Sports betting odds explained – A beginners guide to help you understand how sports betting odds work
Placing a bet at an online bookmaker can be a bit of a daunting task especially if you are new to sports gambling. Every bet offered will show the odds offered. These odds reflect what you will win in return for your stake. So you need to understand exactly what your stake will make should your bet win. It can look incredibly daunting when you visit a bookmaker and see a list of numbers that just do not seem to make sense. In this article, we aim to give details as to explain exactly how sports betting odds work. By the end of this page you’ll be able to look at a sporting event to see who the favourite is and work out exactly how much you’ll win should you pick the winner.
Let’s begin by first of all giving you a real life example, before we go on to fully breakdown the probabilities and likelihoods of an outcome of a sporting event. The example below is taken from a real game.
Liverpool vs. Everton
Liverpool win 17/20
Everton win 10/3
From looking at this example we can see that the favourites to win this game is Liverpool. But you are probably asking yourself how and why?
It’s all to do with probability. When online bookmakers look at an event they decide on what the probability of an outcome is. This is to say, who the favourites to be the winner are. They then set the odds using the fraction method to tell you exactly who they think will win and what you will win if you predict the correct outcome. In this case, they feel that the probability is that because Liverpool is at home and playing well, they feel that Liverpool has a better chance of winning the game. But in truth, there could be any number of reasons why they have chosen these odds. But there are a potential number of different outcomes so the betting odds need to reflect the probability of these different outcomes. So now let’s help you really get to understand sports betting odds explained.
How to calculate probability using betting odds
When you visit online sports betting sites you will be presented in odds just like our example, which is known as ‘fractional odds’. Once we know what these odds are we can then work out the probability of an event outcome. The easiest thing to do is to provide a breakdown with some examples. Below we’ve worked out the probability of an outcome so you can see how the bookies rate as a favourite and what they see the chances of that outcome being.
- 1/6 can be worked out as 6 / (1 + 6) = 0.85% chance of this outcome happening
- 1/1 can be worked out as 1 / (1 + 1) = 0.50% chance of this outcome happening
- 6/1 can be worked out as 1 / (6 + 1) = 0.14% chance of this outcome happening
So if we look at our real life example we can now work out the probability of what the bookmakers think the outcome will be.
- Liverpool 17/20 – can be worked out as 20 / (17 + 20) = 0.54% chance of this outcome happening
- Draw 29/10 – can be worked out as 10 / (29 + 10) = 0.25% chance of this outcome happening
- Everton 10/3 – can be worked out as 3 / (10 + 3) = 0.23% chance of this outcome happening
Looking at our real life example and the probability of the outcome we can see that the bookmakers make Liverpool favourites to win this match. This is followed by the draw and an Everton win is the least likely outcome.
How to use betting odds to calculate how much your stake will win
The game we’ve used as our example will let us help you understand how making a bet will turn your wager into winnings. Remember, that when you place a bet, if you win you get back your original stake. So let’s use our example to show you how to work out your winnings.
- 1/6 for every £6 you bet you will win £1
- 1/1 for every £1 you bet you will win £1
- 6/1 for every £1 you bet you will win £6
Or if we use our real game example
- Liverpool win 17/20 – if you were to bet £1 you would win £1.85 (includes your original stake)
- Draw 29/10 – if you were to bet £1 you would win £3.90 (includes your original stake)
- Everton win 10/3 – if you were to bet £1 you would win £4.33 (includes your original stake)
To make a very easy way to calculate your profit you simply divide the first number by the second number. So if you were to do the following sum of 17 / 20 = 0.85 you can see that for every £1 staked you’ll win 85p. You can use this on any odds to calculate exactly how much you will win.
But some sports betting sites use decimals
There are some online sports betting sites that do you not offer traditional fractions to show their odds, but instead use decimals. Decimals do in fact make it easier for you to calculate your winnings. The majority of betting sites will allow you to choose how you want the odds to be displayed, so you can decide whether you want fractions or decimals. Let’s use a little example to explain how you calculate winnings using the decimal method.
- 6.0 can be calculated as 6.0 X £1 stake = £6 winnings including original stake
- 3.15 can be calculated as 3.15 X £1 stake = £3.15 winnings including original stake
- 1.15 can be calculated as 1.15 X £1 stake = £1.15 winnings including original stake
Betting odds now clarified
We hope that you’ve found our guide to sports betting odds explained useful and now feel ready for the world of mobile and online betting sites. But remember, have no fear if you do get stuck. When you click on a bet or outcome which takes you fancy, you then enter a stake. All online betting sites will show you exactly how much you will win from your stake, so they automatically make it nice and easy for you to see exactly what your bet will return.