Sports Betting Odds Explained: Everything You Need to Know

If you want to do some betting on your favourite sport (and make money while you’re at it), the first thing you need to understand is how odds work. 

Luckily, our guide is here to help! 

We have all the sports betting odds explained so you don’t have to figure them out on your own.

Let’s get started!

How Does Sports Betting Work?

Sports betting is one of the fastest-growing segments of the UK gambling industry, generating a gross gambling yield of £2.4 billion up to March 2020.

Put in the simplest terms, sports betting involves placing money on a potential outcome of a sporting event. It may be as simple as picking the winner in a football match or something more complicated as guessing by how many goals a team will win. 

The payout of a bet is determined using a combination of the betting odds and the stake. The higher the odds, the bigger the win. On the contrary, the odds will be lower if an outcome is more likely to happen. 

Odds in Sports Betting Explained: How To Read Betting Odds?

There are three ways betting odds are represented. All of them show the likelihood of an event or events happening, but they are presented in a different format. The good news is that odds are represented the same way for each sport, so whether you are looking at basketball betting odds or football betting odds, the principle is the same. 

In other words, once you are familiar with how odds work, placing a wager is quite simple.

However, if you still have queries about sports betting, we have an insightful guide that will teach you everything you need to know. 

Here is a closer look at the three main types of betting odds.

Here is a closer look at the three main types of betting odds. 

American Odds Explained 

American, or moneyline, odds, are most commonly used in the US. 

They appear as negative or positive numbers. The odds for the favourite team are given as a negative number, showing how much you would need to bet to win £100. On the other hand, a positive number goes with the underdog and indicates how much you would win for every £100 staked. 

For example, you see this at your favourite sportsbook:

Pittsburgh Steelers -500

Chicago Bears +300 

This means that if you want to win £100, you have to bet £500 on the Steelers. The same is with any amount you bet; a £50 bet could get you £10 and so on. 

If you bet £100 on the Bears, you stand to win £300, i.e. £400 plus the original stake. The potential win is bigger, but the chances of it paying out are lower. 

Decimal Odds Explained 

You’ll find these odds as decimal, digital, or continental, widely favoured in Europe, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. They are the simplest odds to learn and work with since the favourite and the underdog are easily recognized from the numbers. 

Decimal odds show the total amount you win, including the £1 stake. This makes the total payout calculation easier, as you don’t have to add up the stake and odds.

For instance, the showdown between Spain and Switzerland during the 2020 Euro Cup had these odds:

Spain 1.70

Switzerland 3.20

This means that if you bet £20 on Spain to win, you could earn a total of £34 (20 times 1.70). If you place the same wager on Switzerland, you might get £64. 

Looking at these odds, it’s clear that the team with the higher number is less likely to win, thus the earnings are higher. 

The team with the lower decimal is more likely to come out on top, and hence the payout is smaller. 

Fractional Odds Explained 

Also known as British, UK, or traditional odds, fractional odds are the British and Irish bettors’ favourite but are also used by some of the biggest sportsbooks worldwide. 

You will recognize them as two positive numbers separated by a slash. Assuming you’re looking at a 6/1 odds, this means that you would get £6 for every £1 bet while also receiving your pound back. Consequently, if you bet £10, the total amount you win will be £70.

Let’s take a look at this example. 

Bournemouth 5/1

Manchester United 1/5 

Putting 20 quid on Bournemouth to win means you get a profit of £100, i.e. 5 times 20 divided by one, plus your initial stake. If you back Man United, you could get £6 for a wager of 5 pounds, or five times one divided by 5.

Touching Down

There it is, sports betting odds explained in the simplest form possible. It may seem a bit tricky at first, but once you figure out how they work, you will have no problem placing bets and even converting one format to the other. If that seems like too much work, you’re in luck. Most of the best online sportsbooks let users choose the way betting odds are presented on the site, ensuring you pick the one you are most comfortable with.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *