If you want to make a bet with a sportsbook, you need to get to grips with betting odds and what they represent. Even if you’re a seasoned sports bettor, you may not be fully up to speed on how to interpret betting odds. For example, what do odds of 5/1 represent? If the sports team you want to back is priced at 8/13, what will you get if they win? And what exactly is the difference between decimal and fractional odds?
Understanding how to interpret these numbers is a vital part of sports betting and crucial to your chances of long-term success. Read on to learn about betting odds explained.
Return versus Probability
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about betting odds is that they represent two aspects of betting at the same time: the potential return on a bet and the probability of that bet being successful. For example, let’s say you are thinking about betting on a win for Real Madrid at football betting odds of 8/13. These numbers tell you what probability the sportsbook has assigned to Real Madrid winning and the amount of your return if they win.
In terms of probability, betting odds of 8/13 represent a 61.9 percent chance, or 0.619 if you expressed it as a mathematical probability. When sports bettors weigh up a bet, they think in terms of probability. So, for example, if they think that Real Madrid’s chances of winning the game are greater than 61.9 they would consider making a bet. It’s the same with corner betting, exact score or any other type of bet. Learning to see betting odds as probabilities is a vital aspect of improving your betting technique.
Decimals and Fractionals
In the Real Madrid example used above, the betting odds were written in the old-fashioned fractional odds format. This type of betting odds originated in the United Kingdom and is still widely used in many sports betting scenarios, but is increasingly being replaced by decimal odds, which you may sometimes see described as European odds. Decimals odds can offer greater precision and are easier for newcomers to grasp than Fractional odds.
The main difference between the two is that Fractional odds tell you how much profit you could make, while Decimal odds tell you the total amount of money you could receive. As an example, if you wanted to bet on Barcelona at Decimal odds of 3.0, all you need to do to calculate your return is multiple the Decimal odds by your stake. A successful £50 bet at Decimal odds of 3.0 will return £150, made up of the original £50 stake and profit of £100.
Decimal to Fractional
Some football punters prefer to use Fractional odds because they are more familiar with that format or because they want to be able to calculate their profit without having to deduct their stake quickly. Converting Decimal odds to the Fractional format is relatively easy, though there is a little basic mathematics involved. The process works like this:
- Take away 1 from the Decimal odds figure
- Convert the new number to a fraction
- Simplify the fraction
This is a lot easier than it sounds! For example, let’s say you are looking at Decimal odds of 1.8 but you want to know what these odds are in Fractional terms. This is the calculation:
- 1.80 – 1 = 0.8
- 0.8 = 8/10
- 8/10 = 4/5
It is important to note that because Fractional odds are not as precise as Decimal odds, this method will sometimes throw up some unusual answers such as 265/40 or 76/10, which is one of the reasons why many modern bettors prefer Decimal odds. Many betting mobile apps, like the 888Sport app or the Unibet app, let you choose betwееn decimal and fractional odds.
Fractional to Decimal
The ability to translate Fractional Odds into their Decimal equivalents is another important skill that will help you to sharpen up your betting skills. So how is it done? Let’s say you have found a bet on Chelsea to win a Premier League game at odds of 11/10, but you prefer to use Decimal odds. Many sportsbooks offer a facility that enables you to change between Fractional and Decimal at the click of a button, but learning to do this yourself can help you to increase your familiarity with betting odds and the way they work.
The translation is quite easy to do. Let’s take those Fractional odds of 11/10. To turn it into Decimal odds the starting points is to convert the fractions into a percentage.
- Take your odds of 11/10
- Add the two numbers together, and divide the second number into the total: 10/(11+10) = 0.476
- Convert this to a percentage: 0.476 x 100 = 47.6 %
- Finally divide this number into 100: 100/47.6 = 2.1
So Fractional odds of 11/10 translate to 2.1 as Decimal odds. It’s also worth noting that many free online resources will do the calculations for you if you are in a hurry.
So How Much Did I Win?
If you’ve made a successful bet, you can use betting odds to work out how much you’ve won. This is a relatively simple calculation, but you have to use a different method for Fractional odds or Decimal odds.
Let’s say Arsenal win a Premier League game at Fractional odds of 2/1. If you had made a £20 bet on Arsenal, working out your winnings is easy:
- Stake = £20
- Odds = 2/1
- Profit = Odds x Stake: £20 x 2 = £40
Of course, as you’ve used Fractional odds, this £40 represents the profit you made from the bet and does not include your £20 stake. If you made the same bet using Decimal odds, it would be quoted as 3.0 rather than 2/1. To calculate your profit using Decimal odds involves an additional step:
- Stake = £20
- Odds = 3.0
- Return = Odds x Stake: £20 x 3 = £60
- Profit = Return – Stake: £60 – £20 = £40
With practice, this process will become second nature, and the ability to quickly work out both your return and profit from a bet using betting odds will significantly improve your betting. And if you want to try your new abilities in betting odds, you can do it in some of the top apps for betting on the internet.
Using Odds to Improve Your Betting
Every professional punter and every betting guide you read will tell you the same thing. If you want to be more successful with your betting, it is absolutely vital to record your bets. Failing to record the bets they make is one of the commonest errors made by small stakes or beginner punters, but this simple process, which doesn’t take more than a minute or two at the end of the day, can be a powerful weapon in the fight for profit.
Punters vary in how much information they like to record in their betting records. Some include details such as time of match, competition, type of market, weather conditions and so on. This is a matter of choice, but the one thing that is absolutely essential is to record the betting odds that you took when you made the bet.
This is because keeping a betting record is about more than simply working out whether you are making a profit or a loss. A record of the betting odds you obtained for your bets can be a valuable resource, helping you to spot patterns in your betting. For example, you may find that you are making a profit on bets at odds of 2.0 or bigger, but that you are losing money on shorter-priced bets. This may indicate that you find it harder to weigh-up odds-on bets, indicating that this is an area of your betting you need to work on.
Analyse Odds to Find Value
When it comes to identifying betting strengths and weaknesses, odds are an even more powerful took when translated into probabilities. This is because to profit in the long term it is necessary to find what is known as “value”, that is, to consistently make wagers for which the betting odds available are bigger than they should be. By keeping accurate notes on betting odds in your records, you will be able to check how good you are at finding value.
For example, a bet at odds of 2/1 equates to a probability percentage of 33. So you would expect your bets made at these odds to be successful roughly a third of the time. But if on checking your betting records, you find that your 2/1 wagers are winning less often than they should, this may indicate that you need to change your betting strategy. Alternatively, if your 2/1 bets are winning at a higher rate than 33 percent, you are on the way to long-term profit.
Understanding Odds Enhances Your Betting Experience
There are many aspects to success at betting, but without a thorough understanding of betting odds and how they work, long-term success is impossible. Betting odds will tell you the chances of your bet being a winner and how much profit you could claim, but beyond that, they are useful tools to help you analyse and improve your own betting strategies.