Betting Odds Explained

If you’re wanting to get into the wonderful world of sportsbook betting, then the first thing you’re going to both want to and need to know about is odds and how they work.

To many newcomers, they can be incredibly confusing on first glance, but with a little explanation, they’re both easy to understand and can enhance how you play dramatically.

Understanding odds is so important in succeeding in betting, not least for calculating the return you’ll make, but also for building accumulators, finding value and just generally uncovering the favoured outcome of an event.

So, where do you start? Here at Betting Apps we know all there is to know about betting odds, so you can uncover all you need to know before downloading the latest betting apps and picking a winner.

What Are Betting Odds?

What are betting odds_

Of course, the best place to start is with betting odds and what they actually are. In a nutshell, they offer you the probability of an event happening. The lower the odds, the more likely the event will occur.

There are a number of ways in which odds can be displayed, with you generally being able to choose which you prefer to use. All odds give you the same key information, this being the likelihood of an event happening, and how much return you’ll receive when placing a bet.

The main types of odds delivered by bookmakers are Fractional Odds and Decimal Odds, with American Odds also popular within the USA. All are relatively easy to calculate and you shouldn’t worry if you see odds you don’t quite understand. Below you’ll find an explanation to the varying types of odds and how to calculate them.

Types Of Betting Odds

Fractional Odds

Fractional Odds are the most common type of odds found on Android and iPhone betting apps and across all UK bookmakers. They essentially show how much you will win should a bet come through compared to how much you place on it.

Fractional odds will generally look something like this:


What this means is that there’s a one in five chance of the scenario within the event happening. Should the odds be 5/2, the chance of the event happening would be twice in every seven.

How To Calculate Fractional Odds

You can calculate your return incredibly easily with fractional odds. The first number of the fraction is the number you will win if you place a wager of the amount shown in the second number.

For example, using the same 4/1 odds again, for every £1 you placed, you would receive £4 back.

So, if you were to place £1 on a horse with odds of 4/1 and the horse won, you’d receive £4 back, as well as your stake returned, giving you a total return of £5. If you were to place £2 on the horse, the return you’d receive would be £10, £8 of winnings and your £2 stake.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are equally as easy to calculate but can appear a little more daunting than fractional odds. The favourite within decimal odds is always the outcome with the lowest decimal number and ultimately the higher the number, the higher your return will be.

Most bookmakers will allow you to switch to decimal odds and it can be a much quicker and easier way to calculate a return.

How To Calculate Decimal Odds

You can calculate your return very simply as the decimal is actually the return you’ll receive for every £1 placed. Unlike fractional odds, this includes your stake so you will never see a number below 1 with decimal odds betting.

To calculate your return, all you need to do is multiply your stake by the decimal. So, for example, if you were to bet £1 on a horse that had odds of 1.36, you’d receive £1.36 back as a return. If you were to bet £2 and the horse won, you’d receive £2.72.

American Odds

American odds explained

American is a lot less common in the UK but is still useful to understand. Also known as money line odds, they are displayed with a – or a + which highlight the amount you’ll win in accordance with $100.

They are relatively easy to understand, with the favourite outcome of the event usually having a minus figure and the underdogs having a positive. The lower the minus figure, the more likely the event is to happen. The higher the positive, the less likely the outcome will come through.

How To Calculate American Odds

American Odds are calculated in different ways depending on whether the odds you wish to place are positive or negative.

When you see odds as a minus, the figure you see is the amount you need to stake in order to see a $100 profit. For example, if you saw -740, you’d need to bet $740 in order to make a $100 profit, giving you $840 back.

Should you bet on an underdog with a positive number, for example -540, this is the figure you would win for every $100 you bet.

So, if you were to bet $100 you would receive $540 back, on top of stake giving you a total return of $640. If you were to bet $200, you’d receive $1,280.