If you are new to sports betting one of the first things to present a challenge will be the correct understanding of odds.

Understanding Odds

Odds in football betting are the ratio between the stake amount by you and the sportsbook on a bet. So for example odds of 3 to 1 means the bookmaker is staking 3 times the amount you are. So this means there are 3 possible outcomes you will lose the bet and only one event where you will win [1].

But calculating odds can be a little tricky, here we explain how to do so, although sportsbook make it simple to the common folk, all you need to do is select the bet you are interested in, input your stake and the sportsbook will tell you the possible winnings.

That way it is easy to know if an odd pays high or low. These are the Euro Cup odds explained.

Why Do Some Odds Pay More Than Others?

Because of chances of an event of occurring.

If you are betting on the favorite to win a match, let’s say Germany vs Sweden, Germany to Win, then the payout for that bet will be substantially lower than if you decided to bet on Sweden to Win. Actually, if you bet on Sweden the chances of winning are enormously small, but the payout could be several times your stake.

The more un-matched a game is the bigger the disparity on odds.

*Odds go hand in hand with the different betting types available for a certain match.

How Are Odds Determined

There are two main ways in which sportsbooks define odds, and yes, each sportsbook defines its own odds to their own criteria. Sometimes even two different sportsbooks might differ completely on the favorite and assign opposite odds to a same result, this allows for betting arbitrage to occur which is when a smart bettor takes both bets, the win and the lose but one from either sportsbook. It doesn´t matter the end result of the match, win or lose the bettor makes a profit thanks to the odds disparity.

Getting back to how odds are determined, a sportsbooks defined ones mainly by two means:

  1. Oddsmakers are statistical and prognostics experts that crunch game numbers and averages to come up with the probability of an event occurring. If their numbers say Germany has 85% of winning a match then they will assert odds accordingly.

Oddsmakers look at hundreds of sports markets every single day and deliver their odds. But if have visited a sportsbook site frequently you will notice odds do not stay the same for long. They shift as the day before the event comes and in In Play bets odds shift in a matter of seconds. What is the oddsmaker up to here?

  1. The other way odds are determined is the market. Just like the financial market in The City or Wall Street, odds change value as the market bids buy and sell. In Play bets occur as the game progresses and bettors decide to enter or leave a bet depending on their thoughts of how a game could develop.

Italy might be winning 3-0 against Greece in the first half, and pressuring hard. A bettor might consider taking the bet “Italy to score the 4th goal”. If many In Play bettors feel the same then odds will change diminishing the payout of that particular bet.

The sooner a bet is taken the better odds but higher risk.

The later a bet is taken the lower odds but lower the risk.

  1. Enhanced Odds. Finally sportsbooks might decide to provide better odds than the market or their oddsmaker decide for. In other words they are offering “enhanced odds” to attract more customers into opening an account or placing bets with them instead of the competition.

Winner Sports is known to offer the best enhanced odds in the market in order to compete with sports betting giants like Bet365 and BetFair.

Types of Odds

Types of Odds

There are three types of odds which are all different ways to read the market.

The reason different types exists is the cultural preference for one or another, but they are all the same.

  • Fractional Odds
  • Decimal Odds or European Odds
  • American Odds

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are represented in decimal form, for example 1.5. This type of odd format is preferred across Europe mainland overseas countries New Zealand and Australia. Here is an example of how to read them:

We are on the playoff of the Euro Cup, and Spain is facing France.

Spain to win presents odds of 2.5

Simply take your stake, let’s say £25 and multiply it by 2.5 = £25 x 2.5 =  £62.5 , so the profit was of  £37.5

*Decimal odds just takes a simple multiplication to calculate winnings. You can tell odds are really good or payout high when they are greater than 2. Decimal odds of 1 is break even and less than 1 makes for a very small payout. Decimal odds should normally be between 1 and 3.

Fractional Odds, the Preferred in the UK


Fractional Odds are the most widely used by our fellow English men. As the biggest and most known sportsbook used in the world are from the UK, this will be the type of odds you are probably going to encounter on sites like Bet365, Bet Cris and Paddy Power. Here is an example of how fractional odds work:

The Euro Cup final is between Germany and Italy, and the odds for Italy to win are 7/5. How to calculate your winnings for a £10 bet?

£10 x 7/5 (that is (£10 x 7) / 5)) = £14

£14 are the winnings if you bet on Italy.

This is 140% of your initial stake.

*To know what Value or percentage of your initial bet the winnings represent use a simple rule of three:

So if £10 is 100% of your stake, how much of that can you make by winning the bet on Italy?

£10 = 100%

£14 = x%

Rule of Three = (100% x £14) / £10 = 140%

Fractional odds take some time to accustom because while decimal odds calculate the stakes with a simple multiplication, fractional odds require a little bit more of math, but they are just as easy to use and sportsbooks make all the math for you. Soon you as a bettor will learn to identify which fractions pay better than others and take the decision “Is this a Value Bet for me?”.

American Odds, Also Known as Vegas Odds

American Odds are practically only used in the USA, and like Vegas was for many years the only place in America were you could place bets in physical casinos they became known inside the US as Vegas Odds.

Practically only American sportsbooks establish them and since only Americans can use their national sportsbooks these will be rarely seen by foreigners.

American odds place a (+) or (-) sign before their bet. The (+) sign odd will always be placed in front of the least favorite, known as the underdog in the US, and the (-) odd is placed in front of the most popular bet, known as the favorite.

American odds calculate their winnings somewhat a different manner, instead of having to calculate the winnings the odds actually are the possible winning for a £100 bet. Here is an example:

Ireland´s American Odds of getting a place in the Euro Cup is off +175. The plus sign means it is unlikely this bet prospers, and by staking £100 we could win £175.

As an opposite example England´s American Odds to qualify into the Euro Cup are of -150, which means that with a stake of £150 we could win only £100.

American odds read this way seem simple, but that is only if you consider a £100 stake for all your bets. If you use an un-even number it becomes a little hard to determine what the equivalent winnings would be. Luckily the sportsbook does this for you.

*Remember, if playing with American Sportsbooks or sometimes betting American sports you might find some betting types with different names than here in the UK:

Money Line = Straight Bet

Parlay = Accumulator

Point Spread = Asian Handicap

How to Change Odds Setting With Your Sportsbook

Select betting odds types in Bet365

To select betting odds in Bet365 go the top-righ scroll menu

Each sportsbook will have by default the odd type of its country of origin. UK sportsbooks like Bet365 use fractional odds as default, European sportsbooks use decimal odds and American sportsbooks will use American odds.

But as a user you can change those setting on the “configuration” button that should be near on the right-top of your betting menu.

External Links

[1] en.wikipedia.org, Odds, 2015