How do Odds Work in Sports Betting?

To bet on any kinds of sports it is important to understand how the odds work in betting. You should not consider placing bets before getting a proper idea of the different kinds of sports betting odds and how to interpret these. Bettors choose from fractional/British odds, moneyline/American odds, and decimal/European odds. All these three types of sports betting odds stand for the same thing and have no distinction as far as payouts are concerned. So, a chance or any event happening can be presented as any of these types of odds.

Betting odds have been used by bookies for presenting the likelihood of any sports outcome. As a result, they can be represented as decimals, fractions, and even with plus and minus signs before a number. Betting markets will offer you different outcomes for any event. For instance, if you were to bet on a soccer game, there can be 3 possible outcomes. The match could end in a draw, the home team could win, or the away team could win. Each of these will be assigned a value depending on its probability.

Understanding how odds work in sports betting:

  • Fractional/British odds: These are traditional odds that are most commonly used by Irish and British bookies. These are written down with a hyphen or slash, like 5-1 or 5/1. As bookies all over the world tend to make use of these odds, they are by far the most popular type. Fractional odds of 5-1 means that you get to win $5 for every $1 you betted, besides getting your original wager back.
  • Decimal/European odds: These are referred to as the continental odds and more popular in the European continent, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Working with European odds is simpler because there is not much learning curve involved. Favorites and underdogs are identifiable by taking a look at numbers. Decimal odds stand for the money you will win for every $1 that you have wagered. So, the number displayed represents your total payout and not the profit. It means that the stake has been covered in the decimal itself. So, payout, calculation is not complicated.
  • Moneyline odds: The American odds, as the name suggests, are used most in the US. Here, odds for the favorites are written using a negative/-sign. This shows the amount you must stake in order to win $100. Odds for underdogs are written with a positive/+sign which indicates the amount that you have won for every $100 that has been wagered. You will get your original wager back in both situations, besides the winnings. Differences between odds for underdogs and favorites keep widening as winning probability for favorites keep increasing.

So, to start betting on sports, it is necessary to know these three basic betting odds types. Betting odds will represent probability of an event happening and let you work out your predicted winnings in case your bet wins. One type of odds is not necessarily better than another type. But, there may be a trend of one type becoming more popular. For example, traditionally, it is the fractional odds which are most commonly used in the UK. Decimal odds, on the other hand, are supposed to be simplest to understand.