About Sports Betting OddsWhat’s meant by sports betting odds?
Sports betting odds are nothing but a method adopted by sports books for representing the probability of a bettor winning his/her bet should he/she place it. Following are the three most commonly used sports betting odds systems:
American odds system – In which the odds are represented with a minus or plus symbol, for instance, +120, -110 etc.
Fractional odds system – In which the odds are represented in terms of fractions, for instance, 12/5, 7/2 etc. This is most commonly used in United Kingdom.
Decimal odds system – In which the odds are represented in terms of a number with decimal places, for instance, 2.30, 1.70 etc. This is most commonly used in European countries outside of UK.
All these odds formats provide different interpretations of the chances of a wager being successful. You should keep in mind that it’s important to learn all these three formats despite almost all the online bookmakers having calculators on their portals for easy conversion of one odds format to the other. Being aware of all the three odds formats can help you easily understand your winning chances even if you don’t have a conversion tool handy. Let’s look into each one of these formats briefly now.
American odds format
By far the most popular odds format among the online sports books, American odds format can be slightly confusing to people starting out in sports betting. This is because the numbers work differently in case of underdogs and favourites. American odds format is also sometimes referred to as the money line odds or just money line.
So, if you’re keen on betting on your favourite team in a particular sport, American odds will tell you the exact amount of cash you’ll need to bet in order to win £ 100. Hence, it’d become much easier for you to scale your wagers downwards or upwards. For instance, if an online bookmaker lists the favourite of a match at -120, it implies that you’ll need to bet £ 120 to win £ 100. In the event that this team actually goes on to win the game, you’ll get your original £ 120 back, and an extra £ 100. So your total take would be £ 220.
Now, if the same website lists the odds of the underdog at +220, betting £ 100 on that team would earn you a profit of £ 220, making your total take £ 320.
Fractional odds format
This odds format is the most commonly used one in the United Kingdom and is also actively seen in horse races throughout the world. Some of the other names used for fractional odds format are traditional odds, conventional odds, UK odds and British odds.
The fractional odds of a bet tell the gambler about the total amount they’ll earn compared to their original stake. For instance, if the fractional odds of a particular team winning a match have been set at 4/1, it means that you stand to earn £ 80 by placing a bet of £ 20. These odds can be upside down if you are betting on a team favoured to win a game. Hence, the odds may be set upside down, for instance 1 / 4. In this case, placing a £ 20 bet would earn you a profit of only £ 5. So, your total take in this case would be £ 25, while it would be £ 100 in the former bet.
Decimal odds format
Commonly used in Asia, Canada, Australia and European countries outside of the United Kingdom, decimal odds format is considered the most difficult one for sports bettors to read (compared to fractional and American odds formats). However, it’s not actually as difficult as it is made out to be. All you need is some basic understanding and you can easily learn your odds of winning a particular bet.
Please note that decimal odds format is different than the fractional format in a very important way – In this betting odds system, sports bettors read their odds to learn about their actual winnings if their bet actually wins. If you look closely you’ll observe that decimal odds are nothing but the decimal representation of a wager’s fractional odds.
For instance, if your sports book is offering decimal odds of 2.00 on a specific event, all you need to do is multiply your bet amount with 2 and you’ll know how much you can expect to win. So, if you were to bet £ 100 in this scenario, you’ll stand to earn £ 200 from your bet.
Please note, it’s alright even if you’re comfortable with just one or two of the above explained odds formats. A large majority of online bookmakers allow you to view their odds in any format of your choice. However, as mentioned earlier, it’s always better to learn all these formats as they can come in pretty handy whenever you don’t have a conversion tool available or need to place bets in off-line betting places.