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 firsttime
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.
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.
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.
