How odds work in sports betting

If you are thinking of getting involved in any form of sports betting, then you need to understand the subject of odds properly. This will be the difference between being a casual punter who struggles to profit in the long term and someone who actually makes money. Though it can seem an area that is confusing, when you take the time to understand the key concepts, it is actually quite straightforward.

How do odds work?

The odds given on a match or event serve two purposes. First, they allow you to work out how much money you will win if your bet is correct, dependent on the stake you put down. Naturally, the higher the odds, the more you stand to be paid out by the bookmaker. Secondly, they also give you an idea of how likely a certain outcome is to happen.

This is a really key part of understanding odds that you need to think about when placing your bets. The bookmakers all take time to study each match and offer odds that they believe represent what is likely to happen. You can then use the odds being offered to work out the likelihood of any outcome.

As an example, if USA are playing Brazil in soccer, the odds for a Brazil win would be pretty low as that is the likely outcome. A USA win would see much higher odds being given to reflect the fact that it is not expected to occur.

Decimal, fractional, and American odds

Another vital part of odds to understand is the different format they can be shown in, as below.

The Decimal format is favored by many sports betters now as it is easy to understand. They are offered by all the major bookmakers globally on all events. Decimal odds usually go to two decimal places and are format N.NN. To calculate your potential payout, you simply multiply your stake by the odds. For example, a $10 bet on odds of 3.00 would pay out $30.00.

Fractional odds were the most popular kind of odds before Decimal took over. Expressed as a fraction (2/1, for example), they can be a little harder to grasp at first. They tell you how much profit you will make from 1 unit of stake rather than the full total of return, as with Decimal. This means that you have to factor in getting your stake money back when working out your overall return. For example, a 5/1 $10 bet would give you $50 of profit plus your original $10 stake bet back.

The last popular odds format used is American. These odds are expressed in terms of a positive or negative number and are most popular in the US. When using these odds, you would use the figure to tell you what would be returned on a $100 stake. A positive figure (for example, +150) would tell you how much you would win on the $100 stake, while a negative figure (for example, -100) would tell you how much you needed to stake to win $100.

Why are excellent odds sometimes offered?

Sometimes, online sports betting companies ( is one site to visit) will give amazing odds for something to happen. It may be 50.00 for one team to win a basketball game or 100/1 for a horse to win a race. As we have already noted, this usually signals that the outcome is quite unlikely, hence why they feel able to offer such good odds. Sometimes though, shocks do occur! If you have researched the event that you are betting on fully and think that it is worth taking the bet on, these high odds can make you a lot of money!

Why do special odds get offered at times?

As well as pricing some outcomes high, bookmakers will all usually offer special promotional odds on selected events or races. This is done to give you extra value and help you profit more in the long term if you win. Of course, it will also attract more customers to their website, which will add more liquidity to the market in question. These can be a really great way to boost your winnings as you can get higher odds and more winnings on an event that you have identified is likely to occur.

Odds needn’t be hard to understand

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand how odds work in sports betting and made you see that there is nothing to be afraid of! Once you have grasped the key concepts that we have talked about, you can use odds to help decide if a bet is worth taking on, and how much you might win. The bookmakers put a tremendous amount of work into calculating the odds for each possible outcome in a match or race, so it makes sense to take advantage of this hard work yourself.