How do you read sports betting odds formats?

Sports betting has become a very popular activity nowadays. Especially, in the online mode, there are a lot of sites offering sports betting. This is because there are no laws to restrict gambling activities when performed online!

However, like any form of gambling, sports betting involves an element of risk. Thus, it can be dangerous for you if you don’t know the common terms and rules of sports betting. It is not a good idea to take part in sports betting if you are unfamiliar with the sport. You should have knowledge of the common terms and rules of online betting.

One of the most common terms in sports betting is odds. And it is absolutely crucial for you to understand this term. Betting odds may look confusing to you in the beginning. But with some basic maths, you can easily understand them. Besides, they help a lot in calculating your wins for the likelihood of an event happening. However, there are a few different systems n which betting odds can be read.

Let’s take a look and find out what these representations mean!

Moneyline/American Odds

You might have come across sites that mention odds with a plus (+) or a minus (-) sign followed by a number. This is the Moneyline or American notation of odds. Besides, it is quite easy to read odds in this system. 

Plus sign means that the team is the underdog in the match. On the other hand, a minus sign means that the team is the favorite to win the match. The system is based on the betting amount of $100. Thus, if the odds are positive, then they represent the amount you will win for a $100 bet. On the other hand, if the odds are negative, the meaning changes. It then represents the amount you will have to bet to win $100.

Let us take an example as follows to better understand the system:

Team A with betting odds of +150

Team B with betting odds of -130

The plus sign for Team A means they are the underdog of the match. Team B with a minus sign are the favorites of the match.

Further, if you place a bet of $100 on team A and win, then you will get $150.

Next, if you bet on team B with $130 and they win the game, you will receive $100 as the winning bet.

In both these cases, it is the net profit that the odds represent. This means that in either case if you win the bet you will receive the amount you wagered originally, plus whatever you win through the bet.

This is how American odds are read. Notably, in an American/Moneyline bet you only bet on one of the teams to win. The system is most common in the USA and Canada.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are pretty straightforward to calculate. Unlike the American notation, there are no plus or minus signs involved. Decimal odds are the most common system used across the world. In fact, they are very popular in countries like the UK, Australia, and Ireland.

For a beginner, decimal odds are very easy to understand. The system does not make use of plus or minus signs. Further, there is no need to calculate your profits by removing your wagering amount. You can simply calculate the net total amount by using the odds. The simple nature also explains why this notation is so widely used around the world.

All you have to do is multiply the odds with your wagering amount. The result is what you will earn as a whole if you have a winning bet. So for instance, if the odds are 1.5 and you place a bet of $10, you will end up with $15 if you win.

Let us take an example to better understand the decimal notation of betting odds. Let us suppose that you place a bet on Team A with odds of 2. Further, your wagering amount is a hundred dollars. If Team A wins that gives you a winning bet. Thus, you will receive a total of your wagering amount multiplied by the odds. In this case that will amount to “$100 x 2” which comes out to be $200. Notably, this amount includes the wager you placed and the profit you earned.

Fractional Odds

As the name suggests, fractional odds are based on fractions. The system is quite prevalent in the United Kingdom and Ireland. For a beginner, this notation can be a bit difficult to understand. But you only need very basic maths to read odds in the fractional system.

As an example, the odds are “3/1”. You will read it as odds of three to one. Notably, if the first number in the odds is bigger, then it means that the profit will be larger than the wagering amount. The converse is also true. Thus, a smaller first number would mean that the profit is smaller than the wagering amount. We can better understand all this with an example:

Let us say that the odds for Team A winning a game are 3/1. And you place a bet on Team A of $100. Thus if Team A wins the game your net profit will be three times the amount you placed in the bet. Thus you will earn a total of $300 plus $100 as a whole, equalling $400.

Next, let us assume that the odds are 1/5 for team A and you place a bet of $100. In this case, if team A wins your net profit will be $20. Hence, you will end up earning a total of $20 plus $100, equalling $120.

Thus, in short, fractional odds show you what you can win based on the amount you bet. Due to their complex nature, more and more sites are, however, shifting to the decimal system of odds. Hence, they are not very popular on betting sites nowadays.


Why are betting odds important?

In short, betting odds are used by bookmakers to show how likely an event is to happen. They may seem complex but you can easily read them with very basic maths. Besides, they help a lot in calculating how likely an event is to happen and thus help you in winning. Thus, they are very important to determine how much you will earn when placing a bet.

Who decides the odds in sports betting?

Odds are always decided by the bookmaker/site. And odds change depending on a lot of factors. Bookmakers use a wide variety of factors to determine odds for various sports events. For instance, the location of the match in case of a test cricket event is very significant. Thus, it plays a big role in the finalizing of odds. Similarly, player injuries, weather, and the significance of the tournament are other factors that influence odds. Besides, odds can even change during a match too!

Are odds different for different sports?

For any sport, the odds can be represented in any system. In fact, the only reason why some sports have set systems of odds is their location. For example, if we have to represent odds for an NFL game we will use the American system. This is because NFL games are played in the USA mostly.

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