A Beginner’s Guide to Betting Odds

Understanding betting odds and how they work is a basic essential for successful punting. When you can interpret the odds, you can weigh them up against how much you have to bet and the other information you have about an event, and make shrewd tactical decisions. You’ll be developing this knowledge for the rest of your online betting career, but to get you started have a look through the guidelines below.

Different Betting Odds and How They Work

Betting odds can be expressed in different ways, and you need to be able to understand all of them. Decimal Odds are most commonly used, and tell you how much money you’ll win for every unit of currency you bet. They usually extend to 2 decimal places, for accuracy, and include the return of your stake. If, for example, the Decimal Odds are 3.00, you’ll get a profit of 2 for every 1 unit you wager.

The second most common odds used are Fractional or British Odds, so named because they are popular with UK bookmakers. These also show how much you’ll be paid out per 1 unit stake when you win, but instead of including your initial stake they just show your profit. This means that, for example, 2/1 Fractional Odds pay you 2 units for every 1 that you bet.

Lastly, American (also called Money Lines) Betting Odds and how they work is quite different from the other two types. They are based on a 100 unit stake and are shown as a positive or a negative number. A positive number tells you how much you’ll be paid out if you successfully place 100 currency units on a bet. A negative tells you how much you need to punt to win 100 currency units. Most online betting sites will allow you to view the odds in the format you are most comfortable with, to make your life a little easier. Just be sure to look at everything in the same configuration– comparing bets that are expressed differently can lead to expensive mistakes.

Use Betting Odds to Calculate Probability

The probability of an event outcome is the likelihood that it will occur. Bookmakers usually calculate this, and then accept bet against the odds that are set. These odds may be fixed at the time you place your wager, or dynamic, changing as more bets come in. You need to keep an eye on the fluctuations before deciding whether to risk placing a bet, or in the case of fixed odds you need to size up the chances of your punt winning before you place it.

Probability is actually another aspect of Fractional Betting Odds and how they work, and is easily found. The calculation you need to use is Probability (%) = B / (A+B) where A is the first number and B is the second number in the Fractional Odds expression. For example, if the odds are 9/1, the probability is 1 / (9+1), giving a 10% likelihood.

Apply What You Learn

Once you’ve mastered betting odds and how they work, you’ll be able to figure out the bets that will pay out the most and are the most likely to win. Weigh this up against any other tips, information or insights you have into the event or competitors, and you’ll be well on your way to winning wagers.