Sports Betting Essentials The Odds System

It's imperative that prior to placing your bet, you should at least understand how the odds system works

Topics Addressed

  • The Odds
  • Fractions
  • Decimal
  • American

Sport bets are one of the most common forms of bets, whether it's made via an online gambling site, or at the local bookie.

The football betting market is on the rise, as it offers a lot of football experts to try and come up with a nice winning. You might as well be one of these experts, but in order to start our trip on the right foot, here's a brief look at the football betting fundamentals.

The Odds

A common mistake is to run and waste money on a game you are not familiar with the rules. Now, there are not too many rules, and the ones there are, are not that complicated. Still, the first step is to get familiar with the odds system.

The odds, basically, reflect and are based on a possible outcome of the match. If both teams are 100% equal, the odds will be 1 to 1. This is known as "even money sports bet", and in this case, like when flipping a coin, the odds for each outcome are the same.

But in most cases, there is a favourite team playing an underdog. Due to this, there is no point for the even money bet, as no on in the right mind will place his money on the weaker team. To solve this, you get favorable odds for betting on the weaker team. This means that instead of making £1 for any pound you risk, you have the chance to win more. This makes up for the risk you're taking and a good bookie will set odds which are appealing enough for the gambler.

You will see two main options of presenting the odds: a fraction or decimal. Most online betting sites offer both options, as the fraction is more common in the UK, while the rest of Europe tends using the decimal.


Presented this way, the odds appear as a fraction. If the odds for a certain outcome are 3/5 you can learn that for any £5 you risk, you might win £3. Therefore, if you choose to place a bet of £10, you might end up winning £6. Much the same, if the odds were 1/4, by placing £10 you can win £40.

As we mentioned, this method is common in the UK, and it shows how much you will win, exclusive of your original bet. This means that the £40 win is the net win.


The decimal method is more common in the rest of Europe. The main difference between this and the Fraction is that this includes your original bet.

Let's take the 1/4 odds we used in the Fractions example. If you'll choose the Decimal method, the 1/4 will be shown as 5. You can learn of your potential winning by multiplying the odds in your bet, so in this case, if you'll place £10 you will win £50. There £50 include your original bet (£10) plus your winnings (£40). If you wonder what will come of the 3/5 odds, they will be showed as 1.6. By placing £10 you'll win £16 (£10+£6).


Yes, the Americans have to be different and thus they have their own odds system. The American odds show a number with either a plus (+) or minus (-) sign in front of it. When there's a plus sign, you should divide the odds by 100 and add 1 to know the odds in decimal way. For instance, odds of +300 are practically 1+(300/100)=4. If there's a minus, you divide 100 by the odds and add 1. For instance, odds of -166.66 are 1+(100/166.66)=1.6

As you can see, these methods are very much alike, but still, you have to know your way before playing the game.

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