Betting Odds Explained: How Betting Odds Work

Betting Odds Explained: How Betting Odds Work
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Have you ever wanted to have betting odds explained? Are you confused by the difference between American odds, decimal odds and fractional odds when looking at a betting line?

Fear not. We’ll show how to read betting odds so you can make more informed wagers on your favorite sports. Then, you can sign up to a top sportsbook in minutes and take advantage of free bets!

What do Betting Odds Mean?

So, what are betting odds? At an online sportsbook, every market has a set of odds. These refer to the payout made by the sportsbook to the player. Before you start with online sports betting, you need to understand how to read betting odds.

For example, let’s say a top NFL betting site is offering odds on a big game:

San Francisco 49ers (+200) vs Miami Dolphins (-161)

The odds displayed are shown as American odds and are based off of a $100 wager for plus-odds and what it would take to win $100 for minus-odds (we’ll explain more in a bit). If you wager $100 on the 49ers at +200 and they won, you would win $200, or $2 for every $1 you staked. You would also receive your original stake back.

If you bet $161 on the Dolphins and they won, you would only receive $100 back as they were the favorite. You would, however, also win back your $161 stake.

Sports betting odds tend to be displayed in one of three ways: American, decimal and fractional. Depending on where you live, you may want to see odds displayed in one of the different ways.

The beauty of online sportsbooks is that you can toggle between different odds formats.

American Odds

American odds, or “moneyline” odds, are commonly used at US-facing sportsbooks. Typically, American odds are used in team sports like NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and for futures bets as well.

Whether you’re using top New Jersey sportsbooks and or the best sports betting sites in Indiana, these types of moneyline odds will be used.

American odds will either show a positive or negative value. The negative value indicates the favorite, while the positive value indicates the underdog.

Negative odds (favorite): The price shown is the amount you must stake in order to win $100. For example, to back a team at -200, you would have to bet $200 in order to win $100.

Positive odds (underdog): The price shown is the amount you will win for a $100 bet. For example, a team with odds of +300 would pay $300 for a $100 bet.

Keep in mind a bettor does not need to bet in $100 units. The odds are presented this way to make them easier to understand.

Fractional Odds

Fractional odds are commonly used in horse racing betting and greyhound racing. They are also the most common type of odds used at online sports betting sites in the UK and Ireland.

Fractional odds show the amount returned for a single unit stake. For example, a horse at 6/1 would return $6 for a $1 stake. This would also indicate a longshot.

A favorite would be “odds on.” For example, a hot favorite might be priced at 2/5. That means you would have to bet $5 in order to win $2. The amount you wager is more than the amount you can win. However, you would also receive your original stake back as part of any win.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are the most popular odds format at sports betting sites in Europe. They are sometimes known as European Odds and are quite easy to understand.

The decimal odds price shows the amount you can win, plus your original stake. For example, let’s say you bet $1 on a baseball team to win at 4.00. You would win $3 for the result, plus your original $1 back. The total payout would be $4.

It’s easy to see who the favorite and underdog is with decimal odds. An underdog would carry decimal odds over 2.00, while the favorite would be under 2.00.

A price of 2.00 represents even money. That means, a winning bet of $1 would return exactly $2 ($1 for the win plus your $1 initial stake).

Using Probability to Understand Betting Odds

With betting odds explained, it’s important to also consider probability when placing a sports bet. Understanding probability can help you to win more money in the long run.

Every bookmaker, whether they be a top Illinois betting site or a Michigan sportsbook, uses different factors to price up their markets. A hot favorite might be odds-on to win against the underdog. But the bookie will always make their price more favorable to themselves. As a gambler, therefore, you need to work out if there’s any value in the bet.

Knowing how to read betting odds is essential for maximizing your profits. And to do that, we can work out a probability of an outcome based on the bookmaker’s odds.

Let’s say an underdog is +200 to win. The favorite is -150. Follow this simple equation to find an “implied probability” of winning. Note that when calculating probability you remove the + or – from the odds.

Underdog: 100 / (Odds + 100) * 100

In our example, that works out as 100 / (200 + 100) * 100 = 33%

Favorite: Odds / (Odds + 100) * 100

In our example, therefore, it would be 150 / (150 + 100) * 100 = 60%

The bookies have essentially made the favorite a 60% chance, with the underdog a lowly 33%.

But you have made some investigation, and discover the favorites have a few injuries. Also, the underdogs are playing at home. You think that in fact, the underdog has a 50/50 chance. There is value to taking the bet on the underdog team.

Most online odds converters will show the implied probability alongside the odds. This is a good way of working out whether the bookmaker has vastly overpriced or underpriced a team.

How to Convert Odds

We’ve answered the question: How do betting odds work? But what if you want to work out American, European and fractional odds in seconds?

You can find lots of easy odds converters online which do the job for you. Convert betting fractions to decimals or change American to fractional odds.

To use an odds converter, simply enter the odds into the relevant box and hit the “Convert” button. Alternatively, you can use this easy odds conversion guide to get the odds format you are most comfortable with when making a sports bet.

American to Fractional Odds

Converting American odds to fractional odds is easy. Simply take the American odds price and divide it by 100.

For example, an NFL team is priced at +200. Divide the odds by 100 to get 2/1. If the odds are +250, the odds would be 2.5/1 or 5/2.

What if you want to work out fractional odds of a favorite with negative odds? Follow this formula:

Fractional odds = -100 / American odds

So, a team at -300 would be -100 / -300, or 1/3.

American to Decimal Odds

To convert American/US odds to decimal odds, you need to divide by 100 and add 1 to the total.

For example, let’s say you are betting at one of the top legal online sportsbooks in Colorado. You back the Denver Nuggets at +110 in the American odds list. Divide the price by 100 and add 1, to make 2.10.

So, for a stake of $10, you would win $21 ($11 plus your $10 stake).

Fractional to Decimal Odds

You might also want to convert fractional odds to decimal odds to easily view your total payout. To convert betting fractions to decimal, simply divide the numerator by the denominator, then add 1.

For example, the 49ers are priced at 11/10. Divide 11 by 10 to get 1.10. Then add 1 to get 2.10. That means for a $100 stake, you would win $210 ($110 plus your $100 stake returned).

American vs European Odds (Decimal Odds)

Decimal odds, also known as Digital Odds, or European Odds, are mainly used in the continental market. Decimal odds are also popular at Australian and Canadian betting sites.

The beauty of decimal odds is that they clearly display the total return for a unit stake. Decimal odds of 1.36 mean you can win $1.36 for a $1 stake. The American odds for the same market would be -275, which can be harder for newcomers to understand.

Luckily, with an easy odds converter, you can calculate odds to suit your preference. So, whether you’re looking for top Pennsylvania sportsbooks or the best betting sites in West Virginia, it’s easy to see the right odds for you.

Discover the Best Sportsbooks & Odds Online

With these gambling odds explained, you are in the perfect place to start making online bets of your own. Convert American to decimal odds and find the best value online. Or, sign up to a legal US sportsbook in our state and earn free bets on the biggest markets.

Many new sports bettors ask themselves: How do betting odds work? But what you need to understand is that bookmakers often underprice leading markets. Finding value is the best weapon you can have as a gambler.

Discover the top online sports betting markets with our expert reviews. All of our best-rated sportsbooks offer odds in US, decimal, or fractional so you can switch formats with ease.

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