Betting Odds Explained

If you are new to betting exchange sites, the first thing you will need is an explanation of how betting odds operate and how to understand betting odds.

Once you understand them, betting odds may help you determine how likely a result is and calculate your possible earnings. Odds tell us the probability of an outcome, which you can use to help you decide what to stake on that result.

Despite their intimidating appearance, they are straightforward to grasp once you apply some basic arithmetic. Below, we will go through them, with an example or two for each type, using an easy-to-understand stake and some simple probability maths.

What are Betting Odds?

Bookmakers employ betting odds to indicate the likelihood of a given result in an event. They calculate the probability that an event will happen and then adjust the potential winnings of a successful bet accordingly.

They are commonly expressed as fractions (2/1, for example) or decimals (3.0), but they can also be expressed with a plus or negative sign in front of a number (+200, for example), which is known as a moneyline or American odds. Betting markets may frequently supply you with many outcomes for any particular occurrence.

Betting odds, in addition to displaying probability, assist customers in calculating their possible rewards from a stake.

How do betting Odds Work?

Essentially, betting odds describe the probability of a result and are usually given in fractional or decimal form.

That depiction then informs us how much we might win from our stake if that particular scenario occurs as the outcome of a given event.

Learning to read odds is important if you want to know which bets are sensible to stake on! It might look intimidating now, but it all makes sense once you get used to reading odds.

How to Read Betting Odds

Understanding betting odds is crucial if you want to have a successful betting career. The good news is that reading odds is not difficult, and the maths is not too difficult. The odds vary in each country, but we will concentrate on a few important sorts: decimal odds, fractional odds, and American odds. Fractional odds and decimal odds are the preferred format of most bets in the UK.

Fractional Odds Explained

We may calculate our possible gains using fractional odds. The figure on the left reflects the possible profit if we stake the figure on the right.

A £1 wager on Team A to win at 2/1, for example, will earn £3 if successful. The first £2 is profit, and the last £1 represents the bettor’s risk – it is the amount of your initial stake.

Here are a few other examples:

10/1: A profit of £10 for every £1 invested.

5/2: A profit of £5 for every £2 wagered.

4/11: A profit of £4 for every £11 wagered.

The bet is called odds-on when the number on the left-hand side is less than the number on the right-hand side. When the contrary is true, it is called odds-against, and chances of 1/1 are called evens.

Decimal Odds Explained

Decimal odds give us our potential gains, including our original wager. To get the total returns, just multiply the bet by the odds.

A £1 bet on Team A to win at 3.00, for example, will earn £3 if successful. As with the previous bet with fractional odds, £2 of the returns are profit, and £1 is the bettor’s outlay.

Here are a few other examples:

10.00: A £1 bet would yield £10 plus the investment.

2.50: A £4 bet would yield £10, including the investment.

1.50; A £2 bet would yield £3, including the investment.

The decimal equivalent of 1/1 odds is 2.00.

This odds format can take a while to get used to, but understanding decimal odds is one of the most important parts of grasping how betting odds work.

American Odds

You can bet on a team, a spread, a moneyline, or a total. These are in terms of 100, with a plus or minus for each. This is more common in America – hence the term “American odds”.

American odds are in blocks of 100 because it is a 1:1 ratio, which means that if your bet wins, you will get £1. There will be a mark next to the number. If it is a plus sign, you will win more than £100 on a £100 wager, and if it is a minus sign, you will need to stake more than £100 to win £100.

When you place a moneyline odds bet, you are betting on only one team to win. Assume the clubs are the Browns (+150) and the Steelers (-110). If you put a £100 bet and the Browns win, you will win £150. If the Steelers win, you must wager £110 to receive a £100 payoff from moneyline odds.

Spread betting assigns points to each team that must be met in order for you to win. Assume the odds are +3 for the Browns and -5 for the Steelers. This means that the Browns must win or lose by fewer than three points for you to win, while the Steelers must win by five or more points.

Total bets, commonly known as over/under bets, are wagers on the total number of points scored by both sides. If it states Browns Over 8, you must wager the given amount, and the aggregate score must be more than 8. If it states Steelers Under 8, you must wager the stated amount, and the overall score must be less than 8.

If American odds seem hard to understand, do not worry. You are unlikely to have to use this system in the UK!

Calculating Betting Odds

The bookmaker determines the odds. They will calculate the chances based on their prediction and evaluate the likelihood of an event occurring.

For instance, the chances for a nation winning the World Cup would most likely be around 80/1, indicating both the low likelihood of it happening and the big potential payment a bettor would receive if it did.

In order to be among the first to wager on a particular event of their choice, bettors can request odds on an outcome that is not yet offered by the bookmaker.

If the request is approved, the social media team will forward the bettor’s wishes to the traders upstairs, and the bettor will be able to place bets on their fully tailored odds on the day they requested them before anybody else.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds let you know how much, including your deposit, a winning bet will pay you. To calculate your total returns, simply multiply your stake by the odds.

Therefore, if you placed a £1.00 bet on England to win the World Cup at odds of 10.00, you would receive £10.00 back, which would include your original £1.00 bet.

Here are some other examples:

6.00 – A £1 bet would result in a payout of £6.00.

2.50 – A £4 bet would result in £10.00.

1.50 – A £2 bet would result in £3.00.

Fractional Odds

You can calculate your potential winnings based on fractional odds. If you bet the number on the right, the number on the left represents the amount you stand to gain.

Thus, if you bet £1 on England to win the World Cup at a 9/1 odds and it is a winning bet, you will receive a payout of £9.00. Your initial £1.00 investment will also be returned, giving you a total return of £10.

Here are some other examples:

5/1 – For every £1 you bet, you will receive £5.

6/4 – You will receive £6 for every £4 wagered.

1/2 – For every £2 you bet, you will receive £1.

Comparing Sports Betting Odds in the UK

If you are searching for a place where you can evaluate various odds at once, an online sportsbook is the place to go! Not only will you avoid doing the majority of the maths, but you will also be able to add all of your favourite teams to your watch list.

They should include all of the popular betting options, and you may even gain access to additional features that will enhance your experience! Different firms will offer different choices, so look into them all!

Hopefully, our above example and explanations have given you a good sense of how betting odds work, both decimal odds and fractional odds. With a good understanding of how to read betting odds, how to calculate probability, and what the odds represent, your chances of a successful bet should be much higher, and your potential winnings improved.


Odds might look complicated, but they are actually much more simple than you might think at first glance. Essentially, the odds tell you how likely a certain event is to happen and how much money you could win if it happens. It is just probability maths applied to a practical situation.

The probability of an event happening is important information for anyone who wants to start betting on sports betting, as knowing the chances of a specific outcome can give you a rough idea of your potential profit and how likely you are to lose money, such as if that particular outcome does not happen.

Keep an eye out for customer offers when you gamble, as some sites will give new customers better deals on a certain outcome or stake!


What is Implied probability?

The translation of betting odds into a percentage is known as implied probability. It provides us with an estimate of how likely something is to occur.

The real likelihood of an event occurring is frequently smaller than the inferred probability. This is because betting odds include the bookmaker’s profit margin. Bookmakers provide odds that they feel are lower than the real likelihood of anything occurring. This is how they generate money in the long run.

The implied probability of an event is an important calculation – possibly even more so than the odds displayed on a bookmaker’s website.


We will calculate implied probability from fractional odds of 9/1 in this case.

Simply divide the number on the right by the total of both integers and multiply by 100. The number on the left-hand side is not needed to calculate implied probability.

As a result, if something has fractional odds of 9/1, it has a 10% implied chance.

Here are some more examples.

5.1% is equivalent to 1 divided by 6 times by 100.

40% is equivalent to 6/4 – 4 divided by 10, then multiplied by 100.

66.7% is equivalent to 1/2 – 2 divided by 3, then multiplied by 100.


In this example, we will use decimal odds of 10.00 to determine implied probability.

To do so, divide one by the decimal odds and multiply by 100…

As a result, if something has decimal odds of 10.00, it has a 10% implied chance.

Here are a few more instances.

6.01 divided by 6.00 and multiplied by 100 is 16.7%

40% is equivalent to 2.50 – 1 divided by 2.50 and multiplied by 100.

Are decimal odds or fractional odds better?

If you questioned a normal punter, most would probably prefer fractional odds simply because that is what they are used to betting with. Both odds work well enough, but there are some advantages to each.

While fractional odds are fine in most situations, when it comes to matched betting, decimal odds are the obvious winner. They are considerably easier to compare at a glance, which is crucial in the matched betting procedure. Betting exchanges also display their odds as decimals, so it makes logical sense to use decimal odds in most situations.

How do you convert fractional odds to decimal odds?

In general, you should not need to manually convert fractional odds to decimals. You will instead be able to pick your selection on the bookmaker’s website.

However, here is how it is done, just in case you have to convert fractional odds to decimal odds for any reason.

To convert 6/1 to a decimal, divide the left-hand side number by the right-hand side number and add one.

So 6÷1=6 and 6+1=7.00.

Here are a few more examples:

10/1: 10÷1-10 and 10+1-11.00

6/4: 6÷4=1.5 and 1.5+1=2.50

2/5: 2÷5=0.4 and 0.4+1=1.40

How do you convert decimal odds to fractional odds?

Just like the other way around, you are unlikely to have to convert betting odds from decimal to fractional. Let’s take a look at how to do this, just in case an unexpected situation arises.

To convert decimal odds to fractional odds, multiply by (x – 1.00) and multiply by 1.

6.00 odds, for example, 6.00 – 1.00 = 5.00 = 5/1

As in this more difficult example, you may need to simplify the fraction.

5.50 odds: 5.50 – 1.00 = 5.5/1 = 11/2

Where can I find fixed odds?

Baseball, football, hockey, and horse racing are among the sports with set odds.

What do betting odds mean?

Betting odds are the odds of a given team winning or certain events occurring.

What happens if you place a bet with negative odds?

If you bet on a team with negative odds, the payoff will be smaller than if you bet on a team with positive odds.

What are moneyline odds?

Money line odds, often known as American odds, are popular in, you guessed it, America. They are shown as positive or negative numbers, such as +500 and -200.

You will not need to utilise them for matched betting, but they are worth discussing because you will almost certainly come across them as an option at some time.

A rating of +500 indicates that you will gain £500 for every £100 bet. A -200 number indicates that you must invest £200 in order to win £100.

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