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How Does Betting Odds Work

Every new punter who wants to get into betting must first understand how the betting odds work to determine what their winnings might be. Betting odds can look intimidating, in fact the various odds from the bookmakers look like they need a lot of mental energy to discern but that’s not the case as you will find out later in this article. Besides, once you understand them then placing bets will be seamless.

Odds can be described as a unit of measure, and are used to determine the likelihood of something happening Vis a Vis the likelihood of a particular thing not happening. Odds are usually used in two areas that is either in statistics or gambling. In betting odds are used to represent the ratio between the amounts staked by parties to a bet.

Hypothetically, if you are given the odds of 4 to 1 then it means that the bookmaker will stake 4 times, the amount staked by the punter. The stake is the money that is risked in gambling and which means it is the money risked by both the bettor and the bookmaker.

Types of betting Odds

To date there are only three known types of betting odds, and which are the American odds better known as Moneyline and which are characteristic of a (+) or a (–) sign in front of them. Moneylines are usually based on a $100 wager thus the favorites will be represented with a negative number for example (-140), while the underdogs will be presented with a positive number (+140).

We then have the British odds are also known as fractional (10/1) where the odds are represented as a fraction and lastly we have the European odds also known as the decimal odds, where the odds are characteristic of a decimal point (2.0). Once you grasp the different types of betting odds then you no longer need to research on how do betting odds work.

Betting odds explained

If you have never placed a bet before, you must be wondering how do betting odds work, and to make it easy for the brain to digest we break down on the three most common types of betting odds.

How does betting odds work (Decimal Odds?)

Decimal betting odds explained

The decimal betting odds are the easiest to understand of the three because you can easily spot the underdog and the favorites. So what happens is that the digits in the decimal odds are usually representative of the amount that a punter wins when they wager $1. Important to understand is that with the decimal odds the digits always represent the amount of money that will be paid out to you and not the profit that you will earn from betting.

The above then means that the amount of money that you had initially used to place a bet has already been included in the decimal number. So if you want to calculate your final payout this is how the formula will look like. Total Payout= Stake x Decimal Odd Number. To further understand the decimal betting odds better let’s look at the hypothetical example below.

The example below is of a match between two re-known football teams and the odds have been provided by the bookmaker.

Arsenal: 4.0

Manchester: 1.3

The digits above are a representation of the amount of money that a punter could win against each $1 put at stake. If you, therefore, place a $100 stake on Arsenal to win the match then you will potentially make $400, and which can be calculated as $100 x 4.00. Notable is that the total payout is inclusive of the initial $100 stake, meaning that the ultimate net profit is $300.

The punter is also liable to a payout of $130, calculated as $100 x 1.3 but that is if they place a $100 bet on Manchester United. So to calculate the net profit that the punter will have earned all you have to do is deduct the $100 initial stake.

If you are still at crossroads and are wondering how does football betting odds work? Then here is a simple way to understand the decimal odds, to know the amount that you will win “multiply your stake by the number.”  

How do betting odds work (Fractional Odds?)

Fractional betting odds explained

Remember that fractional odds are represented with a slash at the middle on other occasions you might find a hyphen, thus at the bookmakers, it could be announced as a 4 to 1. So for example a fractional listing that goes like this 4/1 (four to one) odds means that the punter will win $4 against every $1 that they put as stake. The player will also receive their stake back.

The total payout will therefore be $5, a more practical explanation will go like this, if you wager $10 at 4/1 then you will get a total payout of $50 ($40 + $10 stake).

How does betting odds work (Moneyline Odds?)

As mentioned earlier the Moneyline or American odds are characteristic of the + or the – sign, with the odds for the underdogs being represented by a positive sign and which indicate the amount that a punter will win for every $100 that they wage.  In essence is that whether you place a stake for the favorites or the underdogs, you will still get your initial stake back.

Notable is that the difference between the odds for the favorites and the underdog’s increases as the probability of winning for the favorites increases. If you can grasp the above point then the question “how does football betting odds work” will not bother you.

Let us take a look at a more practical example.

Atlanta Dream: +585

Indiana Fever:-760

The odds offered for the Atlanta Dream are +585 meaning that the bookmaker has placed a lower probability on the Atlanta Dreams winning the game. The punter will, therefore, have to stake $100 on Atlanta Dreams so that they can win the $585, and if the Atlanta Dreams manage to win the match against all odds then the punter will also get back their initial wager of $100.

If you, therefore, combine the two you will end up with a decent payout of $685. If you however opt to stake on Indiana Fever, who are also the favorites, then you will have to stake up to $760 so that you can win the $100. If the Indiana fevers take the win then the punter will gain $100 and end up with a total payout of $860.

If you are having trouble understanding odds in sports betting  especially the Moneyline then just use this simple formula for the (Your stake multiplied by (odds/100) + your stake).

When it comes to understanding odds in sports betting it would be an injustice to ignore the “push” a feature that has been established to greatly influence a punter's payout. Before placing your stake you should be aware of the push factor and which in simple terms means a tie. So if you place your stake on a Moneyline then you will not see a push, but only when placing bets against the totals or the spreads.

The above then means that when betting on odds and a push occurs you will be refunded your money. The push factor does not fall in any category, it is neither a win nor a loss.

How to read odds sports

Anytime that you bet on sports, the American odds are usually presented everywhere, but their application is completely different. How to read odds sports in the first application, take for example when reading the Moneyline odds, you will only need to pick the winner of the game. And when it comes to a point spread or the over/under, the team that you stake on must cover the spread and the good thing is that the American odds will show you how much you need to risk for that bet. You can start practicing real odds on LeoVegas Canada, where you will find loads of bonuses waiting for you.

How to read odds sports in the second application

The American odds are usually used next to a corresponding line maybe an over/under or a point spread. The odds will, therefore, show you the amount of money that you have to risk, but will not tell you what must happen for you to win the bet. While understanding odds in sports betting you must know that the football and basketball spreads are usually at -110, and this is so because the spreads make things equal.

We also have the lower scoring sports where the betting odds also tend to change, so what happens is that the points spread are usually low at least by -1.5. You will however notice that the gambling odds on each side are different because it is usually difficult for a baseball, soccer, or hockey team to win by multiple goals.


What is the advantage of using the decimal gambling odds over the fractional betting odds?

The Major advantage of the decimal odds over the fractional odds is that the decimal gambling odds are especially easy to calculate. The decimal odds will, however, show you the amount that you will get back instead of just your winnings.

How does football betting odds work when an event is given short odds?

Events that are given short odds usually have a high chance of occurring or have a better chance of winning.