Betting Odds Explained

Betting Odds Explained

How do you define Chance?
Anywhere apart from gambling and betting, chance is normally referred to as a percentage, so for example if you look at a coin toss then there is a 50% chance of it landing tails up and a 50% chance of it landing heads up. All possible outcomes in any event have to add up to 100%

If you roll a normal 6 sided dice then  there is a one in six chance of any one number coming up. This can be expressed as 16.66% (six possibilities divided by 100%).

Understanding Odds

Odds are simply a reflection of the chance or probability of a certain outcome in an event. In any event, every outcome has a chance or likelihood of taking place. Odds are simply an interpretation of those chances. The bookmakers form odds or prices to reflect those chances.

Most online bookmakers give you the option of which type of odds you want to use.

Decimal Odds
Rather than using percentages, bookmakers use odds (dont ask me why though) . Decimal odds are commonly used in Europe (but not the UK typically) and are known as European odds.

To convert chances into decimal odds just take the chance as a percentage and divide into 100 (100/%Chance = odds)

So if you think something has a 20% chance of winning(same as a 1 in 5 chance) then the decimal odds would be (100/20 =) 5

If you want to place a bet on a sporting event which has decimal odds of 5 and you win, for every pound you stake you will receive 5 pounds back. Stake £20 and you will receive back £100 (£20 times the 5) You can see that your stake money  is included in the odds.

European odds multiplied by your stake equals the payout. The odds show how many units the bookies (online bookies or normal shop based bookies)  pays out per stake.

Fractional Odds
The normal fractional odds are what you will be uesd to seeing in the UK. Using the 20% example of chance again, the factional odds would be expressed as  4/1.

Fractional odds are is basically saying that on average for every 1 time you win then 4 times you will lose. Which means the same as you have a 20% chance of winning and an 80% chance of losing.

Say you wish to place a bet (using for example) on a sporting event and you have been given odds of 4/1, and you win then for every pound you have bet you will win £4 in return and you will receive your  stake money back, giving you a total return of 5. If you place a bet of £20 at 4/1, then you will win £80 and you get your £20 stake back, giving a total return of £100 (£20 x 4 = £80 + your £20 stake back)

UK odds multiplied by your stake money equals the winnings. The odds show how many pounds you win in terms of winning per pound staked.

US Odds

To complicate things further, If you wish to bet on US Sporting events  then you will also need to understand American odds.
American odds are also known as lines or money line odds. If US Odds are indicated with a + sign then they show the amount you would win for a 100 stake. If there is a – sign then they show how much you need to stake to win 100.
So if you are betting on an event which has decimal odds of 5, or fractional odds of 4/1, the US Odds would be +400. If you are betting at decimal odds of 1.5, or fractional odds of ½, then the US odds would be -200US odds can be divided into positive odds and negative odds.
Negative US odds show how big a stake is needed for a winning of 100 units. Positive odds show how big your winnings are if you bet 100 units.

Gambling “Odd Terms” Explained!

Fixed Odds Betting

When you place a fixed odds bet, you are staking a certain fixed amount of money against the bookies money to predict the outcome of the event. The bookmakers odds reflect how much you will win from the bookmaker if your prediction is correct.

When you place a bet, the amount you bet is called your stake. This is in effect the amount you are willing to lose if you lose the bet and its the amont your winnings are calculated against.

Laying Odds
Laying Odds is the term used when a bookie takes your bet.. By agreeing your bet, the bookmaker is laying that particular outcome of the event. The bookmaker is risking their money to lay, or to promise to pay the winnings, should your bet be successful.

Odds Against
Odds against is the term used to describe a bet where you will receive a return of more than double your stake (basically 2/1 and above). The profit on the bet will be more than your oringal stake (dont forget you will also get your stake money back).

Even Money
Also known as EVS, this is when the return will be double your stake (so you stake £10 and you win £10 + your £10 stake back) . The profit on your bet will be the same as the amount you staked. This is normally used when as an example a boxing match and both boxers are equally likley to win. This doesnt always mean you are in with a 50% chance of winning though

Odds On
Odds on is the term used to describe a bet where you will need to stake more than you will win, In fractional terms this is anything with odds of less than EVS, so 1/2 is odds on. The word “on” indicates that the odds are reversed. You may hear the expression 2/1 on referring to a selection with odds of 1-2. This is most common in a horse race where one horse is the favourite to win and its pretty certain its going to win… So in that case the Odds on favourite ar 2/1 would mean that you need to place a stake of £2 in order to win £1 back (you still get your stake money as well, so for a £2 bet you would get £3 back.

Short Odds
This indicates that a selection has a good chance of winning. Short odds will be where you wouldn’t receive a large return for your investment. For example a horse at 6/4 would be considered short odds. The match for this would mean you bet £6, and win £4 profit + your £6 stake back to give you £10.. Obviously a massive difference to placing a £6 at 4/1 where you would get £24 in winnings and your original £6 back to give you £30 in total…

Long Odds
This means  that the bookies believe this result is very unlikley to happen.(forest beating Man City 10-0 for example) If you bet at long odds you will receive a really  good return on your stake if you are correct but obviously its less likly to happen. For example, a horse at 50/1 would be considered Long Odds and for every £1 you stake you would win £50 back + your £1 stake… Long odds can be exciting simply because of the size of the potential winnings… £100 bet on a horse at 50/1 would mean a win of £5000 + your £100 back…. Again.. the winnings are great because the bookies feel this outcome is very very unlikey to happen… Please be careful when placing bets at long odds.


For more information on betting odds please feel free to read this article on wikipedia

We here at Online Bookies always advise that you NEVER gamble more than you can afford to lose… If you have losses then its often best to cut your losses.. The damage can occur when people keep on betting more and more to try to recover the losses. Please read GAMBLE AWARE for more info