Understanding Sport Betting Odds

For anyone interested in online sports betting, the first step is understanding exactly how the odds work. This is essential if you want to know which team is the favourite, what the risk factor is and how much you stand to win from your bet at the end of the day.

Odds can be expressed in any one of three ways; firstly they can be expressed as a fraction such as 5/1 or as a decimal such as 1.45 or in the American style such as +240. In the notes below, we are going to explain how to decipher the odds and find out what you stand to win.

American Odds

In the US and in many other countries, sports betting odds are expressed differently to the usual decimal or fractional representation. In most cases, the odds will be a number with either a plus or a minus sign next to the number. What you are in fact seeing is how much you stand to win by placing a bet of $100. For example, if a bet has odds of -120, then a bettor would have to wager $120 in order to win $100. In this case, if the bet was a winner, you would receive your original bet amount of $120 plus the winnings of $100 for a total payout of $220.

On the other hand, if a bet has odds of +150, a bettor would win $150 from a $100 bet. At the time of cashing out your winnings, you would receive your original $100 bet plus the winnings of $150 for a total payout of $250. From this, we can see that favourites would have negative numbers and high-risk outside bets would have positive numbers.

Fractional Odds

With fractional odds, a bettor might come across a bet displaying odds such as 5/1 or 6/5. In order to calculate your chances of winning, you need to do a bit of math. To calculate the percentage chance of winning, add the two numbers together. You then take the right-hand number and divide it by the total. So, for odds of 4/1, the total would be five, dividing 1 by 5 would equal 0.2 or 20%. From this, you can see just how risky the bet would be.

If you wanted to calculate the actual amount you can win from the bet, you again have to do a bit of math. This time, you take the two numbers, add them together and divide by the right-hand number. In the above example, the total comes to 5. If we divide this by the right-hand number (1) we get our payout which in this case is 5. Now we simply add a monetary value to the number. So, in this case, for every $1 bet, the bet would pay out $5.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are perhaps the easiest to work out how much you stand to win on your bet. With decimal odds, bettors would come across a bet with odds expressed as 1.45 or 2.00. To understand how these odds work, we simply add a monetary value to the number. For example, a bet of 1.65 can be explained as a $1.65 or a €1.65 bet. What this means is that for every $1 or €1 you bet, you will be paid out $1.56 or in the case of Euros, €1.65.

With decimal odds, the higher the number, the more you stand to win. In this case, bets with lower numbers would be the favourites to win. In cases where the odds are 1.05, around lower end of the spectrum, the payouts would be far too low for the risk involved.