How Do Betting Odds Work?

How do betting odds work and why are they important? If that’s the question racking your brain then you’ve come across the perfect article! Betting odds are there to make sure you can understand what your chances of winning a bet are.

Canadian online sports betting has skyrocketed over the past few years. There are so many bookmakers and online sportsbooks to choose from that all have unique offers. If you want to take part in this fun gambling experience, you need to know how do odds work. Understanding how do betting odds work can help you read sporting betting lines

which may differ based on the location and sport you’re betting on. There are some specific types of betting odds that are used all over the world in sports betting. Today, we’re going to teach you how do betting odds work, how to read betting odds and much more. If you’re interested to learn more, keep on reading!


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What Is Betting Odd?

How Do Betting Odds Work

Before learning how to betting odds work let’s start with the basics. What exactly are betting odds in sports betting?

Odds are set by bookmakers and reflect the probability of a particular outcome of an event occurring. Simple enough right?

These betting odds are placed so the bookmakers can operate at a profit. Odds are essential for bookmakers to calculate the best return based on how an event will turn out. Bookmakers will adjust the odds to make sure that their profit is safeguarded.


How Do Betting Odds Work?

What Is Betting OddNow that you have an idea about what betting odds actually are we can move on to how betting odds work. You need to have a good grip on the main types of betting odds and be able to read and interpret their meaning to make bets strategically.

So before understanding how do betting odds work, let’s address the types of betting odds. There are three main types of odds. First, there are the fractional or British odds, then decimal or European odds and lastly moneyline or American odds.

The difference between all these types of odds is simply how they are presented. The payout amounts are not different for each type of odd. Thus, the probability of an outcome happening remains the same, just the representation of the odds is different.

Now you may be thinking, “How do betting odds work in these different forms?” Well, each type of betting odds is calculated and represented differently. So, for you to place a good bet, you need to understand how each of these odds is expressed.

Fractional or British Odds

Fractional odds are also called the British odds or the UK odds. This is mainly because these odds are popular among British and Irish bookmakers. These are usually written with a slash (/) or a hyphen (-). Fractional odds are used by some of the world’s biggest bookmakers.

How do betting odds work for fractional odds? Well, the numerator, the number above, denotes the amount you are likely to win. While the denominator, the number below, denotes the amount you have to wager to win the numerator. Let’s explain fractional odds with an example. If you see odds of 5/1 or 5-1, this would mean that you would win $5 against every $1 you wager in addition to the initial dollar you wagered. Thus, this is the ratio of the amount won to the initial bet.

This means that you will receive your stake, $1, along with the profit, $5, which will result in a total payout of $6. So, if you stake $10 at 5/1 odds and win, you would get a total payout of $60, which is your $10 stake plus your $50 profit. When the odds break down cleanly like 5/1, it can be easier to understand your potential payout. When the denominator is more than 1 it can be harder to simplify the odds. Thus, making it harder for you to understand what the odds are telling you.

When you can understand how do betting odds work for fractional odds you can easily play in many online bookmakers. Fractional odds are useful in certain situations, mainly when you have several betting selections to choose from like in a horse race or many future wagers. The plus side of fractional odds is they can provide precise odds without stretching the figures too long or rounding up/down.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds, also often referred to as European odds are very popular in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Decimal odds are quite simple and beginner-friendly. These odds are displayed in decimal points as the name suggests.

The decimal odds number represents the likely payout one will get for every $1 wagered. For decimal odds, the number denotes the total payout rather than the profit. Since it is already included in the decimal number, therefore you don’t need to add back your initial stake to this payout. This makes your total payout calculation a lot easier.

Let’s use an example to understand how do betting odds work in decimal odds. For instance, let’s say the decimal odds for an event happening are 2.0. In this case, if you wager $100 on the odds and you win, your payout will be $200. This is because you multiplied the betting odds with the amount you wagered.

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Similarly, if the amount you wagered was $250 and you won, your potential payout would be $500.

To calculate your profit from the payout, all you would need to do is deduct the initial amount you wagered. For the first example mentioned above, that would be $100 from $200, which would give you a profit of $100. Remember that the higher the decimal odd, the less probable it is that the event will occur. The lower the decimal odd, the higher chance of the event occurring. This is where the bookmakers try to make their profit.

Decimal odds are the most common format used by Canadians. Knowing how do betting odds work in decimal odds will be the most beneficial for you. Almost all online sportsbooks will offer this option of displaying odds.

Moneyline or American Odds

Understanding how do betting odds work in the moneyline odds can be a bit tricky. But don’t worry because we’ll break it down for you and make it easy to understand.

Moneyline odds or American odds are popular in the United States. The odds for favourites are represented with a minus (-) sign while the odds for underdogs are represented by a plus (+) sign. The minus sign indicates the amount you need to stake to win $100 or 100 units and the plus sign indicates the amount won for every $100 or 100 units staked.

So, moneyline odds for betting on the favourite work by showing how much money you have to bet in order to win $100. As for underdogs, the positive number denotes how much you can win if you risk $100.

For both cases, the winners will get their initial wager back in addition to the amount they win. The difference between the odds for the favourite and for the underdog stretches as the probability of winning for the favourite increases.

Let’s use an example to understand how do betting odds work in moneyline odds. Let’s say a Canadian sports team is the favourite and is to win in a game and have odds at -120. You would need to bet $120 on them which means you would get back $100 plus the initial bet of $120 as a payout if they happen to win.

For an underdog, let’s say the betting odds are +250. This means that if you place a $100 bet on them, you will get $250 in winnings. Thus your total payout would be $250 plus your original bet of $100 which would come to $350.

Moneyline odds are a bit difficult to calculate the winnings when the bets are on the minus side. This is one of the reasons why this betting odd is not used that widely as of yet. While it is hard, once you know how do betting odds work for moneyline odds, you can play in many online sportsbooks.

Usually, in a head to head game, the favourites are denoted with a minus sign and the underdogs with a plus sign but we’ll explain more about this as we go.


Favourite VS Underdog in Moneyline Odds

Favourite VS Underdog in Moneyline Odds

By now you may understand how do betting odds work and their types. But before moving on with our discussion, we’ll give you a summary of the favourites and underdogs mentioned in moneyline betting so there are no information gaps!

Moneyline betting is where punters will see the most significant difference between the favourite and the underdog, more specifically in basketball and football.

To put it simply, a favourite denotes the outcome that a team is more likely to win a game. On the other hand, an underdog is a competitor thought unlikely to win. The favourite team will most likely have a minus (-) sign before the number. This indicates that it is the forecasted winner. The underdog will most likely have a plus (+) sign before the number, indicating it will probably be the defeated team.

The favourites and the underdogs are determined by the bookmakers based on previous performance, hot streaks and records.

However, just because the bookmaker assigns one side to be the favourite does not guarantee that they will win. There are many occurrences when the favourite got upset on the day of the game. Thus, you can’t always get comfortable and choose the favourite each time.


How Do Betting Odds Work: Converting Betting Odds

Most online sportsbooks will let you choose between Fractional, Decimal and Moneyline odds. Just as understanding how do betting odds work is important, so is knowing how to convert them.

There are many odds calculators available online that can help you with the process. However, you can also do them manually with the help of a few equations.

Moneyline odds

  • Positive Moneyline odd to Decimal odd: Moneyline Odd / 100 + 1= Decimal Odd

For example, if the moneyline odd is +200, the equation would be 200/100+1, which would give us 3 in decimal odds.

  • Negative Moneyline odd to Decimal odd: 100 /Moneyline odd + 1 = Decimal odd

For example, if the moneyline odd is -200, the equation would be 100/200+1, which would give us 1.5 in decimal odds.

  • Positive Moneyline odd to Fractional Odd: Moneyline odd / 100 = Fractional odd

For example, if the moneyline odd is +200, the equation would be 200/100, which would give us 2/1 in fractional odds.

  • Negative Moneyline odd to Fractional Odd: -100 / Moneyline odd = Fractional odd

For example, if the moneyline odd is -200, the equation would be -100/200, which would give us 1/2 in fractional odds.

Fractional Odds

  • Fractional odds to Decimal odds: 1 + Fractional value

For example, if the fractional value is 2 / 1 then the equation would be 1 + (2/1) which would give us 3 in decimal odds.

  • Fractional odds to positive moneyline odd: Fractional value X 100

For example, if the value is 2/1, then the equation would be (2/1) X 100 which would give 200 as the moneyline odds.

  • Fractional odds to Negative Moneyline odd: -100 / Fractional odds

For example, if the odds are 1/4, then the equation would be 100 / (1/4) which would give -400 as the moneyline odds.

Decimal odds

  • Decimal odds to Fractional odds: 1 – Decimal Value

For example, if the decimal value is 4, the equation would be 4-1 which would give us 3/1 as the fractional odd.

  • Decimal odds to Positive Moneyline odds: (Decimal value -1) X 100

For example, if the decimal value is 2, the equation would be (2-1) X100 which would give us 200 as the moneyline odd.

  • Decimal odds to Negative Moneyline odds: -100 / (Decimal value -1)

For example, if the decimal value is 1.40, the equation would be -100 / (1.4-1) which would give us -250 as the moneyline odd.


How to Read Betting Odds?

How to Read Betting OddsBy now you know how to convert betting odds and the basics of how do betting odds work along with the types. Another key thing to understand is how to read betting odds.

Betting odds in online sportsbooks come in a standard style. This means this style will most likely be the same across many online sportsbooks with a few minor exceptions.

Sportsbooks show odds in a home team versus away team format. This is a common way to display odds in a Canadian sportsbook. The home team will follow the away team, either underneath it or on the right side.


Over/Under Betting

To understand how do betting odds work, we also need to talk a bit about over/under betting.

In sports betting, over/under is quite popular. You either bet over or under a given number. For this, the over/under value will be set by the bookmaker based on how they think the game will turn out. As a punter, you need to select if the total number of points scored by both teams will be over or under the total.

This is also why the over/under bet is often referred to as total bet as well.

In case you bet exactly the number as the over/under value given by the sportsbook, your bet shall be refunded back to you. Therefore, this bet is referred to as the push. Not to mention, over/under bet payouts doesn’t solely depend on the correct score prediction. You must understand the odds properly to understand what the bookmaker’s cut is and how much you will be gaining from your winnings.

So, when you’re betting on the outcome of an Ice Hockey game, you are betting against the bookmaker and their prediction of the match. The game total will be determined by the bookmaker based on past results, hot streaks and numerical data.

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How Do Betting Odds Work in Vegas Odds?

How Do Betting Odds Work in Vegas OddsMany Canadians will see Vegas odds when looking at betting previews. Thus, understanding how do betting odds work will also take into account Vegas odds.

Sports odds, whether they’re in the local brick or on the online betting sites, will be influenced by what bookmakers are saying in Sin City. Bookmakers use Vegas odds as a sort of benchmark, meaning there is little variation between gambling venues across the world both online and offline. Also, Vegas odds are shown in the American or moneyline format. While Vegas odds are made with the house edge in mind, there is certainly a chance for gamblers to win big against these odds.

In many cases, offering odds seems to be much better for players in comparison to Vegas odds. They can attract more punters but can be catastrophic for the sportsbook in the off chance that the underdog is victorious.


FAQs: How Do Betting Odds Work

We’ve mentioned some commonly asked questions about how do betting odds work that may be of use to you!

What Are Five-To-One Odds?

To simply put it, five-to-one odds mean that for every $1 wagered you could win $5 if the outcome is in your favour. With fractional odds, the number on the left denotes the amount you can possibly win while the number on the right denotes the amount you need to stake.

What Are 200+ Odds?

When the odds are shown with a plus (+) or minus (-) sign, it means the odds are being expressed as moneyline or American odds. The +200 signifies the amount a punter could win if they wager $100. If the outcome is favourable, the punter would get a total payout of $300, which is $200 plus their initial stake of $100.

What Are Negative and Positive Bets?

Negative numbers signify the favourite on the betting line and indicate how much you need to wager to win $100. On the other hand, positive numbers signify the underdog. This is the amount you could win if you wager $100. The favourites are usually deemed as the likely winners of the match in contrast to the underdog who is less likely to win.

Do You Lose Money On Negative Odds?

No, the minus sign in front of an odd only indicates the team that is the favourite and which is more likely to win. There is a higher probability of the favourite winning a game and is comparatively a safer bet but with a lower payout. However, it is not set in stone that they favourite will win the game.

Are The Odds Different Depending On The Sport?

Technically, the odds can be shown in any format regardless of the game or match. However, the location of the target audience will influence the format in which the betting odds are displayed. For example, decimal odds are the most widely used in Canada.

Who Sets Odds For Sports Betting?

Most bookmakers will have their own teams to calculate odds based on a few parameters. These can be the location of the match, the weather, player absences or injury risks, past records, hot streaks, etc. Odds can change quickly as many bookmakers update them while the match goes on. They will also use the Vegas odds as a benchmark for the odds.


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