If you are new to sports wagering, one of the preliminary things you should do is take out time to study how betting odds work. Wagering odds show your picks’ chance of winning in the eyes of the sportsbook and how much cash you stand to win if your bet wins. Although betting odds may appear confusing at first, this guide will provide you with everything you need to know.

What are betting odds?

Sportsbooks compile betting odds as a way to show what they think is the likelihood of a sporting event or events occurrences. They usually represent these odds as either decimals (4.0) or fractions (3/1). Wagering odds will apply to any event that sportsbooks are taking bets on, from football, horse racing, basketball, and boxing to cricket.

Probability explained

At the most basic level, betting offers players the chance to predict the result of a certain event. If their prediction is accurate, they will win a cash prize. On the other hand, if their prediction is wrong, they will lose money. For any given event there are a certain number of expected outcomes.

In order to make money out of sports betting, players have to understand the difference between probability and odds. Although the two are basically connected, odds are not necessarily a direct sign of the chance of an event occurring or not occurring. Probability is basically how likely something is to occur. If the different US sportsbooks have an outcome to a sporting event with a high probability, then it is more likely to occur than not. If the outcome is judged to have a low probability, then it is less likely to take place than not.

How betting odds work

The basic principle behind how betting odds work is pretty straightforward. Popular ports betting sites put together odds to show players what they believe is the likelihood of an outcome. However, things can slightly get complicated by the time you encounter the different types of betting odds. For this simple reason, it is critical to be familiar with each of them.

Types of betting odds

There are basically three types of betting odds, American-style betting odds, decimal-style wagering odds, and UK betting odds. These three types of wagering odds work pretty much the same way, the only difference is just the different ways of showing the actual odds for any particular bet. To help punters understand the three odds formats and how to read betting odds, we have discussed each of them in detail below.

American style betting odds

Moneyline odds are also referred to as American odds. This is the betting odd type that is popular among the United States sportsbooks and punters. Sporting betting brands display the American-style betting odds as either a positive or a negative number. A positive number shows how much an accurate bet of $200 would win. The negative number on the other hand expresses how much players would need to wager to win $200.

If betting sites offer odds of +150, it implies that a $200 bet could return $300 in winnings, plus the original stake of $200. However, if sportsbooks offer -150, it means that bettors would have to wager $150 to return $100 in winnings, plus the original bet of $150. The easiest method to calculate the potential return from American style wagering odds is to use the formula below when they are positive.

Stake x (odds/100) = potential profit

For negative American style betting odds, use this formula: stake/(odds/100) = potential profit.

Decimal style betting odds

In the past, decimal odds were usually associated with Australia, Canada, and mainland Europe. However, they are gradually becoming the standard in online sportsbooks except for most sports betting sites in the United States. The decimal style betting odds are popular for one obvious reason, which is they’re the most straightforward of the three styles. They are presented as single positive numbers, usually in two decimal places.

The number informs the bettors of how much the entire payout will be, including the initial bet for a unit staked. For instance, a winning bet at 2.22 odd will bring a total of $2.22 for every $1 wagered. Also, a winning bet at 3.50 odd will bring back a total of $30.50 for every $10 wagered. Bookies express even money bet as 2.00.

The math needed to figure out the potential return when using decimal style betting odds is very straightforward. The formula is stake x odds = potential return. Also, to figure out the potential profit just minus one from the odds. Here is the formula: stake x (odds – 1) = potential profits.

British betting odds

Fractional odds are the traditional style used in the UK, although the decimal odds style is gradually becoming the norm. At a start calculating potential payout with this style can be a bit tricky, but the fundamental principle is not as complicated as it might appear. As with the American betting odds style, British wagering odds show how much potential profits players can bag.

As the name implies, all online gambling sites display these odds formats as fractions. Common examples are 2/1 and 10/1. 2/1 means two to one, and 10/1 refers to ten to one. With 2/1 players can win two units for every one unit wagered. On the other hand, punters can win 10 units for every one unit wagered. 1/1 is even money, meaning that players can win one unit for every unit wagered. From the explanation above, it is clear that these odds formats are not as complicated as they appear to be.

However, things can get a bit complicated as you move on because the British wagering odds include examples like 5/2, 11/10, and even 6/4. The calculations involved are not so basic. With 6/4 punters can win six units for every four units wagered, which is equivalent to 1.5 units for a unit wagered. Also, with 11/10, bettors can win 11 units for every 10 units wagered, or 1.1 units for a unit wagered. Each time the first number is bigger than the second, it’s called odds against, and they are equivalents of the positive American betting odds. They are equivalent because the potential win is bigger than the amount wagered. There are also odds on, and they’re equivalents of the negative American betting odds style.

+200 betting odds explained

Apart from the American style wagering odds, British wagering odds, and decimal style wagering odds, there are also +200 betting odds formats. The +200 wagering odds formats are similar to the moneyline odds. They highlight the amount punters would win if they had staked $100. Staking $100 on +200 odds will return a profit of $200 and a total payout of $300 if the bet wins.


How do sportsbooks come up with betting odds?

Oddsmakers at sportsbooks come up with betting odds by using on power ranking, computer algorithms, win totals, consultations and futures to determine the wagering odds. After consulting their power rankings and computer models, oddsmakers will put together a rough estimate of what the odds should be. Then, from there the oddsmakers constantly adjust the line based on certain changes, including head-to-head matchups, injuries, home-field advantage, and other factors. For example, If a club will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back and did not get in until 2:30 a.m, that will be factored into the odds.

Do all sportsbooks offer the same betting odds?

No, all sportsbooks do not offer the same betting odds. As we have already mentioned, nearly every bookie has its oddsmakers. Hence, each sports betting operator sets their odds based on what they feel is okay for their players. Some even use bigger odds to attract more players and to keep existing customers as well. In short, sports gaming odds will vary from sportsbook to sportsbook. So when choosing a sportsbook, ensure that you pick the betting site with the best betting odds. You can always read through our reviews to find one.

Should I choose negative or positive odds?

To choose negative or positive betting odds is down to personal preference. The choice of odds to choose usually depends on players' gaming goals and the game's surrounding circumstances. When it comes to sports betting, there is no one particular bet type or odd that is better than the others. You just have to carefully run your analysis to ensure that you are taking a calculated risk each time you wager. You can always visit this site for good sports betting tips and strategies. We are here to make sure that our readers have the best sports betting experience.