For those of you interested in online betting, understanding betting odds can be a daunting task. However, this needn’t be the case, as a basic understanding of how odds are calculated should allow even the beginner to understand and implement them in their betting activities.
What are Odds?
In essence, odds are a reflection of the likelihood of a certain outcome taking place in a specific event.
“What on earth does that mean?“, you might ask.
In every event where there is betting involved, all outcomes have a certain chance of taking place. Odds are simply an interpretation of those chances, and the odds presented by bookmakers merely reflect such chances to the best of the bookmaker’s abilities, minus the bookmaker’s edge. Most online bookmakers offer up to three different choices on how you want to view your betting odds: Decimal, Fractional or American.
Decimal odds are commonly used in Europe and are therefore sometimes referred to as European odds.
To convert a chance into decimal odds just put the probability as a percentage and divide it into 100.
100/%Chance = decimal odds
So, if you believe that something has a 50% chance of winning, then:
100/50 = 2 or odds of 2.0.
Say then that you want to place a bet on a selection that has decimal odds of 2.0. If you win, for every dollar that you stake you will receive 2 dollars back. Stake $100 and you will receive back $200. This amount received back includes your original stake in the odds.
The more traditional fractional odds are often still used in the UK, and can therefore also be referred to as British odds, UK odds or traditional odds. These odds quote the net total that will be paid out to the bettor should he win, relative to his initial stake. Using the 50% chance example listed above again, the fractional odds equivalent of 2.0 are 1/1 which is also knows as evens or even money.
For example, you want to place a bet that has odds of 1/1. If you win, for every dollar you stake you will win $1 and you will receive your initial $1 stake back, giving you a total return of $2. If you place a bet of $100 at 1/1, then you will win $100 and have your $100 stake returned, giving a total return of $200.
Also known as moneyline odds, these odds are favoured by US bookmakers as their name suggests. These odds show either a negative or a positive figure when quoting the odds of a certain outcome taking place.
If US Odds are indicated with a + sign then they show the amount you would win for a $100 stake. If there is a – sign then they show how much you need to stake to win $100.
So if you are betting on an event which has decimal odds of 2, or fractional odds of 1/1, the US Odds would be +100 (i.e. you would win $100 if you bet $100). If you are betting at decimal odds of 1.5, or fractional odds of 1/2, then the US odds would be -200 (you need to bet $200 in order to win $100 more)
Betting is often known as a sucker’s game and with good cause. The sheer chance of any outcome taking place in an event and the difficulty in predicting which outcome will occur, as well as the bookmaker’s inherent edge in all betting events, often make it extremely difficult for individuals to come out with a long-term profit from their betting activities.
However, if you are interested in online sports betting and do think that you have what it takes to profit, then it’s important that you educate yourself first before starting to bet. This will give you the best possible chance of coming out ahead in the long run.
Find bookmakers that offer odds with the least edge and therefore present the best value to you. Also, take advantage of bookmaker’s sometimes generous free bets on offer, as these can increase your profit if used wisely.
Finally, do in-depth study on the event on which you wish to bet. Read statistics, past performances and anything at all that could have an impact on the result. Being informed in this way will allow you to make the best possible choice, which will in turn give you the best possible chance of winning on the day.