An Overview of Sports Betting Odds Formats

An Overview of Sports Betting Odds Formats

Those new to betting need to learn how betting odds work, this is the first priority on the road to placing value bets. Here you will learn about odds, how they work and differ and how they help you calculate your potential winnings.

Decimals vs Fractions

Most UK gambling sites present their odds as decimals or fractions. Both represent the proportion of your original stake returned after a successful bet, though decimal odds include your original stake while fractions do not.

Fractional Odds

This is the traditional way of displaying odds and it is common to see odds like 2/1 and 10/1 to indicate the winnings you will receive depending on how much you stake. 2/1 shows that for every £1 you stake you will win £2. You calculate your full return by adding your stake back.

£10 at 2/1 = £20 winnings plus £10 stake = £30 total

£10 at 5/2 = £25 winnings plus £10 stake = £35 total

Decimal odds

Decimal odds will already have your stake included in the winnings. So decimal odds of 3.0 is in fact 2/1, as £1 at 3.0 will return you £3. You simply multiply your stake by the decimal odds quoted and that will be your return.

£10 at 3.0 = 10 x 3.0 = £30

£10 at 4.5 = 10 x 4.5 = £45

American vs European Formats

American sportsbook providers present their odds in a different way, known as 'money-line odds'. Sometimes, European bookies will use this format for American sports. They feature a ‘plus’ or a ‘minus’ sign- with plus indicating ow much you will win with £100 and minus shows how much you need to stake to earn £100. Odds of -200 means that a £10 bet would return £15, i.e. (100/200) x 10, plus the £10 stake. Odds of +200 mean a £10 bet would return £30, i.e.(200/100) x 10, plus the original £10 stake.

1x2 vs Asian Handicaps

In a 'match winner market', there are generally three outcomes: win, lose or draw. A '1x2 Bet' allows you to bet on each of these outcomes at odds expressed as one of the formats listed above.

Asian handicaps use an odds calculation based on form to eliminate the option of a draw, so you only back a winner by a set margin. In football, bookies pick a goal handicap they believe will make the probability of victory as close to 50% (1/1 or 2.0) as possible; the odds will be expressed in a decimal format that excludes the original stake.

For example, for Tottenham vs Partizan Belgrade in November 2014, Tottenham were rated 2.000 at -1.5, -2, which assumes Tottenham are two goals better than Belgrade. A £10 bet on Tottenham to win by two or more goals would return £20, being 200% of £10. Remember, these decimal odds exclude the original stake.

You can usually spot Asian handicap odds because they run to three decimal places, unlike normal decimal odds that rarely have over two.

Over / Under

An ‘over/under’ bet is a wager where you predict that an occurrence will be over or under a specific figure. You could bet on the over/under total points score in a basketball game, e.g. over/under 170. The options can vary across sports but it is common to see corners, cards, goals, birdies, tries, wickets and many more in the over/under market. There's no draw for this bet, so it always offers a 50% chance of winning.

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