Sports Betting Odds Explained

sportsEveryone can agree that sports betting pumps your adrenaline to the limit. But if you want to be a successful punter and accrue great winnings, you should not rely on luck only. You’d better know how the betting odds work. Being a serious sports investor means that you must understand the odds and know how to use them correctly. Without such knowledge, you will waste money and time.

Millions of people place bets online because it is easier, simpler and you can follow sports events from every corner of the world. However, it may be a little tricky, because there are several types of betting odds and formats you might be unfamiliar with. There is no need to panic, just continue reading.

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Types of Betting Odds

The betting odds are a method, which identifies the winning chances of a bet. As mentioned above, there are different types of odds, depending on what sport you are placing bets on and where you are playing. You will see American Odds, Fractional and Decimal Odds and you need to be comfortable switching between the formats if you want to put money in your pocket.

American Odds

american-oddsAmerican odds, also known as “Moneyline odds”, are the most commonly used by the US sportsbooks. You will understand them without having too much trouble as they show how much the punter must wager to win $100. They will be listed as “pick” “pk” or “pick’em”.

American odds are separated in two categories – underdogs and favourites. A “+” is attached to the underdogs. If the number is higher, the underdog will be higher, meaning that an underdog of +100 has a better chance of winning than a +400 underdog. On the other hand, favourites have “-” attached to them and if the number is bigger, so is the chance to win, i.e. a -300 favourite has a greater possibility to win than a -100 one.

A value of $100 is always used for the American odds. With favourites, you risk money to win $100, but for underdogs you risk $100 to win the amount. For example, a -120 favourite means that you must risk $120 in order to win $100, so either you lose $120 or you win $100 or push. It is the other way around with the underdogs: +300 underdog means that you risk $100 to win $300.

American odds can be converted into percentages, which will give you the breakeven percentage. Let’s take -110, the most commonly used odds, from which you can win $210. You need to divide 110 by 210 and you will come up with 0.5238 or 52.38%, i.e. your bets at -110 need to be at least 52.38% to break through.

The next example includes underdogs. You have a +200 underdog, and you need to divide the $100 risk by the maximum winnings of $300. The result will be 0.3333 or 33.33%. Therefore, a profitable bet will be any +200 underdog, which wins 33.33% of the time.

In most USA sports, the American odds may be attached to a point spread. The following case is from the NFL: Atlanta +3 -115, Carolina -3 +110.

To sum up, American odds are simple and it is really easy to use them. But it all depends on your preferences, after all.

Decimal Odds

Types-of-BetDecimal Odds, also known as European Odds, are most often used by online bookmakers, located in Europe, Canada, and Australia. They are pretty simple to understand and this is why this format is preferred by many web-based bookies and punters.

You will literally need 2 seconds to calculate decimal odds. Your stake is multiplied by the odds to calculate your winnings (Stake x Odds = Payout). Let’s say that Man United are the team you are backing up and their decimal odds are 1.82. If your wager is $100, the potential payout would be $182, meaning that the possible net profit is $82 (Initial bet $100 x 1.82 Decimal Odds = Potential return of $182). It is important to remember that the original bet’s amount is included in the potential payout.

The breakeven odds for European odds are 2.0, i.e. that they will double the stake you have made. Decimal odds below 2.0 and the possible winnings will be less than the initial bet, but those above it are plus odds, meaning that the potential payout will be more than the original stake.

In addition to that, decimal odds are the most economical method to bet parlays, because the odds can be calculated easily, therefore a bookmaker does not need a great number of people who will calculate them. Moreover, such odds provide the most accurate and fairest bets. That’s why this is the most commonly preferred format by online bookmakers.

Fractional Odds

fractional-oddsFractional or UK odds format is the oldest one and it is most commonly used in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Such odds are very easy to calculate. The second number to the right (denominator) is the bet’s amount and the first one to the left (numerator) is the wager’s amount.

For example, you wager on Man City at fractional odds of 10 to 15. The potential winnings with a $150 wager are $100, so if you win, you will take back the initial stake and the winnings, meaning that you will get $250.

The odds of favourites are called “odds on” and the odds of the underdogs are referred to as “odds against”. If the bet is even money, the odds will be 1/1, i.e. the punter risks $100 to collect winnings of $100.

Fractional odds may go with point spread. For example, New York Giants -7 10/11, Philadelphia Eagles +7 10/11. So you need to place a $110 bet to win $100.

The easiest method to convert fractional odds is to turn the fraction form into a decimal one and add 1. For example, 5/1 (five-to-one) fractional odds are equal to 6.00 odds in decimal (5/1 = 5+1 = 6.00). Or another example of a large favourite: 1/5 = 0.2+1 = 1.2.

Punters, especially those from the UK, should be familiar with fractional odds. But bettors, who do not use them often, may only benefit from the knowledge of understanding them. Fractional odds are preferred by the leading bookmakers and there is no second opinion that they are most commonly used by sports punters around the globe.

Comparison between the Types of Odds

Here is an example to help you understand how the three types of betting odds are displayed.

Football Team American Odds Decimal Odds Fractional Odds
Man United +400 5.00 4/1
Liverpool -250 1.40 2/5

In order to achieve great winnings and go home with a lot of money in your wallet, you should check out the earliest odds and compare them with those, offered by different bookmakers. It is essential to know the terminology and understand how odds work. It definitely makes a difference if you win by experience or if you lose by a narrow difference.

Now you are able to place the perfect bet and celebrate later after winning.

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