Understand Betting Odds

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Betting odds tell you how much you can win from a bet. You can also use them to spot underdogs and favorites.

There are three main formats for showing odds:

  1. American Odds
  2. Decimal Odds
  3. Fractional Odds

Today, you are going to learn what each of these odd types means and how to spot underdogs and favorites in them.

1. Understand the American Odds

American odds show two things:

  • The negative odd states how much you must wager to win 100 units.
  • The positive odd states how much you will win if you place a 100-unit wager.

Example. Say we bet $100 in this imaginary matchup:

  • If we bet for Team A, we are going to win $150 with a $100 bet. So we put in $100 and get $250 back.
  • If we bet for Team B, we must bet $175 to win $100. So we put in $175 and get $275 back.

How to Spot the Underdog and the Favorite

In American odds, you can spot the favorite and underdog by looking at the odds:

  • The underdog is the side a positive odd.
  • The favorite is the side with a negative odd.

2. Understand the Decimal Odds

Decimal odds or European odds are represented as decimal numbers. They show the total money returned rather than the profit.

Here is the previously seen example match but now the odds are in the decimal format.

Example. Let’s bet $100 on Team A. To calculate the total return, multiply the size of the bet by the odd:

2.500 * $100 = $250.00

If we bet the same $100 on Team B we’d get:

1.571 * $100 = $157.10

How to Spot the Underdog and the Favorite

In decimal odds, you can spot the favorite and underdog by looking at the odds:

  • The underdog is the side with the bigger decimal odds.
  • The favorite is the side with smaller decimal odds.

3. Understand the Fractional Odds

Fractional odds or British odds are fractional numbers (written with a slash, for example, 7/2).

For example, 2/1 means you win $2 for every $1 you bet. In other words, 2/1 returns $3, that is, $2 winnings plus the $1 stake.

To put it another way, a fractional odd is a coefficient by which you multiply the stake to know the profit. To know the total return, you need to add the stake to the profit.

Example. Let’s go back to the earlier example, this time using fractional odds.

Let’s place a $100 bet on Team A. To calculate the total return, multiply the fractional odd by $100 and add $100 to the result:

total return = $100 * (39/26) + $100
= $250.00

Let’s see what happens if we bet $100 on Team B:

total return = $100 * (100/175) + $100
= $175.00

How to Spot the Underdog and the Favorite

To identify an underdog and a favorite, look at the fractional odds. The underdog has a bigger fractional odd.

If you’re unable to use a calculator, you can rely on this information:

  • A favorite is a team whose fractional odd’s numerator is less than the denominator. For example, 100/175 means the team is a favorite because 100 < 175.
  • An underdog is a team whose odd’s numerator is greater than the denominator. For example, 39/26 means underdog because 39 > 26.

Conclusion

Now you have a basic understanding of betting odds.

If you want to convert betting formats, use an online converter like this one:

Thanks for reading. I hope you find it useful!

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Artturi Jalli

Artturi Jalli

I built a blog from 0 to 350k+ monthly visits in 16 months without SEO.