What are betting odds?
Betting odds are the liklihood on a particular outcome and are determined by the bookmaker. For example, a number of book makers offered odds on England to win the World Cup of 7/1 (before the World Cup started).
Betting odds are the ratio between the amount staked by the bookies and the bettor, so 7/1 means the bookies stake seven times the amount the bettor has wagered. If the bettor wins; their predicted outcome materialises; they will take seven times their bet from the bookie (in this case) e.g. if you were to stake €1 then you would receive €8 back from the bookmaker in this case – €7 profit plus your initial stake.
How are betting odds calculated?
Sports betting odds are designed to easily give readers an idea of how likely it is that each team/competitor will win, as well as how much money you could make with a successful bet on that outcome. In other words, you can use them to get a quick idea of the underdog and the favourite for a particular game or event.
The odds are calculated by the bookmaker who estimates the probability of an event taking place and based on that prediction, will display their odds.
To decide what odds they offer, bookmakers look at a range of different factors. This might include everything from what other sportsbooks are offering through to the results of previous match-ups. They’ll adjust those odds in real time, based on factors like injuries and the weather, as well as the amount of money staked by bettors on each outcome. For example, if Saudi Arabia were thought to have a low chance of winning the World Cup, the odds for it to happen would likely be a round 80/1 (as an example), showing the slight chance of it occurring and the high potential payout a punter would receive if that did actually happen.
How are betting odds displayed?
There are several different ways of displaying odds. Depending on where you are playing or what part of the world you’re in, some forms of odd are more popular;
The fractional odds are probably the most commonly used form of presentation by bookmakers in the UK and are sometimes referred to as “British odds” or “traditional odds”.
They use a fractional format to display possibility of an event happening. This is one of the most straightforward ways of determining how much you will win from a bet and is a quick and simple way to understand the probability of an event happening.
Here are some examples of fractional bets, how they would work and how much the bookies will pay out for a win.
3/1 – Bookies pay €3 for every €1 staked – you get €4 euros back, your bet +3
15/2 – Bookies pay €15 for every €2 staked – you get €17 back
3/5 – Bookies pay €3 for every €5 staked – you get €8 back
1/1 – Bookies pay €1 for every €1 staked – you get €2 back
The first two bets – where the number on the left is higher than the number on the right - are called “odds-against” bets: depicting where the bookie thinks the event is more likely not to happen – the bookie is betting against an event occurring and that it is unlikely.
The third one – where the number on the right is higher - is an “odds-on” bet: depicting where the bookie thinks that the event is likely to happen.
When both numbers are the same (last example), this is an “evens” bet: a 50/50 bet. In this scenario you would double your stake if placing a winning bet.
Another format of odds that is popular among punters is decimal odds which are more commonly found in mainland Europe and Australia. Decimal odds use a decimal format to display the stakes and are usually utilised for a quick view of the probability of an event.
Decimal odds also make it easier for punters to compare odds without complicated mathematical formulas and allow for a quick view of potential winnings. The higher the number, the higher the potential winnings.
To work out winnings, you only need to multiply the stakes by the odds:
5.00: Bet €1, win €5 (including your stake)
5.00: Bet €5, win €25 (including your stake)
2.00: Bet €3, win €6 (this is the decimal equivalent to 1/1 evens under fractional odds)
American odds are also called money line or US odds. As the name implies, this format of displaying odds is primarily used in the US and will be rarely used by bookmakers from the UK or Europe.
They can be confusing compared to fractional or decimal odds until you have got the hang of them as they are displayed with either a positive or minus number:
A positive number indicates how much profit you will get if you bet €100.
Indicates what you must bet to make €100 profit.
Here are some examples of US bets, how they would work and how much the bookies will pay out for a win.
+250: Bet €100, win €250, total returned €350 with your stake
+250: Bet €10, win €25, total returned €35 with your stake
-125: Bet €125, win €25, total returned 150 with your stake
-125: Bet €10, win €2, total returned €12 with your stake