how to understand betting oddsIn sports “betting odds” are not the chances of an event of occurring, but the means to calculate the payout from a bet. In a way they are similar to chance odds, but not exactly the same. For those wanting to understand betting odds we explain not only what they are but how to read them.

Sports Odds Explained

Let say the odds presented by an oddsmaker of Tottenham Hotspurs winning the match are 1/4 against Everton. Simply said betting odds are the discernment of these chances of happening to the eyes of the oddsmaker, the oddsmaker is an analyst for the online sportsbook you are using to take on the bet.

So gambling odds are not exactly a representation of which team has the best chances of winning, but according to supply and demand of the bet, that is gamblers buying one team to win more than the other, the odds will change according. The more the balance shifts to one side the lower the paying odds for the favorite and higher for the underdog or long shot.

With American Vegas Odds point spread and money lines odds are otherwise called “the line”. These type of bets are very popular with American sports like American Football and baseball, not so much with soccer.

There are mainly three types of odd formats which are commonly used but take in mind fractional odds are the preferred ones in the UK:

  1. Decimal Odds
  2. Fractional Odds
  3. American Odds

Let’s take a look at all these three formats in detail for a better understanding of football odds.

1. Decimal Odds

Decimal Odds format is the one that is commonly used throughout Europe and in countries such as New Zealand and Australia. This is why Decimal Odds are also referred to as European Odds by American bettors. Decimal Odds can be better explained through the use of an example:

Earlier we had considered that Everton had 1/$ chance to win the match against Tottenham Hotspur. To determine the decimal odds we divide 100 by the percentage of chance for the outcome to occur.

I.e. For Everton, 1/4 = 0.25

Stake: £100

Winnings: £100*0.25 = £25.00 With those odds you win 25% of you stake, not much value in that bet. You want to aim at 50% or more just to even consider a bet. Value Bettors claim only break even bets and forward are to be considered of any value, that is bets that payout 100% or more.

When calculating your full return though the sportsbook will give you are higher value because it includes the initial stake in your payout, to include it add a 1 to your odds:

£100 * 1.25 = £125.00

Let’s take a look at another football odd in the UK example:

Leicester vs Manchester United

The odds of Arsenal winning the match are 1.5. This means that if you bet on Leicester to win the match then you’ll get 150% the amount you bet if Leicester were to beat Manchester United.

So if you bet 100£ on Leicester winning the match you’ll get 150£ in return + your stake back. How do sports betting odds work.

2. Fractional Odds, most used in the UK

Gambling Odds

Fractional odds are the system of odds commonly used in the UK. Let’s use an example to learn how do sports betting odds work:

  • Arsenal Win outright the Premier League – Let the odds of an Arsenal championship be 4/1.
  • 4/1 means that for every one time you can win you could lose four times. So the chances of Arsenal winning are at 20% while chances of them losing are at 80%.

Reading this sport odds Arsenal should be a the top of the table but under the 3 favorites to win. Not a bad spot to take the bet, especially if they seem to be winning lately with losses at the beginning of the championship and their rivals seem to be weakening.

Suppose you have placed 10£ on Arsenal to win the Premier League at odds of 4/1 and Arsenal managed to do so. Then you will get in return 10£*4/1=40£ + 10£ (The money you initially bet) = 50£.

*In fractional odds sportsbooks add the stake to the calculations by including a “1” to the fraction:

10£*(1+4/1) = 10£ * 5 = £50.00

3. American Odds

This is the system of odds that is commonly used in the US also known as American odds or vegas odds.

Understanding American sports odds is a little bit more complex that the previous systems. The team which is considered to be the favourite is given a (-) sign to it. While the team which is considered to be the underdog is given a (+) sign.

So in a Chelsea vs Fulham match where Chelsea is considered the favourite (-150) while Fulham (+175), who will be referred to as the underdog as the less likely team to win.

Simply put you need to bet 150£ on Chelsea winning the match to earn a winning of 100£ if Chelsea manage the win. This is the disadvantages of betting for the favourite but it is a safer bet.

If you are expecting a surprise victory by the underdog (Fulham) then for every 100£ on them you will win 175£ in return. Underdogs pay large for their risk.

The Most Used Odds System in the UK

Fractional odds are the most used system by UK sportsbooks like Bet365, so try to learn those well. If you are a UK resident then it is unlikely you will ever use an American sports moneybooker as betting sites for United States are specifically designed for its country gambling legislation, although some accept foreign players.

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