Betting Odds Explained

The use of odds in gambling enables betting on events. There are three main ways to display odds Fractional, Decimal and Moneyline. New Customer Offers, 18+, T&C’s Apply to each of the offers below, click “Bet Now” for more information.

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Online Betting Odds

It may seem obvious, but a sound understanding of betting odds is hugely important if you are contemplating any wagering, whether at on online or real-world bookmaker or casino. These are the numbers that help any bettor make sense of the probability of an event happening and, just as importantly, what you stand to gain if your bet is successful. What can sometimes confuse a new entrant to the world of wagering is that there are commonly a trio of ways to express odds, all of which are subtly different even if they’re all reflecting the same underlying probability!

The different ways of expressing odds is a historical quirk often to do with a geographical preference that became the norm for that market. Those norms have carried over into the trans-national global markets opened up by online gambling, and although some of the more flexible online betting sites flexibly enable their users to see odds in the format they prefer that is not always the case. For that reason it’s no bad thing to get to grips with the three main types you will likely encounter.

Fractional Odds

Fractional Odds are sometimes referred to as ‘British odds’ due to their association with bookmaking in the United Kingdom (and Ireland too, although the residents in Eire would most likely bristle at the notion that they are included in the ‘British’ tag!) As the formal title suggests these express odds as a fraction such at 15/1 or 3/2. The numerator in the fraction (that is, the first number) denotes how much those odds will pay as a multiplier of the denominator (the second number), that denominator being the stake. In a separate article we’ll delve in greater depth in to this, but by way of example if we stake $1 on a bet with fractional odds of 15/1 if that bet is successful we will be paid out $16 being the sum of our stake plus the profit of fifteen times that stake.

Decimal Odds

Decimal Odds are the preferred format in Europe and Canada, hence sometimes being called ‘Continental odds’. Again the formal title relates to the way the odds are expressed with examples being 16.0 or 2.5. With decimal odds the number simply signals how many times your stake will be returned to you if the wager pays off. As with fractional odds, a separate article on this site will go into greater depth on this.

Moneyline Odds

Moneyline Odds are the primary format of odds in the U.S. sports betting market, so are understandably often called ‘American odds’. These are undoubtedly the most complex to understand for any novice bettor and our separate article on the subject should be a ‘must read’ if you’re in any doubt about how to handle them. The essential essence of moneyline odds is that they are referenced to a fundamental stake of $100. ‘Positive’ moneyline odds indicate the profit that would accrue on a $100 bet, where ‘negative’ moneyline odds express how much stake would return a profit of $100.