to see at a bookmaker are basically a representation of the chance of an outcome becoming true. No matter what event you choose, all events, and all outcomes have a chance of occurring, and odds are created to show the chance.

Types of Odds

Here we look at a few of the different types of odds. Any bookmaker with anything about them gives you the option to select your odds preference.

Decimal Odds

Most of the countries in Europe, with the exception of the UK, tend to prefer decimal odds; they can sometimes be referred to as European odds, for that reason. Decimal odds are probably one of the most simple, as they are basically found by dividing the chance percentage by a 100.

If you have an outcome with a 25% chance of winning, then we’d take 100 / 25 = 4.

So, quite simply, the decimal odds are 4, which means if you bet £10 on the outcome, and it won, you would receive a total of £40 back (includes your stake). This is basically £4 back for every £1 that you stake on this particular hypothetical outcome.

Fractional Odds

In the UK, punters tend to prefer fractional odds, and these tend to be the default at most bookmakers, both online and on the high-street. If we were to use the same 25% chance example as above, then the fractional odds would be 3/1. This might look confusing, but if you can remember the following, that basically for every 1 time you can win, there are another three chances that you can’t win. This is the same as the 25% chance of winning, (1 out of 4), and 75% chance of not winning (3 out of 4). If you staked £1 at these odds, if you win, you’ll receive £3, plus your £1 stake back, so £4 in total.

American (US) odds

If you are a fan of American sports, such as baseball, basketball and football, then you’ll need to be familiar with US odds, or American odds. They can sometimes also be known as money line odds, or simply “lines”.

If US Odds are shown with a + sign, this means they are showing the amount you could possibly win for a stake of 100 units. However, if they are shown with a – sign, then this means they are showing how much you need to bet in order to win 100 units, and tend to be used when your possible pay-out is less than your stake amount.

If we were to once again, use the 25% chance as before, and then we already know the decimal odds are 4, the fractional odds are 3/1, the US odds would be +300.

So, you would win 300 units, assuming 25% chance, (excluding the original stake, which is also returned).

Next – How Bookmakers Work