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Online Gambling USA / Betting Guide / How Betting Odds Work

Betting Odds Explained 2024: A Guide to Reading and Understanding Odds

Publish Date: 04/06/2020
Fact checked by: Jesse M Cox

How do betting odds work? How do you calculate and read betting odds?

If you are a beginner to sports betting, the most important thing about what gambling is that you need to understand is how to read betting odds and have gambling odds explained to you. As you study the finer points of how to gamble for the first time, you’ll soon discover that there’s a lot to learn about betting odds.

Learning about how betting works can be very exciting, and somewhat overwhelming. There’s a lot of information available on betting and it can be quite difficult for a beginner to understand the betting odds the first time around.
This betting guide will help you to get a better understanding of betting odds and is explained in an easy to use format.

Main areas covered in this guide to betting odds

  • Only bet when the likelihood of the result occurring is greater than expected.
  • A successful bet is dependent on reading betting odds.
  • Understand what the betting odds truly are and the probabilities by having gambling odds explained to you.
  • Betting odds reflect the probability of a return.

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Betting odds explained & how to apply them:

Understanding how sportsbooks work is the key to becoming successful in sports betting. Betting odds are explained in this article to help you, the players, to grasp the concept of gambling odds. Betting odds suggest the probability of an outcome or return that you’ll get if you place a bet on the outcome of a result.

The type of benefit would be a return of the monies that you place on a bet. Betting odds come in three different types of formats, known as decimal odds, American odds, and fractional odds. No matter which type of betting odds you select, they always show the same thing: your potential return.

How to calculate gambling odds explained:

Using an example of a roll of a six-sided dice, we’re looking at one desired result. The bet is that the dice will land on the number 4. If there are six possibilities of the roll of the dice, and only one result is needed, then there are five unwanted outcomes. This would mean that the ratio would be 5:1.

This shows that there’s a chance that we’ll win compared to five chances that we’ll not. This involves calculating the odds of wanted outcomes versus unwanted outcomes. We’re calculating the ratio of good results versus bad results.

Next, we need to calculate the odds in favor and against the player winning. To work out the odds against the win is done as follows:

5/6 = 0.83

0.83 * 100 = 83.8%

Chance of losing = 83.3%

To work out the odds in favor, you would divide the possible result by the total number of result possible

1/6 = 0.167

0.167 * 100 = 16.67%

Chance of winning = 16.67%

Betting odds explained – Format: Decimal odds

Decimal odds are very popular in countries like Canada and Europe and most players use these odds as they are the easiest to understand. Most sportsbooks will show these betting odds in the decimal format. If the bet placed is a winner, then the amount quoted will be paid out exactly. Decimal odds are equal to the decimal amount of the fractional odds with an added one.

Decimal odds convey two factors. Here you’ll have betting odds explained to you:

Firstly, the price that allows you to work out how much money you would win if you wager is successful. Secondly, involves the probability of your selected bet actually winning. Decimal odds show the return of your stake including your wager. These are seen on US betting sites and especially visible on overseas betting sites.

Basically, for every $1 that you bet, you’d win $2.50 if the betting on the market was set at 2.5. This means that you’d win two and half times your stake, if your bet were to win.

Another example would be if a bet were placed on a basketball game with odds of 9.0.A $100 bet with betting odds of 9.0 would earn $900 with winning $800 from the actual bet, and a $100 from the first wager placed for the bet.

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Betting odds explained – Format: American odds

American odds are popular within the United States and are found on most American sports betting sites. They are also known as moneyline odds. The American odds format can either start with a positive or negative sign and usually return odds with a base figure of 100 units.

The American odds format supports the favorite and reflects this by showing how much money you would have to bet in order to get back the return you want.

The positive sign reflects an underdog, while a negative sign implies that it’s a bookie’s number one pick. If a +300 odds underdog is selected, it has better odds of winning than a +600 odds underdog. A -200 selection has better odds of winning than -100 desired odds.

An example would be if odds were set for +180 for a basketball team to win, and a bet of $100 was placed. If that basketball team won, the return on that would be $280 – a profit of $180. If you were to put a winning bet with odds of -200, $100 would bring in $50 of profit.

Looking for more? We also have proven betting systems that work, such as 1.01 betting strategies and matched betting tips.

Betting odds explained – Format: Fractional odds

Fractional odds, also known as traditional odds, are used a lot more in the UK betting markets and other overseas betting markets. Still, it’s good to know about them and to understand them as well.

They are quite simple to understand, given that they represent the potential winnings as a fraction of the money that was placed down on the bet. Fractional odds estimate the net figure which will be paid to the player if they win. A player betting on a football game who has odds of 1/6 will receive $1 for every $6 bet.

The numerator represents the amount your return will yield in the winning stake, and the denominator shows the amount actually placed down on the bet. An example of this is that if odds are 1/1, you will get $20 for a winning bet of $10, so if you placed a $10 winning bet on a game with odds at 5/1 it would return $60

Betting odds explained in this section relate to how likely this situation is to occur and are usually shown either as a fraction or as a decimal. What’s very important to understand is the difference between probabilities and odds.

Once you’ve grasped the concept behind these two models then the calculating of these odds are essential abilities in finding success in gambling and sports betting. If your bet is correct, then you’ll receive a reward and win money.

For every result, there’s a specific number of results and a good example of this is rolling a die. There are six probable results. If a bet is placed that a one is rolled on the dice, there would be a 16.67% chance of it happening.

Some of these betting odds methods and techniques may seem confusing when you first start out, but the more familiar you become with them, the easier the betting will become. Try and focus on calculating the probabilities and work on reading the best odds lines to become more comfortable with these concepts.

Our recommendation: 3 operators with the best betting odds

To help you get the best from our gaming experience, we’ve taken a look at which operators offer the highest betting odds on the market.

BetMGM offers highly competitive odds, particularly when it comes to their NFL betting odds, which are some of the highest you’ll find online. It is definitely worth looking at the BetMGM odds if you are interested in boosted odds from their enhanced parlay bets and bonus bet promotions.

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Another fantastic operator offering excellent odds is bet365, with their odds sitting high on the league table in comparison to other international operators. The bet365 odds are very attractive, including their pre-match odds, especially for football, basketball and hockey.

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Last, we recommend the DraftKings odds which we have found to be consistent with offering competitive odds to bettors. Quick comparisons between DraftKings and competitors, which we carried out in our DraftKings review, proved that they offer some superior betting odds.

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Check out these other great GamblingGuy betting guides

Here at GamblingGuy, we have all sorts of basic and advanced sports betting and casino gambling guides available for having gambling odds explained to you. They cover essential topics, like the legal gambling age and how to bet on sports.

We also have guides to walk you through more complex concepts, such as over and under betting or point spreads.

Conclusion – Ready to put your betting odds know-how into action!

Now that you’re equipped with the basic knowledge and have had the betting odds explained, you can start trying it out for yourself. There are many different dimensions and options within betting odds, and it’s up to you to decide what type of betting and game you’d like to play.

One of the important lessons to take away from this is to make sure that you understand how betting odds work and have had gambling odds explained thoroughly to help you make an informed decision. Read through as much information as you can and this will help you to become familiar with the betting odds techniques and methods – some guides that may help include creating a sportsbook account and even betting bankroll management.

The foundational level of betting odds will give you the ability to accurately understand and predict the result of a specific game or match. Keep your wagers and bets manageable to start with.

Be conservative, until you’ve built your confidence and knowledge to bet on bigger betting odds and higher wagers. This will help you build your confidence, learn about the techniques as you go along, and will help you understand the game of betting odds and reflect on how the gambling odds have been explained to you.

This will help make picks a lot easier and more accurate, based on who you think would win. Finally, the most important thing is to have fun while you are learning about betting odds and to enjoy the experience.

Bet365
1.
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Betting Odds Explained FAQ

❔ How do betting odds work?

Understanding how betting odds work will help you make informed decisions when placing your bets. Our GamblingGuy guide will help you grasp the concept of gambling odds better, so you can decide which operator is best for you.

🖐🏻 What are decimal odds?

You may have heard about decimal odds, which are popularly used in Canada and Europe. Our guide to betting odds offers more insight into exactly what decimal odds are and even offers examples to any bettor looking for the best odds on the market.

🌍 Which operators offer the best odds?

If you’re looking to find out which operators offer the best sportsbooks odds, we’ve got you covered. We have reviewed numerous operators to find out who has the most competitive odds so you can choose wisely. Check out our betting guide today for more detail.  

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