To properly understand sports betting, you need to understand odds. They are an integral part of any sports wager, and they are used to determine whether a wager is worth making or not. The potential payout of any bet you place is calculated using a combination of the relevant odds and your stake.

In this article, we explain about odds in some detail. We define exactly what they are and the role they play. We also look at the three different formats in which they can be expressed and explain why odds on the same outcome can vary with different bookmakers.

What are Odds?

Odds are basically the chances that something will happen displayed in a numerical format, and it is important to understand exactly what these numbers mean.

i) Fractional Odds

Traditionally, odds were displayed in the form of a fraction or a ratio, such as 5/1 or 9/2 and this method is still used in the UK and Ireland. The easiest way to understand these odds is to think of them as (winnings/stake).

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When a bet wins, you also get your stake back, so your total return in this case would be $6. If you place a larger stake, you can just multiply your winnings accordingly.

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Odds-on

If a particular outcome in a sporting event is extremely likely to happen, the price may be described as “odds on”. These means that the winnings will be lower than the stake.

ii) Decimal Odds

Many websites now use decimal odds when quoting prices. Decimal odds are the standard format in most European countries and many people find them much easier to read because they display your total return for a $1 stake.

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iii) Moneyline Odds

Moneyline odds (sometimes referred to as American odds) refers to the type of odds used by American betting companies. These types of odds can be presented in both negative and positive formats.

If the figure is positive, the number indicates how much you would win if you placed a stake of $100. If two teams are playing, the underdog will have a positive Moneyline.

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If the figure is negative, the number indicates how much you would have to stake to win $100. In an event with two teams, the clear favorite will often have a negative Moneyline.

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If the odds are exactly 50% (sometimes referred to as evens), the Moneyline is displayed as +100. This means that a $100 bet would return a profit of $100.

Conclusion

Getting into sports betting can seem a little daunting at first, but as soon as you start understanding how different types of sports betting odds work, the easier it gets. Once you have got to grips with all the different terminology, you can then get to work developing your own sports betting strategies.

Guest writer contributed to this article: Josiah O. Makori