Online Sports Betting

Sports Betting Odds Explained

The most important thing to know before you start betting on sports is how the odds work. And if you're ever to be successful with sports betting then you should continue reading below!

A big advantage of using an online sportsbook is that you can bet on sporting events taking place anywhere in the world. But one disadvantage of this can sometimes be that the odds may be presented in a format that you are not familiar with.

All sports betting odds are simply a method of indicating the bet's chance of winning. You can use our chance of winning calculator to see how the different types of odds represent this percentage.

There are three different way that sports betting odds can be displayed.

Read on below to learn more about each of the different odds formats, or use our odds converter calculator to convert sports betting odds to your favorite format.

American Odds

As you'd probably expect American Odds are very popular with sportsbooks in the United States. American sports betting odds work differently for favorites and underdogs, and are sometimes known as Moneyline Odds.

The American odds for betting on a favorite work by showing how much money you would have to risk in order to win $100. If the odds offered on a particular event result are -110, it means that in order to 'win' $100 you would need to bet $110.

For example, your NFL team is the favorite and are paying -110 to win their game this weekend. If you placed a $110 bet on them and they win, you would receive $100 winnings, plus get your original $110 back for a total of a $210 payout.

The American odds for betting on an underdog work by showing how much you would win if you risk $100. If the odds offered on a particular event result are +240, it means that in order to 'win' $240 you would need to bet $100.

So if your team is an underdog in their upcoming game, and the sportsbook is offering odds of +240, it means that if you bet $100 on them to win the game you would get the following back when they win - Your original bet of $100 plus $240 winnings for a total collect of $340.

If you see the letters PK alongside the odds offered on a game, it means that there is no favorite and you should "Pick" the winner of the game without any points spread.

Fractional Odds

Fractional Odds are popular in the United Kingdom and are also often used in horse racing. Fractional odds can also be referred to as British Odds, UK Odds or Traditional Odds.

Fractional odds quote the net total that will be paid out to the bettor, should they win, relative to their stake.

For example odds of 5/1 imply that the bettor stands to make £100 on a bet of £20. If the odds are 1/5 the better will make £4 from a £20 stake. The bettor will also always receive their stake back, so a successful bet of £20 at 5/1 will actually pay out £120 - which is £100 plus the return of the original £20 bet.

The way to anounce fractional odds of 5/1 is to say 'five-to-one'. The way to say 1/5 is 'one-to-five' or 'five-to-one on'. It sounds better with a British accent. ;)

Decimal Odds

Decimal Odds are most popular in Europe, Australia and Canada, and in our opinion are the easiest to understand. Most online sportsbooks will offer the option of displaying their odds in decimal fashion. They are sometimes known as European Odds in the UK.

Decimal odds are different from fractional odds in that the bettor must first part with their stake in order to make a bet. The figure quoted is the exact amount that will be paid out if the bet is a winner. Decimal odds are essentially equivalent to the decimal value of the fractional odds, plus one.

We think this is the easiest type of odds display to understand and use as you never have to calculate the return of your stake or worry about multiples of $100. You simply multiply the value of your bet by the decimal odds value and you will have the amount of money you will collect as a winner.

For example, if the decimal odds are 2.00 and you bet $100, you will receive $200 in total if your bet wins. (2.00 x $100).

American, Fractional and Decimal Odds Comparison

Here's an example of how the same odds for an event like the 2008 Superbowl would be displayed in each of the different types of odds formats.

Team American Odds Fractional Odds Decimal Odds
New York Giants +250 5/2 3.50
New England Patriots -200 1/2 1.50

So in that example, how much profit would you have made if you bet $100 on the underdog Giants to win? $250 profit is your answer!

Sports Betting OddsChoosing your odds display format - Most good online sportsbooks will either offer you American or fractional odds, as well as decimal odds.

Just look for a drop down menu somewhere on the page that allows you to change the odds display format. It will look something similar to the image on the right ->

Or you could use our odds converter calculator to convert sports betting odds to your favorite format.