Sports Betting Odds: How Do They Work?

If you’re interested in sports betting, you’ve probably heard of odds. But what are they, and how do they work? In this blog post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about sports betting odds.

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Odds are a numerical expression of the likelihood of an event occurring, usually quoted as the odds in favor or the odds against. The first number always refers to the amount you could win, while the second refers to the amount you need to bet. So, if the odds are 4-to-1 against an event occurring, then for every one dollar you bet, you would win four dollars if the event occurred. In this instance, you would be considered the favorite because there is a higher chance of you winning.

How sports betting odds work

Sports betting odds are created by oddsmakers who take into account a variety of factors when coming up with the lines. Bettors then have the option to either take the odds as is or try to negotiate better odds with the bookmaker. In this section, we’re going to discuss how sports betting odds work.

Decimal odds

Decimal odds, also known as European odds, show the return on a 1 unit stake and are easy to understand. Simply multiply your stake by the decimal shown and you will receive your total payout, which includes your original stake.

For example, if you bet on an outcome at odds of 3.00 and you stake $10, then you will receive a total payout of $30 ($10 x 3.00), which includes your original $10 stake.

Decimal odds are often used in Europe and are becoming more popular in other countries such as Canada.

Fractional odds

Fractional odds are the most traditional way of expressing sports betting odds. In fractional odds, the bettor gets paid a certain number of times their original stake if they win.

For example, let’s say you bet £10 on a horse at 5/1. This means that for every £1 you stake, you will get £5 back in winnings if your horse wins. So if your horse does indeed win, you will receive £50 in total – your £10 stake plus £40 in winnings.

The first number (5) is the profit you will make for every £1 staked, while the second number (1) is how much you need to stake to make that profit. In this instance, you need to stake £1 to make a profit of £5.

Fractional odds are most popular in the UK and Ireland, although they are also used in some other European countries such as Spain and Sweden

Moneyline odds

Moneyline odds are the most common type of sports betting odds. Used mostly in baseball and hockey betting, moneylines on other sports like basketball and football are becoming more popular. Moneylines are usually listed with a minus sign (e.g. -130) for the favorite and a plus sign (e.g. +120) for the underdog. The favorite has to win by more than the negative value (-130), while the underdog needs to lose by less than the positive value (+120). A bet on either side is called a pick ’em or push, where your bet just gets returned to you.


Now that we’ve gone over the basic types of sports betting odds, let’s wrap things up with a few tips on how to interpret and use them.

Odds can seem daunting at first, but they’re really not too difficult to understand. Just remember that oddsmakers are trying to create a betting line that will attract even action on both sides.

The key is to find value in the odds. In other words, you want to find bets where you think the oddsmakers have made a mistake and you can exploit that error.

Of course, this is easier said than done. It takes practice and a lot of research to become a successful sports bettor. But if you put in the work, it can be extremely rewarding.

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