By understanding the different odds formats bookmakers and exchanges offer, bettors will be able to compare odds across providers irrespective of format to find where the best value is.
Bookmakers and exchanges offer a number of different odds formats. No matter the format used, the probability is always the same. It’s just the presentation that differs.
Familiarity, nationality, the bookmaker/exchange used or the sport bet on can all determine which odds format bettors prefer.
When you can understand each odds format and calculate your payout, you’re better placed to compare the odds on offer across bookmakers and exchanges, allowing you to find best value quickly.
It is fundamental to understand how to convert betting odds, but our odds converter conveniently calculates it for you as well.
There are three different ways in which sports betting odds can be displayed:
Betting odds as a percentage
Betting odds represent the chance an event will occur – the probability. In any event, each outcome has a chance of occurring. Odds are simply an interpretation of those chances.
However, odds are not normally represented as percentages, despite displaying the implied probability of an outcome better than any other format. This is because they are harder to compare quickly.
The return using percentage odds is calculated by first converting to decimal odds and then multiplying by stake.
(100 / percentage) * stake = return (including stake)
What are Decimal Odds?
The decimal odds format represents the potential return of a bet including stake. Decimals are more common as it’s the easiest format to compare prices between bookmakers and exchanges.
The potential return of decimal odds is simple to calculate. Just multiply the amount you wish to bet by the decimal odds offered.
odds * stake = return (Including stake)
What are Fractional Odds?
Fractional odds are most popular in the UK and particularly on horse racing, but are becoming less favoured due to the difficulty comparing them against other odds formats.
The odds displayed show the amount of profit you would receive for a winning bet relative to your stake.
Fractional odds are displayed as 10/1 or 7/2. For odds on selections fractional odds appear the other way around; 1/10 or 2/7.
The simplest way to understand this format is:
How much you will win / how much you stake
What are American Odds?
American odds, also known as money line or US odds, are expressed with either a positive or negative number. A negative number indicates what you must bet to make £100 profit, while a positive number indicates how much you might profit if you bet £100.
It’s important to understand that you don’t need to bet the amount equal to the money line – you can bet more or less, with the return linked to your stake.
The calculation to see a return on a negative money line is:
(100/negative money line odds) * stake
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