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Keep it Simple! Learn How To Read Betting Odds in 2024!

Publish Date: 10/03/2020
Fact checked by: Myra Chopra

One of the major differences between a veteran and amateur in the world of gambling and online betting is the ability to read and perceive odds. You might be on the verge of placing your first bet but the number displayed alongside might prove daunting. You could be wondering how to read betting odds and how to read Vegas odds. Even if you are an experienced punter, having a deeper understanding of reading betting odds will always be beneficial.

A key factor to note is that Vegas odds are not very different from regular betting odds. Since Vegas is a gambling town most of the casinos there offer the betting odds in either the Fractional (twenty-to-one) or their traditional American Moneyline system. So, if you want to know how to read Vegas odds, you can learn about it by going through guides on how to read betting odds.

How to Read Betting Odds – 3 Key Points

Before you start reading and understanding odds, here are a few things you should always keep in your mind:

  1. There are different kinds of odds: Depending upon the geographical location in which you are placing your bet, the metric of presenting and deciphering odds will differ. Each scheme has its quirks, hence the key to be a successful punter is your ability to identify and comprehend how to read betting odds of various types.
  2. Odds tell you the probability: Odds are nothing but a condensed format of displaying the likelihood of that event happening. Hence odds are not limited to just sports betting. You are bound to see odds in the case of casino games too.
  3. The smaller the odds, the better the win: Since, the lower the odds of a specific outcome, the lesser its probability is. If the outcome has less likelihood of occurrence, this means that the bookmakers are bound to offer more money up for grabs if that particular event occurs. In a nutshell, it means that the lesser the chance, the more money. 

Understanding Betting Odds – Essential Know How!

Odds are the critical factor, or as per some experts, the only factor in determining your overall winnings. An odd tells you the likelihood of any event happening (your team winning, a wrestler making a specific round or not, etc.). It also tells you the amount of money if you place a particular amount of bet on the outcome (basically the amount of money you win upon winning the stake). To be a sound punter, you must know how to read betting odds of all kinds, and at the same time, you should be able to devise your winnings quickly.

Step 1: Understanding the different types of odds: There are three different formats of writing and displaying odds. The Fractional (British system), Decimal System and American (Moneyline) system are the three formats in which odds are displayed all around the world. Let us understand how to read betting odds in these formats one by one:

  1. Fractional Odds: This system of showing odds is most prevalent in British and Irish bookmakers. Typically represented by a “Slash (/)” or a “hyphen (-)”, these are pronounced as “Something-to-Something”. For example, 21-11 or 21/11 both are said to be in the fractional odds system and these odds would be announced as “twenty one-to-eleven”. In this system and the particular example of seven-to-one, it would mean for every bet of $1 you place, you would earn or get back $7. That is just the profit. Your overall return would be $8 (which includes the initial $1 bet which you placed).
  2. Decimal Odds:This system of displaying and writing odds is most famous and popularly used in continental Europe, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. These are easier to understand compared to any other system. Primarily because every bit of information is stored in just a decimal number, the favourite and the underdog can easily be identified only by looking at the decimal odds written against them. Decimal odds show us the amount of money you are going to get back for every $1 bet you wager. For example, If the decimal odds of Chelsea winning against Manchester City is 22.0 it would mean that for every one dollar you bet for Chelsea winning you would get back twenty-two dollars ($22) as your net profit.
  3. American (Moneyline) odds:As the name fends for itself, this system of displaying and writing odds is popular in the United States of America. These odds are inherently very different from the other two naming systems. They prefer to add the polar signs in front of the odds to let you know whether they are the underdogs or the potential winners. Any number written post the “-” or negative sign would indicate the amount you would have to wager to get or win one hundred dollars ($100). The same thing goes for any number written post the positive or “+” sign. The number that succeeds the positive sign would indicate the amount you would win if you wager a hundred dollars ($100). This difference will only widen if the underdog plays or does poorly.

Step 2: Calculating your winnings from the odds written in different formats: For any punter who is staking his or her money in predicting a particular aspect of the game, the main thing to take note of is the amount of money to be won from that particular bet. Knowing how to read betting odds does just that. In each system, the calculation of the number of earnings received per bet would differ, but one thing remains the same that you can calculate your winnings from any order without being a maths wizard, just by having knowledge of how to read betting odds.

  1. Calculating your winnings Fractional System: There is a straightforward formula to be applied whenever you wish to figure your total earnings from the odds displayed infractions.

Your return = your betting amount*Odds (Numerator/Denominator) + your betting amount.

Let us take an example to boost your understanding: Let’s say that the odds of Tiger Woods winning the PGA tour is displayed as 21/1 or 21-1 or twenty one-to-one, and you decide to wager in a hundred dollars ($100). So, your total winnings if Tiger Woods wins the PGA tour will be calculated as:

Total return = $100*(26/1) + $100 =$2700.

The total return which you will get in the case of Tiger Woods winning the PGA tour would be twenty-seven hundred dollars ($2700).

  1. Calculating your winnings from the Decimal System: Calculating your total winnings in the decimal system of displaying and writing odds is very simple. It just requires a quick multiplication and you are done.

Your return = Your betting amount * Decimal Odd number. 

You don’t need to add the amount for which you have placed your bet again as compared to the

fractional way of doing things. Let’s say that the odds of Donald Trump becoming the next

President of the United States of America is given by a particular bookmaker as 5.0, and you

decide to place a ten dollar ($10) bet in favour of Donald Trump winning. If he wins, you will

get back 10*5 = $50 as your total winnings.

  1. Calculating your winnings from American (Moneyline) system: Since these odds are very different from others, the calculation of the payout which you will receive is also very different.

This system of writing odds doesn’t require any formula to calculate the number of winnings that you are going to get. Just a quick look at the odds and a little addition would yield your net profit.

For example, Let’s say in a game between Manchester United and Liverpool the Moneyline odds are as follows:

Manchester United: +500

Liverpool: -600

The +500 on United indicates that for every $100 you bet on United winning you would get back

$500 which would make your entire winnings 500+100 = $600.

On the other hand, if you bet $600 on Liverpool winning, would get you $100 if Liverpool wins

the match hence taking your total winnings to $700.

Betting is not a mere function of luck; it involves skill, dedication and research in equivalent amounts. Punters from all around the globe have different strategies on how to read betting odds, how to read odds ratio and to place a bet. Each one of these different strategies has its own set of peculiarities. One thing is for certain, though, using these strategies at the right time is sure to help you reel in some substantial amount of cash. Some of them are listed below:

  1. Arbitrage Betting
  2. Matched Betting
  3. Accumulator Betting

There are also varying odds based on the sports so, you can go for strategy guides of specific sports like Inplay Tennis, Football, Greyhound , Cricket, Tennis, Horse Racing, Golf, Value Bet and more.

Conclusion – A Key Skill for Improving YOUR Chances

Knowing how to read betting odds and how to read odds in general is essential for betting as betting is mainly playing with odds. It is by reading the betting odds that you can find the best odds to bet on and be able to estimate potential profit as well as the likelihood of winning. While the odds presentation differs based on your geographical location, it will help you if you are aware of how to read betting odds, the variety of betting odds present and how to calculate the final profit that you can win from it.

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