Betting Odds Explained

When you’re looking to place a bet on any sporting event, best bookmakers will publish a set of odds based on how likely a certain set of circumstances are. In a football match for example, if Team A is stronger than Team B, their odds will be short and you won’t receive as much money back if you win.

The concept of odds setting is simple to understand but with online bookies setting up operations right across the globe, it’s also important to grasp the fact that three different styles of prices can be quoted. As a customer, you may be confronted with Fractional, Decimal or American odds but how do they differ?


Fractional oddsFor many punters, fractional odds may be the ones that they grew up with and their familiarity makes them simple to follow for most of us. Let’s go back to that football match for our example and speculate that Team A is priced at 2/1 to beat Team B. Therefore, if you stake £10 on Team A you stand to receive 2 x your outlay = £20 plus your original stake of £10 making a profit of £20.00 and a return of £30.00 in total.

That’s a simple example but fractional prices can get a little complicated at times. Do you know straight away how much money you could earn if you stake at 17/4 for instance? Fortunately, most bookmakers will calculate your potential winnings before you commit to a stake but fractional can also get confusing when you’re comparing prices with individual outlets.

Is 2/5 better than 8/15? If you’re not a mathematician then you may take some time to find the answer.


Decimal oddsDecimal odds have been popular outside of the UK for some time now but British punters are coming round to them because they are arguably the easiest to understand.

Going back to Team A who were quoted at 2/1 under the fractional system and their decimal odds are now 3.00. To calculate your profit, just multiply your stake by 3 but remember that your original outlay is not returned this time.

Decimal odds are also much easier to weigh up when you see them on odds comparison sites to see if your bookie is giving you the best deal. For example, 4.33 and 4.50 are easier to compare with each other than their fractional counterparts.


American oddsAs you would expect, American odds are popular with the small clutch of US based bookmakers on the net and these may seem complicated at first. Unlike decimal odds, these can either be positive or negative depending on whether a pick is available at odds on or odds against.

As an example, you may see a figure of +200 and if you back at that price, you will receive £20 return for a £10 stake plus your initial outlay is also given back. So effectively, a price of +200 on the American Odds system is the equivalent of 2/1 fractional or 3.00 decimal.

Having studied those options, you may decide you have a particular preference and that’s OK because many bookies give you the choice – certainly between Decimal and Fractional. Overall, they are all fairly easy to follow but the important thing is to make sure you understand your potential returns before committing to a bet.

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