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TOPIC: interpreting betting odds
interpreting betting odds 1 month 3 weeks ago #2368
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п»їHow to Read Odds.
Understanding how to read odds is crucial to betting on sports. This guide will teach you how to read odds for moneyline, total, and spread bets. We will be looking at American, decimal, and fractional odds, which are three different ways of writing the same odds.
What are Odds?
Odds represent the likelihood of an outcome occurring. In sports betting, each team is assigned odds that represent the likelihood of them winning the game. When the odds for two teams are even, meaning 1 to 1, it means that each team is equally as likely to win the game. If Team A is assigned 2 to 1 odds, it means Team B is twice as likely to win. If Team A is assigned 10 to 1 odds, it means Team B is ten times as likely to win.
Odds are typically expressed with a positive or negative sign in front of them and are not written as 2 to 1 or 3 to 1.
How do Plus and Minus Odds Work?
In a betting line between two teams, the team expected to win, or favorite, will have minus or negative odds. This means for every dollar wagered, you will earn less than a dollar if your bet wins. The team expected to lose, or underdog, will have positive or plus odds. This means for every dollar you wager, you will gain more than a dollar if your bet wins.
The table below shows an NHL game where the Boston Bruins are favorited to beat the St. Louis Blues.
American Odds.
American odds are what you will see displayed on almost every sportsbook. Just like the metric system, dates, and miles per hour (mph), Americans do things differently when it comes to betting odds. Take a look at this standard slate of betting odds from for an MLB game.
The first thing you will notice when reading odds will be that:
Odds have either a plus or minus in front of them Odds are in terms of 100.
Betting Odds are written in terms of 100 as an industry standard. The easiest way to think of the plus and minus signs is as follows. If it is a plus, you will receive more than a $100 payout on a $100 bet. If it is a minus, you will have to bet more than $100 to win a $100 payout.
Thankfully, you can view your potential winnings on each bet before placing it at an online sportsbook. That said, it is beneficial to understand the betting odds.
Moneyline Bets.
Definition of bet: A moneyline bet is a wager on which team will win the game outright. Both the favorite and the underdog are given odds to win the game.
Read the chart below to get started on reading odds for the following game:
Spread Bets.
Definition of bet: A spread bet is a wager on which team will cover the spread or point spread.
Total (Over/Under) Bets.
Definition of bet: A total bet focuses on how many points are scored, regardless of who wins the game. After a total point score has been set, bettors can wager on whether the actual score of the game will be over or under the set point score.
How to read over/under odds for the following game:
New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox Over 7 (-115) Under 7 (-110)
Total Odds How to Read it Over 7 (-115) In order to win $100, you must bet $115 on the overall combined run score to be higher than 7 Under 7 (-110) In order to win $100, you must wager $110 on the total combined run score to be less than 7.
Keep in mind for both spreads and totals that if the game ends in a draw for the bet (Yankees 4, Red Sox 3), then you get your bet back but do not win or lose any additional money.
Fractional Odds.
Fractional odds are used more commonly in parts of Europe, as well as in horseracing. To calculate fractional odds, you have to do some mental division or enter your desired amount and see what the sportsbook shows as your payout! Here are some odds for a fictitious horse race and how you go about reading them.
Decimal Odds.
Decimals odds are used more commonly in parts of Europe. When using decimal odds, the underdog has the higher of the two numbers, while the favorite has the lower of the two. To calculate decimal odds, you can use the following equation.
Return = Initial Wager x Decimal Value.
Example: Let’s say the Arizona Diamondbacks 2.00 are playing the Chicago Cubs 1.90.
Team Your Bet Your Return Your Profit Arizona 2.00 $1 $2 $1 Chicago 1.90 $10 $19.09 $9.09.
A lot of sportsbooks offer a decimal view if you prefer it to the American odds.
In conclusion, American odds are almost always displayed at any United States sportsbook, while fractional and decimal odds are almost always displayed at any sportsbook outside of the United States. Check out our Guides Page to see where sports betting stands in your state!
Why do Odds Matter in Sports Betting?
The odds are essential when selecting a sportsbook because they affect your money. If you choose a sportsbook with poor odds, you will end up wasting money every time you place a bet. Let’s say you bet $10 on the Vikings moneyline at -200 at one sportsbook. If you win your bet, you pocket $5. If you went line-shopping and found the same bet for -175 at another sportsbook, you would pocket $6, $1 more. Understanding betting odds allows you to decipher between good and bad odds.
Look at the odds below offered on five games from the 2019 NFL Season. Odds from five different sportsbooks are shown. You'll notice each sportsbook offers different odds for each game. If you were betting on these games, you would be able to find the best odds for your desired bets. Using this strategy of line shopping will allow you to save money while betting on games.
How to Use Odds to Calculate Implied Probability.
If you think the Chicago Bulls have a 70% chance of winning, then betting on them would be considered a smart bet.
The process is simple, but If you don’t feel like doing the math, use ESPN’s gamecast preview: preview or Action Network’s odds calculator.
Odds FAQ.
What does a negative point spread mean?
How do parlay odds work?
A parlay bet is a group of spread, moneyline, or total bets combined into one bet to increase the payout odds. In order for the parlay to win, each separate bet has to win. Parlay odds offer bigger payouts than normal odds because they are riskier since each individual bet has to win.
Here is an example of a standard parlay payout table based on true odds. What this means is exact payouts are shown for wagers at -110 odds, where a bet of $110 wins you $100.
Parlay Size Payouts 2-Team 2.645/1 3-Team 5.958/1 4-Team 12.283/1 5-Team 24.359/1 6-Team 2.645/1 7-Team 91.424/1 8-Team 175.446/1 9-Team 335.852/1 10-Team 642.082/1 11-Team 1226.701/1 12-Team 2342.793/1.
Methodology.
Sports betting sites were scored across seven core categories to computer an overall rating: total number of sports and bets offered, odds, live betting features, mobile apps, educational resources, ease of use, and current bonuses.


Sports Betting Odds.
Sports Betting Odds Explained.
Many people don’t know how to read or calculate sports betting odds, so below we have done our best on explaining how betting odds work. The most common type of sports betting odds used in North America are the American style odds which we explain below.
American Style Sports Betting Odds.
Most online sportsbooks will list their odds in what is called “American Odds”. There are a couple different versions of sports betting odds, but these American Odds are the most common odds used. Reading and understanding sports betting odds can bet a little confusing to beginners, so we have provided an example below using two NFL football teams:
American Odds.
The number shown in the bracket represents the odds. The American Odds have two components to them, the first being the positive or negative sign, and the second being the number that follows the sign.
The next step is figuring out exactly how much the bet pays out, which is where the numbers in the odds come into play.
A listed odd with a – sign in front of it, such as the -140 in our example above, shows us how much money you would need to wager in order to win $100. So using the -140, this would show us that you would need to bet $140 in order to win $100 in profits. You can easily substitute the $100 bet for a $10 bet by moving the decimal place over one spot, showing us that you would need to wager $14 in order to win $10 in profits.
Examples:
Examples:
Below is an example of NFL betting odds taken from an online betting site.
The great thing about betting online is that the online sportsbooks will do the calculations for you before you place your bet. You can click on the outcome or team you would like to bet on, and then input the amount you wish to wager and it will show you your potential pay out before you confirm your bet.
Ready To Start Betting? MyBookie and BetNow are my two favorite sportsbooks and make betting very easy. You will also get a Free Money Bonus at each sportsbook if you follow either link above.
Decimal Style Sports Betting Odds.
Decimal style odds are used mostly in Europe, and are pretty easy to understand. To calculate the decimal style odds all you will need to do is simply multiply the amount you wish to wager by the decimal odds shown and you will get your payout. For example it may look something like this:
Decimal Odds.
Matchup Odds USA 2.40 Brazil 1.55.
If you wanted to place a $10 wager on the USA at 2.40 you would simply need to multiply your $10 wager by the 2.40 odds (10 x 2.40) to find out that the payout is $24. It is important to realize that with decimal style odds it includes the amount you wagered, so to find out profits you would need to subtract your wager ($24 – $10) to find out your potential payout is $14 in profits.
If you wanted to place a $10 wager on Brazil you would again just multiply $10 x 1.55 to find out that you would win $15.50 total or $5.50 in profits.
Decimal style betting odds are very simple to understand, but you won’t see them displayed in many North American sportsbooks. With that said, most online betting sites will allow you to chose the style of betting odds you want displayed, with American odds set as the default.


How Do Odds Work in Betting?
If you are planning to start betting, be it casino gambling, sports betting, or any other type, it's important to understand the odds. It would be preposterous and absurd to think about placing bets without having a good grip on the main types of betting odds and the ability to read and interpret the various associated formats.
The three main types of betting odds are fractional (British) odds, decimal (European) odds, and American (moneyline) odds. These are simply different ways of presenting the same thing and hold no difference in terms of payouts. This means that a chance (percentage probability) of an event occurring can be converted and presented in any of the aforementioned types of odds.
How Fractional Odds Work.
Fractional odds (aka British odds, UK odds, or traditional odds) are popular among British and Irish bookies. These are typically written with a “slash (/)” or a “hyphen (-),” e.g. 6/1 or 6-1 and announced as “six-to-one.” Fractional odds are used by some of the world’s largest bookmakers, making them the most preferred odds across the globe.
Therefore, the total (potential) return on a stake can be stated as:
For instance, one of the major sports betting websites listed the following fractional odds for futures betting on the team to win the 2017-18 NBA Championship. Below is a selection of the three teams that had the lowest odds of winning.
Golden State Warriors: 10/11 Houston Rockets: 9/4 Cleveland Cavaliers: 7/1.
It can quickly be determined that the Golden State Warriors are the favorites while the odds on Houston and Cleveland winning are longer. That is, one wins only $10 against every $11 wagered on Golden State to be the champions. Meanwhile, one wins $9 against each $4 (i.e. 3.25 times) put at stake for Houston to win, which is a bit less probable. For Cleveland, one wins $7 against each $1 bet.
In the above example, if you bet $100 on Golden State to win, you could make a $90.91 profit [$100 x (10/11)], and could get back your initial stake of $100, resulting in a total payout of $190.91. However, if you wager $100 on Houston to win, you could receive a profit of $225 [$100 x (9/4)], in addition to the $100 initial stake leading to a total payout of $325. The potential profit for a Cleveland win would be even higher, as you could make a profit of $700 [$100 x (7/1)]. With the initial stake of $100 being returned, it would make for a total payout of $800.
How Decimal Odds Work.
Decimal odds (aka European odds, digital odds, or continental odds) are popular in continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. These are a bit easier to understand and work with. The favorites and underdogs can be spotted instantaneously by looking at the numbers.
The decimal odds number represents the amount one wins for every $1 wagered. For decimal odds, the number represents the total payout, rather than the profit. In other words, your stake is already included in the decimal number (no need to add back your stake), which makes its total payout calculation easier.
The total (potential) return on a stake can be calculated as:
For instance, one of the renowned betting websites priced the candidates to win the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. Here, we list the decimal odds for the candidates and the biggest long shot among the candidates listed by the bookmaker.
Donald Trump: 4.00 Joe Biden: 1.3.
These numbers merely represent the amount one could win against each $1 put at stake. Therefore, if one bets $100 on Donald Trump to be re-elected as president, this person could make a total payout of $400 ($100 x 4.00). This amount includes the initial stake of $100, giving a net profit of $300.
Similarly, a bettor could make a total payout of $130 ($100 x 1.3) if they successfully bet $100 on Joe Biden. Deducting $100 from this return gives the bettor the net profit earned.
Reviewing the prices that the bookmaker has set for each candidate, it can be determined that according to the bookmaker, the probability of Biden (favorite) winning the election is higher than that for Trump. The higher the total payout (i.e. the higher the decimal odd), the less probable (and riskier) it is for the listed candidate to win.
How American (Moneyline) Odds Work.
Let’s understand this with the help of an example:
One of the popular betting websites priced the NCAA "Sweet 16" men's basketball game between Duke and Syracuse on March 23, 2018, with the following moneyline odds.
In this matchup, there is a big difference between the two odds, indicating a much higher probability of Duke winning the game and advancing to the next round of the NCAA Tournament.
Key Takeaways.
The three main types of betting odds are fractional (British) odds, decimal (European) odds, and American (moneyline) odds. These are simply different ways of presenting the same thing, and hold no difference in terms of payouts. Fractional odds are the ratio of the amount (profit) won to the stake; Decimal odds represent the amount one wins for every $1 wagered; and American odds, depending on the negative or positive sign, either indicate the amount one needs to wager to win $100 or the amount one would win for every $100 staked.
The Bottom Line.
If you are planning to enter the betting or the gambling world, it is important to be able to understand and interpret all types of odds well. Once you have mastered the three popular types of odds (fractional, decimal, and American), you can move towards a more detailed read on this topic and find out how the house always wins. Please refer to Understanding the Math Behind Betting Odds & Gambling for the conversion between the different formats of odds, the conversion of odds into implied probabilities, and the differences between the true chances of an outcome as well as the odds on display.


How to Read Odds.
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Now that sports betting is legal in many states, most new bettors need to learn how to read odds and how to actually bet on sports.
Plus, you will need to learn about the different types of odds out there. So, keep reading to learn about odds and how to understand them.
What are Betting Odds?
So, the first question to be answered is: just what are betting odds? And, how are odds used to place wagers? These are the two most important factors when using odds to determine how to place your bets.
Betting odds represent the probability of a specific outcome. And, odds show the profit, or return, that you can get if your bet wins. This likelihood of a certain outcome is additionally known as the implied probability .
You need to know what implied probability is if you are going to bet on sports. Then, you can make an informed bet if the probability of an event occurring is larger than a predetermined implied probability.
Implied Probability.
Simply put, converting betting odds into probability is the implied probability . When sportsbooks set the odds on a bet, they first determine the chance of winning that bet. This way, a bookmaker hopes to avoid paying out too much in order to still make a profit.
The Kinds of Odds.
Hopefully, you are following along. Any time you look at sports betting sites, you’ll see odds listed. But, they may not be the same type of odds from sportsbook to sportsbook.
And, that is because there are multiple kinds of accepted odds on sportsbooks. The three most common odds formats are:
Fractional odds Decimal odds American odds.
So, it is really imperative to learn how to read all three kinds of odds. Then, you can understand most of the odds you will find on sportsbooks worldwide. And that will help you place more informed bets no matter the odds!
Fractional Odds Explained.
You will most likely find fractional odds in Europe, not the U.S. Fractional odds are most common in the UK in connection with betting on horse races. These odds are used to demonstrate that a bettor will get their winnings proportional to their wager/stake.
In order to make things more clear, here’s an example to fully show how fractional odds work in practice. Assume the Yankees have fractional odds of 5/2. Put plainly, with each $2 that is bet, a profit of $5 is possible.
To figure the math our for yourself, use this formula:
Profit = (Stake/Denominator) x Numerator.
So, if the stake is $50, then P = (50/2) x 5.
Fractional odds can be a bit complicated to understand compared to other kinds of commonly used odds. But, since they are not the preferred choice in America, you will not encounter them often. However, it is still good to know how they work.
Decimal Odds Explained.
A widely used type of odds worldwide is decimal odds. If you are familiar with a variety of sportsbooks, you will have encountered decimal odds. So, here is an in-depth explanation of what decimal odds mean.
Boiled down, decimal odds illustrate what a bettor would receive in profits for a one-dollar wager. But, it is a little more complicated than it sounds. Below, you will find an example used to explain exactly how decimal odds work.
In this example, the New York Yankees have 2.0 odds to win against the Boston Red Sox. So, for every $1 that is bet on them to win, a bettor will get $2 in profits. That means the bettor will not only get back the $1 stake but also $1 in profits.
For you to be able to figure it out mathematically for yourself, use the equation below.
Profit = (Stake x Odds) – Stake.
If we use the example from above with a $50 stake, that means:
P = (50 x 2) – 50 P = 100 – 50 Profit = $50.
Decimal odds are not all that complicated when it comes down to it. The formula is maybe the easiest to do on your own. Hopefully, you will be an expert at understanding decimal odds from now on!
American Odds Explained.
American odds will also sometimes be referred to as moneyline odds. In the US, naturally, American odds are the most widely used types of odds for sportsbooks. You will see them as either positive or negative odds.
It is easiest to understand American odds if you have an example. So, here is an illustration of American odds in action:
Positive odds represent the profit a bettor will potentially receive if they bet $100 . That means if they placed a wager of $50 on the Red Sox to be the winners, the profit the bettor would get if the Sox win is $75.
Negative odds numerically represent what a bettor would need to bet to win a profit of $100. That means if we use the example from above, they would have to wager $120. Plus, the New York Yankees need to win for the bettor to win a profit of $100.
American odds are very easy to understand when broken down like that. Plus, you will find these odds in most US sportsbooks. So, you should now be able to read most sportsbooks and understand their odds.
How to Figure Out Implied Probability.
Now, you have learned how to understand the most popular kinds of odds. But, that is not all you need to know to place the best bets possible. If you figure out the implied probability of an event, you can place your best bets.
Figuring out the implied probability using positive American odds is pretty simple. To demonstrate this, we will use the same numbers and teams from above. This is how you would calculate the positive odds implied probability:
Implied Probability for Positive Odds.
So, the implied probability that the Boston Red Sox will win is .4 or 40%. Thus, the bookmakers for the sportsbooks will think the Red Sox have a 40% chance of beating the Yankees. You can use these odds to figure out what you want to bet on and how much.
Implied Probability for Negative Odds.
Now, you need to learn how to calculate implied probability when it comes to negative American odds. Luckily, it is as easy as it is for positive odds. We will use the same numbers from the moneyline example. So, the Yankees have -120 odds in this example.
Implied Probability = Negative Odds/(Negative Odds – 100) IP = -120/(-120 – 100) IP = -120/-220 Implied Probability = .5454.
That gives us an implied probability of .5454 or 54.54%. So, the New York Yankees will have a 54.54% chance of being the winners of the game against the Red Sox.
Calculators for Betting Odds.
Well, now that you know the most common odds that are used, you can calculate them yourself. But it always makes sense to check your math using a betting odds calculator. This is to double-check that you have done it correctly.
You do not want to place bets with the wrong odds. Obviously, you want to place the best bet possible. A betting odds calculator can help you make sure you are using the right facts.
Final Tips on How to Read Odds.
So, now that you know how to read and calculate the most popular odds, you should be ready to place your bets. Knowing how to read odds makes it so you can place the most informed bets. Likewise, you will have a better chance of having your bet pay off. Remember, however, that no bet is a sure thing .
And, now that you can calculate your own odds, compare multiple sportsbooks’ odds . Some may have different odds for the same event. But, you can still get a general feel for what the odds are for each outcome.
Finally, now that you are an odds expert, you can calculate implied probability. Implied probability is a great tool for bettors. So, you can be the best at placing bets and hopefully win!




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