Betting Odds Explained

If you are thinking about trying your hand at betting, the first thing that you need to understand is how betting odds work. An understanding is essential as it translates into how likely or unlikely a particular result is expected to be, and how much you could stand to gain. It can be confusing for the novice, so this brief guide will explain all you need to know. 
Placing a bet, whether it is on the outcome of a football match or some other sporting event, will give you the chance to win some money if your prediction comes true. Of course, for any specific event, there could be several different outcomes.

What are betting odds? 

Let’s take the simple analogy of rolling a dice. With each roll, there will be one of six results depending on which side of the dice is showing upwards when it comes to rest. To put this into betting odds, there will be a 16.67% chance that a particular prediction will come true. 
Many countries express probability in the form of a fraction; for example, 4/7. Some websites or sportsbooks also show odds as decimals. Read on, and we will explain further.

How the formulae work and what they mean 

If you see betting odds that are separated by a diagonal line, i.e. 10/1 they are fractional odds. To explain how they work, it is easier to substitute letters. So, in our example, 10/1 becomes A/B. The formula to calculate the probability is: The probability as a % = B/(A+B). If we now revert to putting numbers back in, here is what you get: 

  • 9/1 or 1/ (9+1) = 0.10 – this indicates a 10% probability of the outcome being correct
  • 4/1 or 1/ (4+1) = 0.20 – this indicates a 20% probability of the outcome being correct
  • 1/1 or 1/ (1+1) = 0.50 – this indicates a 50% probability of the outcome being correct
  • 1/4 or 4/ (1+4) = 0.80 – this indicates an 80% probability of the outcome being correct

Okay, we are getting there. Now, when you see a fractional bet, you can calculate what it means in terms of percentage probability. Now, let’s see what it means in terms of how much money you might win.

Translating fractional betting odds into money won

The odds permit you to work out the amount of money you will win if you place a bet at those odds. For simplicity, we are using an example bet of $1. 

  • For every $1 bet at 9/1, you will win $9 plus your stake money back
  • For every $1 bet at 4/1, you will win $4 plus your stake money back 
  • For every $1 bet at 1/1, you will win $1 plus your stake money back

It is slightly different for “odds-on” bets or bets where the denominator is bigger than the top number. i.e. 1/4. In this type of instance:

  • For every $4 bet at 1/4, you will win $1 plus your stake money back

In other words, you stand to win less than your stake money, but you still get the stake money back too.

Translating decimal betting odds into money won 

When you come across betting odds shown as decimals, this is how they translate: 

  • 9.0 is calculated as 9 x $1 stake minus the stake or 9 x 1 = 9 minus 1 = you win $8
  • 4.0 is calculated as 4 x $1 stake minus the stake or 4 x 1 = 4 minus 1 = you win $3
  • 2.5 is calculated as 2.5 x $1 stake minus the stake or 2.5 x 1 = 2.5 minus 1 = you win $1.5 
  • 1.25 calculates as 1.25 x $1 stake minus the stake or 1.25 x 1 = 1.25 minus 1 = you win $0.25

Some people find decimal odds easier to work with than fractional. It’s a personal choice, but now you know how they both work. 

Increasing the passion 

Sports betting is becoming more and more popular as sports’ fans like to try using their sporting knowledge to earn themselves some money. What a lot of people find, including those with a passion for football, is that their enjoyment becomes even more intense when their predictions come true.