Betting Odds Explained - A Beginners Guide Cover

Betting Odds Explained - A Beginners Guide

by Oddspedia Experts
Reading time 8 min
Basic knowledge of odds along with an understanding of calculating them is something sports bettors need. Betting odds usually reflect your chance of winning and the amount you can win if you place a wager. They are somewhat confusing at first, so here at Oddspedia, our in house experts have compiled a guide for you. This article - betting odds explained will enable you to make informed choices when gambling.
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What Are Betting Odds and How Do Odds Work?

When you start betting, be it sports betting, casino gambling, or other types, you need to have a full understanding of betting odds. It is absurd to place a wager without understanding the different types of betting odds and how to interpret and read the different formats.

If you understand the basics revolving around betting odds, you will have a good time placing wagers.

Your potential wins may also be greater compared to those who are yet to understand how betting odds work. Let us now look into different types of betting odds and what they entail.

The Different Types of Betting Odds Explained

There are three major betting odds types:

  • Fractional Odds
  • Moneyline Odds
  • Decimal Odds

The types of betting odds represent a similar thing, and there is no difference in payouts. It means that the chance of the event occurring remains the same but when you read betting odds it appears in a different format ie odds type.

Decimal Odds Format - European Odds

Decimal odds are popular with online sportsbooks in Europe, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. They are easy to understand, and you can easily manoeuvre them. You can easily spot the underdogs and favourites when looking at the numbers.

How to Read Decimal Odds

Decimal odds usually represent the amount you can win for each dollar you wager. The number will represent the payout instead of the profit for decimal odds. Importantly, the inclusion of the stake money is also a factor in the decimal numbers, so there is no need to add to your stake again. You can now calculate the total payout easily.

Calculating Decimal Odds and Payouts Example

To calculate your potential return use the formula below:

  • Total payout equals decimal odd number multiplied by the stake

For example, a betting website has priced the presidential election candidates. Decimals odds are for the candidates, and they will be visible as (the best example is the U.S. elections in 2020):

  • Donald Trump - 3.00
  • Joe Biden - 1.40

The numbers indicate what you can win for each dollar you stake. Thus, if you bet $10 on Donald Trump, you can win $10 multiplied by 3, which is $30. The amount has included your $10 stake, and your profit will be $20.

If you decided to place a wager for Joe Biden to win, the payout would be 1.4 X $10 if you staked $10. The return would be $14. Minus the money, you staked your profit would be $4.

You should review each bookmaker's prices for every candidate or team. The probability of Joe Biden winning was higher. The higher the decimal odds, the lesser the chance of winning.

Fractional Odds Format - British Odds

Fractional odds are common among Irish and UK bookmakers and appear with a hyphen or a slash, for example, 5-1 or 5/1. The odds are then announced as five to one. Fractional odds are popular with famous bookmakers globally, and most gamblers around the world prefer them.

How to Read Fractional Odds

Fractional odds mean that you can win $6 against each $1 that you wager. You would receive your dollar back if you wagered $1. The ratio represents the profit won to the initial bet. For $1, you will receive $5 if the odds were 5/1. The total payout will be %6. Thus, if you placed $100 as a wager amount, you will receive a $600 payout of which $500 is profits, and $100 is the stake.

Fractional odds mean that you can win $6 against each $1 that you wager. You would receive your dollar back if you wagered $1. The ratio represents the profit won to the initial bet. For $1, you will receive $5 if the odds were 5/1 and the total payout will be %6. Thus, if you placed $100 as a wager amount, you will receive a $600 payout of which $500 is profits, and $100 is the stake.

Calculating Fractional Odds and Payouts Example

To calculate your potential return use the formula below:

  • Total payout equals to (numerator/denominator) x stake + stake
  • The numerator/denominator can be 30/5

If a betting website is using fractional odds, a suitable example of how the odds would be is as follows:

  • Houston Rockets: 8/3
  • Golden State Warriors: 9/10

The Golden State Warriors are the favourites in this case, and the odds on the Houston Rockets will be longer. You can win $9 for every $10 you stake on the Golden State Warriors. If you wager $100, you stand to win $90. The total payout would be $190.

American (Moneyline) Odds Format

American odds are also referred to as Moneyline odds. They are popular in the U.S., and they are usually accompanied by the minus (-) sign, indicating the amount you are supposed to stake if you want to win a certain amount.

How To Read American Odds

The odds meant for the underdogs will be accompanied by a positive (+) sign. The amount you will win for the money you have staked will be indicated. In both instances, you will get the initial amount you placed as a wager back and the amount you have won. The only difference when it comes to Moneyline odds is that the odds for the underdog and favourite will widen, similar to the probability of winning for the favourites.

Calculating American Odds And Payouts Example

To understand how to calculate American odds, it is advisable to use an example. For instance, there is a basketball game that has the following odds:

  • Duke: +585
  • Syracuse: -760

The bookmaker has placed an odd of +585 for Duke, and it indicates the bookmaker has set a lower probability of at least 15% for Duke winning the match. If you place a stake of $100, you can win $585 if Duke wins the game.

When you bet on Syracuse to win, and they are showing as the favourite, you will win $100 when you wager $760. The total payout will be $860. There is a huge difference between the odds, and there is a high probability that Syracuse will win and advance to the next level of the tournament.

Other Odds Types

There are other odd types besides British and European odds, and they include:


Malaysian odds are among the ways to correspond the relationship between your potential profit and stake on a certain bet. The odds will depend on local customs, and they are similar to the local language to some extent. When you show up in a nation that speaks another language, the people may fail to understand you as you inquire about how odds work.

Hong Kong

They are also known as HK odds and are among the simplest formats. The minus (-) and plus (+) symbols are used when expressing the relationship between the potential profit and the initial stake. For example, Team C has +1.25, Team D has -1.25, and the draw is +0.25.


They are also known as Indo odds, and they usually represent the likelihood of something taking place. They’re somewhat similar to favourable American odds for those yet to understand how odds work. The odds are divided by 100. For instance, odds of +120 will be expressed as 1.20.

What Is Implied Probability?

Besides looking into what is implied probability, we will also look into how to calculate implied probability. When it comes to sports betting odds, implied probabilities are defined as converting actual betting odds to a percentage considering the bookmaker margin when expressing the likelihood of the outcome taking place.

You need to understand how to calculate the probability of an event taking place.

How To Convert Odds And Probabilities?

The math underlying gambling and being able to read betting odds will help determine whether a wager is worth it. Firstly, you need to understand that there are different types of odds, and they represent different formats to present the probability of an event. For American odds, we have positive or negative odds. After understanding the implied probability for the outcome, you can make a decision about whether or not to place a wager.

So far, so good you now have an overview of how betting odds work.

Convert Odds To Probability

If you want to convert odds to probability, you should put the number at the bottom on top and then divide the sum of the bottom and top numbers. If you have 5/6, it means the conversion will be as follows:

  • (5+6) = 6/11= 54.5%

As you calculate sports betting odds and the likelihood that the other team stands to win, your potential winnings will be higher since there is more value.

If you bet using various formats such as decimal, it is easier since you will just divide decimal odds by 1 to get the probability. It is easier than using traditional odds in sports betting, and you stand to win in the process. Also, you will have an easy time understanding how odds work.

Some people may be curious as you calculate probability since they do not understand that you want to place a successful bet. They may refer to you as a geek. Nonetheless, what matters most is that you understand how betting odds work.

Fractional to Decimal Formula

The line in a fraction that usually separates the denominator and numerator is rewritten using the division symbol. You will divide the numerator and the denominator. If need be, you can use a calculator, and you’ll get your answer as a decimal.

Fractional to American Formula

For a fraction greater than one, the formula will be (fractional value) *100, and you’ll get American odds. If the fraction is less than one, the formula will be -100/ (fractional value), and you’ll get American odds.

Decimal to Fractional Formula

To convert a decimal to a fraction, you need to place a decimal number over the place value. For instance, for 0.5, the five is in the tenth place, and we’ll place 5 over 10 to create an equivalent fraction. In some instances, you may need to simplify the fraction.

Decimal to American Formula

If the decimal odds are 2.0 or greater, the formula will be (decimal odds-1) *100, and you’ll get American odds. If the decimal odds are between 1.01 and 1.99, the formula will be -100/ (decimal odds-1), and you’ll get American odds.

American to Decimal Formula

To convert American odds to decimal, for the positive ones, the formula is (American odds/ 100) + 1 = decimal odds. The formula is 1- (100/ -American odds) + decimal odds for the negative American odds.

American to Fractional Formula

The formula is American odds / 100 = fractional odds for the positive odds. The formula is -100 / - American odds= fractional odds for the negative American odds.

Discover the Best Odds With Oddspedia

There is more to sports other than cheering on your preferred team. You can also earn money when you place a winning bet. If you are interested in gambling, you need to sign up with an online sportsbook with a good reputation. And have an in-depth understanding of sports betting, and you will have an easy time calculating your potential winnings. As you take time to learn about sports betting, you can go ahead and also look into betting exchanges with the help of Oddspedia.

Oddspedia issues a comparison, and it aids in your betting experience using different betting tools such that you will have an easy time getting to know your potential wins, and you stand to win after placing a wager since you already know how odds work. Also, your winning rate will be higher with the right knowledge, especially if you understand implied probability.

How To Start Betting?

Everything You Need To Know In 5 Easy Steps!

How To Start Betting?
Pick A Highly Rated Bookie

Find the right bookmaker for you and sign up.

Fund Your Account

Make a deposit with the payment method you prefer. Consider responsible gambling features and bankroll management.

Claim Your Bonus

Many betting sites have a welcome bonus or free bet, which you can claim after making the first deposit. *never forget to read the small print!

Choose An Event To Bet On

Find an event you are interested in, select a betting market that appeals to you the most and "click" on the odds.

Start Betting

Go to the bet slip and input the details of your desired bet and confirm the wager.


With betting odds explained, you have a chance to maximise your potential winnings since you understand the odds work. Also, you can take advantage of the tools available at Oddspedia, and have a smooth time placing wagers without worrying about making losses. Considering that you now have a good understanding of the odds work.

Betting Odds Explained - FAQ

Which Is The Most Used Odds Format?

Many bookmakers widely use the decimal format for betting odds around the globe. You can check out different bookmakers to ascertain these claims.

🏆 How To Calculate Potential Winnings?

You calculate your potential winnings using the amount you want to stake against the betting odds issued by the bookmaker. If the winning team, according to you, has odds of 2.4 and you’re willing to stake $100, the total payout is $240. The payout will be dependent on the betting odds.

💶 Who Sets The Betting Odds For Sports Betting?

The bookmakers set the betting odds depending on various factors, such as the team's history.

💳 What Are Fair Odds?

Fair odds are your chance of winning when the sportsbook fails to add “vig,” which is the sportsbook cut when you place a wager.

🤔 Who Offers The Best Odds?

This is debatable as different bookmakers make the best odds per sport. However, you can use Oddspedia to compare and find the best odds.

Which Are the Easiest to Read Betting Odds?

The easiest odds to read are decimal odds. They are straightforward, and you do not need to perform a lot of math to determine the total payout depending on the stake.

🤔 What Do Odds of 20 to 1 Mean?

Odds of 20 to 1 mean that for each $1, you’ll get $20. For instance, if you wager $3, the total payout, if you win, is $63, of which the profit is $60, and the wager amount is $3.
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This article was written by our team of betting experts, any contributing references are noted below.
Last updated 23/08/2022
  1. Wikipedia contributors. (2022d, January 30). Odds. Wikipedia.
  2. What are betting odds. (2022). Https://Help.Smarkets.Com. Retrieved February 7, 2022, from
  3. Cronin, B. (2019). Betting odds explained: How do odds work? Pinnacle.
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