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How Odds Work: How betting odds work


 For those punters new to betting, the first question they usually ask is how odds work. In this betting guide we will explain how the betting odds work with plenty of examples and as our trademark - as simple as possible, to help everyone grasp the concept of the betting odds. The workings of the odds is not as complicated as it may initially appear to someone who has never done any sports betting before. And we agree that seeing a large list of numbers at the bookmaker could be a bit intimidating to the first-time punter, but don't fear them. Working with the odds is very simple and nothing complicated is involved, otherwise sports betting wouldn't be so popular all over the world, not only in the UK. So let's take a look how betting odds work.

Example of football odds For the purpose of this guide, we will have examples of betting odds from a great online bookmaker,, but the same applies if you decide to wager at your local bookie's shop. We will also talk about football odds, let's face it, it's the most popular sport people in the UK bet on, but again, the same knowledge could be applied to the betting odds on any other sport.

 Let's look at the image to the left, it's showing the running odds from the English Premier League football match Man Utd vs Swansea at Bet 365. You can see that the bookie has posted odds on three options: 1 - Manchester United will win the game and the odds of this to happen are 1/250 (said as "one to two hundred and fifty); 2 - the game would finish in a draw and the odds are 40/1 for this to happen; and 3 Swansea would come from behind to win the game and the odds are 250/1. What theses numbers (i.e. the odds) show is how much the punter would win if they bet on one of those outcomes. Thus if the punter thinks that the game will finish in a draw they will get �40 for every �1 wagered on that outcome, i.e. 40/1. This type of odds presentation is called fractional odds and take the form of "payout/bet" or to use our example, the "payout" is "�40" when the "bet" is "�1". If you were to wager �20 instead of just �1, your payout would be 20x40=�800. To give one more example using the football game above, if you think United will win the game (the odds on Man Utd are 1/250), you will have to bet �250 to win just �1, i.e. Manchester United in this case are a heavy favourite and pay very little. You can also say that United have "short odds" to win the game, where Swansea have "long odds". In a nutshell, when looking at the fractional odds, the first part represents how much money you will win from your bet if you wager the second part of the fractional odds.

The fractional odds are best used if you just make a single bet - this way you can easily calculate how much you would receive if you win the wager. If you want to place multiple bets on a slip, for example a parley bet, the calculation is a bit complicated unless you have a PhD in Mathematics. When betting at the online bookmakers, however, there is a very easy way to switch the odds display - all internet bookies have a drop down menu that would let you select how you want the betting odds to be displayed. Which brings us to the next part of our "how odds work" guide - the decimal odds.

An example of decimal odds To understand the decimal odds, let's look at the example of betting odds on the Inter vs. AC Milan game to the left. As you can see, the betting odds here seem a bit different than the fractional odds we've looked at in the above example. These odds are called decimal odds and are simply the decimal form of the same odds. I.e. the fractional odds display the betting odds as a fraction, where the decimal odds display them in their decimal form. In other words, if we were to look back at the United vs. Swansea example, if the game is a draw - the fractional odds show the odds to win as 40/1, where the decimal odds would show the same payout as 40.00. The benefit of displaying fractional odds as decimal is to help you calculate your payout when placing multiple bets. If, for example, you want to place a parlay bet on three football games, to find out how much you'd win you will have to multiply the odds of each game to each other, which could be a bit complicated when using fractional odds, but very easy when using decimal odds. And how do you calculate the payout of a single bet when using decimal odds? It's also very simple - you just multiply your bet by the odds. For example, if you bet �10 on AC Milan to win the Serie A game on the snapshot above, you simply multiply your �10 bet by the odds, in this case 1.85, so 10x1.85=�18.50 would be your winning from this wager.

 Remember, no matter how you decide to display the betting odds at your preferred online bookmaker, the odds always work the same way. They are simply a representation of how much you would win if you place that bet. We will look into football odds a bit further in another guide of ours, so keep an eye on our guide section if you want to explore those odds further. But by know you should know how odds work and what they represent.

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