What are Sports Betting Odds all about

This is part 5 of the Betwiser Sports Betting Beginners Guide. On this page, you’ll learn what are odds, how to figure out probability and converting odds to and from European, UK and American

The odds given by bookmakers or set by people on betting exchanges, represents the probability of a certain outcome for that event occurring.

Outcomes for events are not only limited either winning or losing, for instance like a Tennis match. You can get three way outcomes as well – like in a Soccer match where you have win, lose or draw.

You also have events with a lot of different outcomes such as over 20 possible outcomes like in the case of Golf.

No matter what the sport is, the information contained below will help you make sense of odds and the probability that the bookmaker (or player) thinks about the outcome.

Odds are shown in different formats usually depending on the country you’re in. There are three different formats.

Decimal Odds

This is a really popular method of displaying odds in Europe, Australia and Canada. It’s also known as European odds or continental odds in the United Kingdom. Decimal odds show how much money is paid out from your stake.

Example: You have a $100 bet at odds of 1.5 for your favourite tennis player to win a game. If your guy comes out on top the profit and payout are as follows:

Profit is stake x (odds – 1) = $100 x (1.5 – 1) = $50
Payout is stake x odds = $100 x 1.5 = $150

Fractional Odds

You’ve probably seen this type of way to display odds if you’ve been to a horse racing track. This type of odds format is popular in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It can also be called British odds, UK odds or traditional odds.

Fractional odds show the net total that you will be paid out if you win.

Example: You have a $100 bet on odds of 1/2 for your favourite tennis player to win a game. If your guy comes out on top the profit and payout are as follows:

Profit is stake x odds = $100 x 1/2 = $50
Payout is stake x (odds + 1) = $100 x (1/2 +1) = $150

Moneyline Odds

This is the one popular in America, which is way it’s often called the American odds. The representation of the odds can be either negative or positive.

If the odds shown are a positive number, it shows how much money can be won betting with $100. If the odds are negative it shows how much money needs to be wagered in order to win $100.

Example: You have a $100 bet on odds of -200 for your favourite tennis player to win a game. If your guy comes out on top the profit and payout are as follows:

Profit is stake x (100/odds) = $50
Payout is stake x (1 + 100/odds) = $150

Finding out the Probability through Odds

The odds determine how much profit you will make based on your initial bet (your stake). How about if you wanted to find out the probability of an event? You can use odds to figure this out.

Decimal odds

What is the probability with odds of 1.5?
Probability = 100/odds = 100/1.5 = 66.66%

Fractional odds

What is the probability with odds of 1/2?
Probability = denominator/(numerator + denominator) x 100 = 2/(1 + 2) x 100 = 66.66%

Moneyline odds

What is the probability with odds of 200?
Probability (%) = 100 – (100/(100/odds + 1)) = 100 – (100/(100/200 + 1)) = 33%

Odds Conversion

Here is a quick view of the different representation of the odds in different formats; from decimal to fractional to moneyline. You can see how it corresponds to each other by viewing it this way.

Decimal Fractional Moneyline Win% (toBreak Even) Return(minus stake)
1.01 1/100 -10,000 99.01% 1.00%
1.11 1/9 -900 90.00% 11.11%
1.33 1/3 -300 75.00% 33.33%
1.50 1/2 -200 66.67% 50.00%
2.00 1/1 +/-100 50.00% 100.00%
3.00 2/1 +200 33.33% 200.00%
4.00 3/1 +300 25.00% 300.00%
10.00 9/1 +900 10.00% 900.00%
101.00 100/1 +10,000 0.99% 10,000.00%

Be sure to check out the tools section of the Betwiser website where you will find an odds conversion calculator… Trust me, it’ll make life easier to use it.

  • Part 6 – Tools of the Trade for Online Sports Betting

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