Betting Odds Explained

Betting odds are one of the essential aspects of betting. By understanding how to read betting odds, you will learn how to calculate your profits in advance and, more importantly, recognise a favourite, helping you make a more informed bet.

There are three different types of betting odds: fractional, decimal, and moneyline. Even though they may look different, they serve the same purpose and are used by the bookmakers to show the likelihood of a particular outcome.

If you need betting odds explained, you’ve come to the right place. Our guide is designed for new punters, and we will explain everything there is to know about different types of betting odds to help make your betting journey a bit easier.

8 Quick Facts on How Sports Betting Odds Work

  • Bookmakers use three different types of betting odds: fractional, decimal, and moneyline.
  • Decimal odds are the easiest to calculate.
  • Your initial stake is calculated into total payout with the decimal odds.
  • Your initial stake is added to your profit when calculating total payout for fractional and moneyline odds.
  • Fractional odds are the most popular type and are used mostly in the UK and Ireland.
  • Moneyline odds are used in the US.
  • The odds represent the same thing, regardless of which sport you are betting on.
  • Most bookmakers let you change the odds format based on your preferences.

Fractional Odds

If you are from the UK and are wondering how to understand betting odds, the chances are you are most likely thinking of fractional odds. Fractional odds are also known as the UK odds since they are most often used by UK bookmakers.

As the name suggests, they are written as a mathematical fraction and can be shown as “4/1,” “10/11,” or “9/4.” In some cases, depending on the bookmaker, they can even be shown as “4-1,” “10-11,” or “9-4.”

Whether you need football or horse racing betting odds explained, fractional odds work the same, regardless of the sport you are betting on. In fact, the same goes whether you are betting online or at a land-based bookmaker. In both cases, you would announce fractional odds as “four to one,” “ten to eleven,” and “nine to four.”

Fractional odds are used to show the profit rather than the total payout. If you wish to learn how fractional betting odds work and calculate the total payout, simply following this equation:

(Stake x Numerator / (Denominator)) + Stake = Total Payout

For example, if you bet £10 on a game with 4/1 odds and win the wager, you would win £40. You would also have your stake of £10 returned, which equals a total payout of £50.

The easiest way to explain fractional betting odds would be to just think of it as winning £4 for every £1 you invest if you are betting on a game with 4/1 odds.

If you are betting on a team that has 4/1 odds to win, you would be betting on an underdog. However, if you are to bet on a game with the 10/11 odds, you would win £10 for every £11 you invest, which is significantly lower than the 4/1 odds bet. This means that the bookmaker favours the team with the 10/11 odds to win.

Whenever you end up wondering, “how do betting odds work?” remember to simply follow the equation we provided. If you use it correctly and apply to the last example we provided, you can easily calculate the profits and see that if you bet £10 on a game with the odds of 10/11, you will win £9 and have your initial stake of £10 returned, which equals a total payout of £19.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are also known as the European odds and are mostly used in Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Like the fractional football betting odds we already explained, their name derives from the way they are written and can be shown as 2.4, 3.1, 1.3, etc.

Decimal odds are much easier to understand, and unlike fractional odds, they are used to calculate total payout rather than just the profit.

Luckily, it won’t take long before you learn how to read decimal betting odds since the equation to calculate the total payout of a decimal bet is much simpler than when calculating fractional odds. In this case, all you have to do is multiply the decimal odd with your initial stake.

Stake x Decimal Odds = Total Payout

For example, let’s say that you placed a £10 bet on a game between Manchester United and Liverpool where a bookie has given Manchester United the odds of 2.7 and 1.6 to Liverpool. If you bet on Manchester United and win, you will win £27 in total. In case you placed the same bet on Liverpool and won, you will win £16 in total.

The best way to have betting odds explained and learn how to determine a favourite is to remember that the lower the number/odds, the more favourable the team is. In other words, in a match between two teams where one team has 1.1 odds to win, they are seen as a huge favourite, while a team with, let’s say, odds of 9.0 or more would be considered an underdog.

Lastly, unlike with the fractional sports betting odds we explained, make sure to remember that your initial stake is not returned upon winning a wager when betting on a game with decimal odds. Instead, it is calculated into the total payout.

Moneyline Odds

Moneyline odds are also known as the American odds and are mostly used in the US. To learn how moneyline betting odds work, just pay attention to the minus or plus symbol that precedes the number.

The “-“ is used to indicate a favourite, while the “+” is used for an underdog, and the number represents how much money you need to wager to win $100. For example, a team with -100 is much less of a favourite than a team with -900.

To help explain moneyline betting odds, let’s say that the LA Lakers are playing the Sacramento Kings. Since the Lakers are a favourite, a bookie might give them -700 odds, while the Kings, as the underdog, would have, let’s say, +450.

In this scenario, you would need to bet $700 on the Lakers to win $100. However, if you were to bet $100 on the Kings, you would win $450. When learning how to read moneyline betting odds, make sure to remember that your initial stake is returned alongside your winnings.

In other words, if you placed a bet on the LA Lakers, your total payout would be $800, while your total payout for winning a bet placed on the Sacramento Kings would be $550.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to understand betting odds and how they are shown and calculated is crucial for every punter. Even though it may seem slightly confusing initially, especially for inexperienced punters, it won’t take long before you’re entirely familiar with how these three types of odds work.

We hope that having betting odds explained will make your betting experience much easier. Understanding the odds can show you which team is a favourite and greatly improve your chances of placing a bet that offers better value. For that reason, you should take your time and learn everything there is about different odd types before placing your first wager.

Table of Contents
8 Quick Facts on How Sports Betting Odds Work Fractional Odds Decimal Odds Moneyline Odds Final Thoughts
Table of Contents