In sports betting, bookmakers offer odds to reflect their opinions on the probability of a result occurring. Bookmakers present odds to customers to provide them with the idea of how much they will win if placing a certain amount of money on a sports bet. On first look, odds are difficult to understand. They are probably the most complicated facet of betting to grasp for people new to the market, as they are presented in a range of different ways and with a huge spectrum of values.
Betting allows customers to guess the result of a certain event and money will be won if the match or race ends up in the way the bettor predicted. Bookmaker’s odds are the means that decides the probability of something happening – and as a result decides how much money will be won in return for predicting a sports market correctly.
A large amount of research goes into deciding odds for matches in the football market, with matters such as previous form and records considered, along with injuries, suspensions, quality of opposition and match objectives all being considered. Different bookmakers may offer slightly different odds on the same match but that is completely common, and a big part of the enjoyment of betting is finding the best potential return on a certain market.
Of course, working out how much will be made from betting a certain amount on a specific bet is now far easier to find out with the growth of online and mobile betting, with built in bet slip calculators offering the potential returns on any bet once the stake is entered; whether that be in fractional or decimal format.
While ‘American odds’ (Moneyline odds) are popular across the pond, in the United Kingdom bookmakers tend to distinguish between decimal and fractional odds only. Fractional odds are the more popular style of the two and are presented as just that; fractions. The title of decimals also speaks for itself, and most bookmakers will offer on their websites an option to switch between the two different styles to suit the user’s preference.
Fractional odds are the most common way to display betting odds in the United Kingdom and have been used most frequently in the history of British betting.
They appear in the format as, for example 2/1. The slash in between the two numbers is expressed as ‘to,’ or ‘two to one’ taking the whole number into account. The first number in the fraction will tell you how much you will win relative to the second number in the fraction. So, taking the 2/1 price as the example, a £10 bet at those odds would mean the bettor would win back two times that amount if the bet was successful. However, fractional odds don’t take into account your stake as a return, so in addition to the winnings the original stake is also added to the return. In another example, betting £10 at odds of 6/4 would mean one and a half times the original stake would be earned back in addition to the stake.
Decimal odds are the slightly less popular version of the presentation of odds and they can often be found in the settings of certain websites, if looking to change from the fractional display.
However, they are far easier to understand than the fractional type. Simply multiplying the stake by the decimal number of the betting market chosen will give the possible return amount, including the original stake. For example, betting £5 at decimal odds of 5.00, £25 will be the winning return if the bet is successful.
American odds are also sometimes referred to as money lines, but are never used in UK betting markets.
These odds are based on a $100 stake and give both positive and negative numbers as outcomes. A positive number (+150) means that that amount of money will be won when a $100 stake is placed. However, negative odds (-150) mean that in order to win $100, the number in the bracket needs to be staked.
Odds in British betting markets are either presented in fractional or decimal format and can be difficult to get to grips with. Below is a table comparing the fractional and decimal equivalent of odds ranging from 100/1 to 1/100.
Betting calculators are a huge advantage nowadays with online betting, with such a wide variety of odds the table helps to put into perspective the order they each rank in.
|8/1||9||1/1 (evens)||2 (evens)||1/16||1.0625|