# Betting Odds Explained – Knowing How Things Work is The Best Way to Up Your Game

It’s generally agreed that gamblers around the world can be socially awkward speaking in an agitated way about odds and sophisticated mathematical functions. But what if not all of them actually speak the same language. There isn’t a unified bettors code or something, the terminology is often interpreted differently depending on the region.

The same goes for odds. While they practically denote the same thing, their formats are widely divergent and it’s easy to get lost trying to make sense of it all, let alone spot a value bet. Reading the odds in the correct way is of pivotal importance to all punters who try to make a quid or two of sports betting. There’s a simple reason for this, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. You’ll catch up in no time, so bear with us as we first tackle the basics and acquaint you with the more intricate business later.

## Betting Odds 101

Above all, the odds signify your potential winnings taking a certain line. In that sense, fair odds for a coin flip will have to translate as x2, since there are only two possible end results. That is to say – correctly predicting the outcome will double your money. Let’s first clear the air, you’ll never see completely fair odds because the small cut on your potential profit is what keeps the bookies in business.

Another thing the odds indicate is the evaluated probability of a certain outcome to occur. Typically betting on the favourite pays less than staking the underdog, we think it’s pretty clear why that is. By the same token, many punters get mislead into wagering on the professed favourite without putting in the deliberation to make their own research.

## Decimal Odds – the Way to Go for European Punters

As elementary school mathematics teaches us, there are two ways to express an irrational number –using a ratio (fraction) or a decimal point. The second model is the fundament of decimal odds and makes it particularly easy to read and work out the potential payout. Just about anyone can do it – multiply your bet by the odds you want to take and voila, there you have the potential return. For instance, Manchester United is the favourite with odds of 1.2 against Swansea’s 3.35 for a win. If we lay a wager on United worth 10 dollars, we’d be in for a 10×1.2 = 12 dollars win of which 2 dollars is the pure profit.

### Odds Converter

Decimal (European) Odds:

Moneyline (American) Odds:

Implied Probability:

## American Odds Dumbed Down

We recognize two main conditions here: backing the favourtie or going for the riskier bet and placing one’s money on the underdog. You’ll know the latter is true if the odds are a positive number. As simple as that you can spot right away which outcome is favoured by the sportsbooks.

In plain English, American odds show how much you have to bet for the chance to win 100 units of currency when backing the notably stronger team. Let’s say that Lakers get a -120 to win the first match of the season. That means a winning bet of 120 dollars will bring in 100 dollars profit, 220 dollars in total.

This time around we’ll base our calculations on the odds for the underdog. For the purpose of our example, we’ll take the team of Orlando Magic. Theoretically speaking, the boys’ wavery performance couldn’t convince the bookies they’re going to win, and as a result, there is a +240 next to team’s name. If we choose to go that way, a successful bet of 100 dollars will earn us 240 dollars. The plus sign indicates that the following number is what we can expect in terms of winnings in return for a winning 100 – dollar wager.

## Understand Fractional Odds

Best known in the UK, fractional odds are extremely easy to get used to. Essentially, we are talking about a wager size/ earnings ratio expressed by means of a fractional number. What we have is the net winnings on the left-hand side, the required bet size on the other side, and a slash in between – something like this 7/ 2. There’s not much to decipher here, If you wager 2 dollars and the bet holds up, you get 7 dollars. Pretty straightforward, right? That’s why fractional odds are also called traditional odds – for their readability and widespread use.

## Bookies with Odds Converter

Horses for courses. No experienced sportsbook would expect you to follow a predetermined odds model, that’s why the best betting sites usually give you the option to choose the type of odds you want to work with. Switching is done with just a click of a button, and in most cases, it’s possible to get a real-time conversion in a matter of seconds. And typically, this is something you can do after setting up your account. Don’t worry, we’re trying to emphasize that it’s not a one-time-only switch, keep alternating between fractional and decimal for example until you find what works best for you.

## Alternative Ways of Calculating Profit

First, we want to point out that nowadays, there are virtually no online sportsbooks that won’t clearly state all the betting information that’s being processed under the hood in order to determine your winnings. Even if you opt for an overly complicated system with multiple selections, at the very least you’ll instantly get informed of the potential return and the number of possible combinations.

In the rare occasion of a bookie not having the abovementioned feature, there are still a host of sites that can provide you with bet calculators. After all, not everyone has affinity towards math, right? If the role of odds still baffles you, better use one of the online tools to get a better perspective on how they work, and most importantly what your winnings are going to be.

## How Do Horse Betting Odds Work?

For the most part, the US bookies dealing in horse racing bets, utilize the pari-mutuel format. A system commonly used for laying odds on quick events, such as the various types of races. It’s a variation of pool betting in which the prize money is divided between the punters who backed the correct outcome. So, people would typically back a horse banking on the statistical probability for it to win, hence the outcomes with the highest likelihood to take place usually account for the biggest part of the bets.

It’s important to note that the pari-mutuel table could contain lines other than win bets. Regardless of the bet types, however, there will always be one that is the most popular and another one that gets the least trust. Let’s look into the following example – all wagers for the Sunday race are spread three-way in that particular manner:

- $70
- $100
- $500

From what we see, proposition number three gains the most trust, so let’s calculate the potential winnings for the participant who backed that outcome.

The total prize pool is 500 + 100 + 70 = $670. As a rule, the sportsbook accepting the bets would withhold a certain commission from the pool, typically in the neighborhood of 14-15%. After subtracting the house profit, we are left with $570 that will be spread between the punters who wagered line number three 670 – 15% x 670 = 570. Now, to calculate the bet/return ration we must divide the remaining prize pool by the total bet amount for option three 570/ 500 = 1.14. That means a return of $1.14 for every $1 wagered.

In the case of an outstanding favourite, the return rate on some betting lines might be compromised because the popular opinion is completely one-sided. Should the return rate get below $1.10 per dollar bet, the legal regulation would round it up to a more acceptable multiplier – 1.10 -1.12, depending on the organ’s policy.

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### How to Read Odds– Each – Way

This type of bet is quintessential for horse racing and is the one preferred by sensible punters. What it does is to give an extra lifeline or we can call it a backup plan, by combining two bets into one. By definition, the two constituents are a win bet and a place bet, with the latter paying only a fraction of the first one but being more likely to succeed.

By way of an example, let’s imagine that we just bet a horse with $10 to win the race at 10-2 and ¼ times the main odds to place in the top three. There are three possible scenarios here – that horse wins it all, resulting in paying win and place parts. Our total return will be 10x 10/2 + 10x 1/4 = $ 52.5.

If the horse finishes second or third, only the place part of our bet will yield a profit – 10×1/4 = $12.5 gross or $2.5 in real earnings, after subtracting our stake. Not bad, even though our main whiffed, we don’t leave empty-handed.

By comparison, should our horse place below third place, the whole wager will be considered a losing one and we’ll get no return for it. Naturally, this makes you wonder how the places which pay and fraction are determined

It depends on the scales of the event, and the number of runners. Oftentimes there will be promotions that enhance the odds for each-way too. But if we are to extract a concise rule, let’s say you can get ¼ for the first and second place if the field consists of at least 5 participants.

## How to Work Out Accumulator Bet Odds

There always comes a time when a punter wants to win big with a relatively small investment. Accumulator bets have been designed specifically with this intent, and they keep coming through as one of the more popular wager types. Here and there you’ll see them mentioned as combo bets, and there’s a reason for that. This system allows you to stack up many selections multiplying their odds.

If we decided to string together two 2.00 odds and stake with 5 dollars, that will make 2x2x5 = 20 dollars potential profit. As you can see, it’s easy to crank up the numbers, but the catch is if whichever of your selections fail the whole bet is lost. If you choose your selections wisely you can score some pretty nice payouts.

## What Risks Are Worth Taking – Odds Holding Value

We don’t want to get into the topic of value betting because that’s a talk for another time, but we do think it’s appropriate to mention real quick what odds to avoid. For the average punter, taking a line that pays less than 10% on your money we think, is downright wrong. Just because you are promised a chance to win something doesn’t automatically mean you should take the risk. It doesn’t make sense to proclaim any team a 100:1 favourtie in a head-to-head battle. Just think about it, this means that every 100 out of 101 times the team will come out a winner. We don’t think such odds scraping stands the reality check

## On the Way to Understanding Betting Odds

The bookies’ odds are not the scarecrow they are widely considered to be. Although the number-crunching part is done automatically on most betting sites and you can see all you need to know in your betting slip, we laid out a simple enough break down for those of you bursting with enthusiasm to learn how their return is formed. This know-how will inevitably help you the next time you’re cherry picking odds.