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Betting Odds Explained

If you wish to be a punter, the first thing you need to learn about betting is the types of odds available in sports betting. Unless you are familiar with them, you would just be wasting your time and money. “So what are these odds?”, you may ask. Every Sport event has some outcome and each result has the probability of it taking place. Odds simply reflect this probability of something happening and if it takes place, how much you could profit from it. So basically what they tell you is how much you can earn if your bet turns out successful. Odds are also termed as prices, as they represent a value of a wager on a particular choice.

There are three ways in which odds are represented and most bookmakers allow you to choose the odds representation you are comfortable with. The default odds are set according to the country where the bet is taking place, so it could be any of the three odds. The three types of odds are Fractional, Decimal and Moneyline or American Odds with their names suggesting their kind of representation. If you have a good knowledge of these odds, you will find it easy to switch between odds if you are betting on different sports. Also you will be able to compare odds better and make more accurate decisions. Now to understand these three representations, we need to know a little more about them.

Let’s start with Decimal Odds, which is the most popular form of odds representation in sports betting and used by most bookmakers. Decimal odds also called European or Continental odds are used in Europe, Australia and Canada. The odds are represented in decimal form and depict what you could win from a single bet. If you win, your stake is multiplied by the decimal odds offered by the bookmaker. To convert probability into decimal odds, you may take probability as a certain percentage and divide it by 100.

Say in a football match between Bolton and Liverpool, you believe that Bolton has a 50% chance of winning and to convert this percentage into odds, you will need to do a simple calculation as follows.

100/50% = 2, which is the decimal odds provided by the bookmaker.

So if you were to stake £100 to win the bet, you would get £200 in return. The Decimal Odds tell you what the bookmaker will payout for every unit staked and the odds multiply your stake to present you the winning amount.

Next we have the Fractional Odds, which are a kind of odds used in UK and Ireland. Unlike Decimal Odds that tell you what you will get in total in return for a unit stake, Fractional Odds are represented by fractions and point out your net profit from a one unit bet. Taking the previous example of Bolton winning by 50%, Fractional Odds would represent this probability as ½, which means you stand a fifty percent chance of either winning or losing the match.

So if you were to stake £100 on a Bolton win, you would get  ½ X 100 = £50

Now this profit of fifty pounds would be added to your initial bet of 100 pounds. So what you get in return if you win would be £100 + £50 = £150

Third we have the American or Moneyline Odds. US Odds must be understood if you plan to bet on American Sports. These odds are generally used in the United States but many online bookmakers also offer these odds. Moneylines are completely different from the other two odds. These odds depict the payout on a $100 stake. The outcome is represented either positively or negatively. Bets paying more than even will be marked with a + sign (+100) while a bet paying less than even will be marked with a – sign (-100) and will tell how much you need to bet in order to get a $100 payout. In other words positive odds show how large your winnings can be on a bet of 100 units while the negative odds show how much you will have to stake in order to win 100 units.

For example, you place a bet of £50 on England beating Australia in a cricket test match with the odds of +400. If England wins the match, what you will get from your bet is calculated as  400 X 50/100 = £200

So you would get £200 (winnings as per odds) + £50 (your initial bet) = £250.

On the other hand if the offered odds are –400 if England beats Australia, you would have to bet £400 to win 100 units from the stake.

Now that the three main betting odds have been explained, you must also get familiar with the terminology generally used with odds, such as –

Fixed Odds – Fixed odds bet, as its name suggests, refers to a fixed amount of stake that you bet against a bookmaker for a probable outcome of a sports event. The bookmaker’s odds tell you how much you will win if your calculation turns out to be successful.

Stake – The stake is the money that you are going to use to place your bet.

Odds Against – Odds Against is a bet where you receive more than double the amount of your stake. For instance a bet of £10 on a 2/1 odds would get you £20 +£10 = £30. These odds are generally used for the underdogs as all odds are pitted against them.

Short Odds – Here the probability of winning is very high and can get you a huge return for your stake.

Odds On – This is where you will have to stake more than you can win. In Odds On, the odds are reversed.

Long Odds – Long Odds refer to bets where the probability of winning is low. If your prediction is correct when betting long odds, you can get a very good return from it.

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