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Understanding Sports Betting Odds

Posted on October 02, 2019 by John Harris

Sports betting has grown to become one of many avenues sports enthusiasts use to make money from watching their favorite sports. While it may seem like a straight forward activity, most people dive into sports betting without understanding how it works.

To be able to understand sports betting altogether, you need first to know how betting odds work. Odds are an essential wager of any sport. Odds are used to determine whether a particular game is worth investing in or not. The game odds determine the payout of bet placed, and how much you put as your bet.

Read on to find out what odds are and what role they play in sports betting.

Understanding odds

In sports betting, odds are used for two reasons. First, odds are used to calculate the winnings wager. Each time a bet is placed, you are offered odds for your bet. These odds have an impact on how much you stand to win should the game go in your favor.

The other importance of odds is their ability to reflect the likelihood of specific outcomes in the sports industry. Odds decrease with the increase in the possibility of a particular outcome. It makes sense since people are more inclined to bet on likely outcomes than on unlikely outcomes.

Odds formats

The founding principles of odds are quite easy to understand. People tend to get a bit confused when trying to understand the three odd formats.

Generally, there are three odds formats. They are decimal odds, American/Moneyline odds and fractional odds. You are likely to encounter all three odd formats at different points of your betting life.

Decimal odds

In the past, decimal odds were only common in Canada, Australia and mainland Europe. However, these days this odds format is the standard format for most online betting sites listed on the and other sites. These sites prefer decimal odds because they are straightforward. They are expressed as a single positive number in two decimal places.

The number is an indication of how much the total winnings will be, including the original amount placed per unit. For instance, an odd of 1.5 has the potential of returning $1.50 for every one dollar staked.

The American or Moneyline odds

This is an odds format that is common in the USA. It is displayed as a positive or negative number. A positive number shows the amount a $100 wager is likely to win while a negative number indicates how much a gambler needs to invest to be able to win the $100.

For instance, is the odds are at a positive 150, a $100 bet can win up to $150 plus the initial amount invested. On the other hand, a negative 150 odd shows that the player needs to place a $150 bet to be able to return the same amount in winnings, plus the initial $150 stake.

Fractional odds

This format is the most common in the United Kingdom. However, the number of sites using these odds is decreasing. This is due to an increase in the use of decimal odds. Calculating the winnings using the fractional odds format can be tricky. Like with Moneyline odds, fractional odds also show the potential profit that can be won. A player needs to add the odds to their original stake to calculate the possible winnings.

Fractional odds are displayed in the form of fractions. For instance, a 3/1 odd (three to one), you stand a chance of winning three units for every single unit staked. On the other hand, a 5/1 odd means that you can win five units for each unit stake and so on. A 1/1 stake is an even money odd.

Fractional odds can get more complicated when you are presented with an odd such as 6/4 or 11/10. For a 6/4 odd, it means that you have the potential of winning six units for every four units staked. This is equal to 1.5 units for every unit staked.  The same goes for the 11/10 odd where you win 11 units for every ten units staked. This is equal to 1.5 for each unit staked.

If the first number is a value that is larger than the second one, it is described as ‘odds against’. This means that the potential profit is larger than the amount invested. If the second number is higher than the first number, this is described as ‘odds on’ odd. It indicates that the amount staked is more than the potential winnings.

It is essential to understand the different types of odds and where they are used. This makes it possible for you place bets on any online betting site regardless of where it is based.

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