Understanding Betting Odds
All experienced sports gamblers know that to be successful you must have a good knowledge of not only what sport you’re gambling on (be it horse racing, football, tennis, basketball, or baseball) but also the type of odds that are being used.
Understanding the different odds systems and variances between pricing structures can be the difference between small and large wins. From traditional fractional odds, to decimal and onto specialised Asian odds. Each of which we will now explain.
Fractional odds are the most commonly seen odds and are the odds that are most often seen online, they are represented by two numbers separated by a dash (e.g. 10/1 or 6/4). The best way to treat them is just like simple fractions. If you divide the first number by the second, you will get a multiplier. For example, 10/1 means that whatever you stake on this bet you will receive 10 times your stake back if you win. So, £1 on a 10/1 bet will give you £10 profit. For £1 on 6/4 you just need to divide 6 by 4, giving you a multiplier of 1.5. Therefore if you stake £1 on a 6/4 bet you will return profit of £1.50.
However, it is important to remember that when you bet and win you also get your stake back on top of your profit. So, £1 at 10/1 will give you £10 (profit), plus your £1 stake back equalling a total return of £11, and £1 at 6/4 will give you £1.50 (profit), plus your £1 stake back equalling a total return of £2.50.
So the fraction helps explain how much your profit will be, but you must remember to add your stake as well.
Online betting sites can also quote odds in a decimal format (this is most commonly seen on the betting site Betfair). Decimal odds make things simpler since you do not have to deal with fractions and calculating winnings using more complicated fractions like 10/11.
Decimal odds, unlike fractional odds, reflect a multiplier that will give you your total return (winnings plus stake). For example, if a team are 10/1 in fractional odds, this would equal 11.00 in decimal odds. If you put £1 on an outcome at decimal odds of 11.00 you will win £11 total returns (simply 1 multiplied by 11.00).
Decimal odds are simply a multiplier by which you can multiply your unit stake and calculate your total returns (profit plus returned stake). It does make things a little simpler, however if you like to keep your winnings and total returns (stake plus profit) calculations separate (for example if you want to compare profit to stake as a percentage of stakes), then stick to fractional.
American Odds (MoneyLine)
American Odds, otherwise known as US Moneyline or US, are a little more confusing. Here the market is set to a base unit.
In American Odds, anything written in negative is an odds-on favourite to win. Anything positive, meanwhile, is odds against for the underdog. Put simply, whenever there is a minus (-) you lay that amount to win a hundred units. Where there is a plus (+) you win that amount for every hundred units you bet.
For example, you bet $175 bet on a -175 favourite. A correct pick would yield $100 in profit. A $100 bet on +125 would win you $125.
Hong Kong Odds
Hong Kong Odds(HK) are similar to the Decimal Odds we covered above, but the original stake is not included. In that respect it’s more like Fractional Odds with the original stake taken out.
For example, a bet on match odds of 2.00 with a bet unit of 1.00 would return 2.00 x 1.00 (profit of 2.00) + 1.00 stake = 3.00. Decimal Odds would be listed as 3.00 for the same bet. These are very simple in comparison to the other forms shown on this page, and can be said to be easier to understand for the beginner.
Indonesian Odds (IND), otherwise known as ‘Indo Odds’, are quite similar to the American Odds, but divided by 100.
For example, instead of showing a selection at +175, the odds are displayed as +1.75. A bet of 100 units will win 175 units, or to put it simpler a bet of 1 unit will win the bettor 1.75 units. Similarly a bet at -1.75 means the bettor needs to stake 1.75 units to win 1 unit, plus your stake returned.
Malaysian or Malay Odds (MY) are shown as decimals, as per Hong Kong Odds. However, these can be displayed both positively and negatively. Malay odds of 0.75 will give the bettor a profit of 0.75x your stake. So for example, 100 units staked = a return of 175 units (winnings + stake together). Malay odds of 0 are the equivalent to an even-money bet where the Fractional Odds would be 1/1 and the Decimal Odds 2.00. They have a base unit of 1.00 instead of the 100.00 in US odds.
Therefore a favourite backed odds-on at -107 in US Moneyline would be 0.93 in Malay. In Decimal odds it would be written as 1.93, and 93/100 in Fractional Odds.
In Malay Odds, for a 1.00 unit stake the bettor would receive 0.93 back. If the Malay odds are negative it has a <50% chance of winning. Malay odds of -0.10 means you need only 0.10 to win 1.00, which is the equivalent of a 10/1 priced possibility in Fractional odds.
If you don’t understand one of these though don’t worry. Most sites will let you chose how you see the odds, so if you have a preference you can just change the settings on the site to make the odds show up either as fractional or decimal.