About sports betting odds
Odds play a very crucial role in how the sports betting world operates, and are considered very critical for both the sports bettors as well as bookmakers such as Bet365, William Hill etc. Basically, these odds are indicators of the extent you’ll get paid on your winning bets and are a reflection of the expected probability of outcomes for the concerned events.
Although odds aren’t based on any exact science, once you get around their concept, you are highly likely to improve your winning percentages in the long-term. Our intention here is to acquaint you with the topic of sports betting odds, and familiarise you with this term at all levels of the sports betting endeavour. We’ll also learn about some commonly used sports betting terms, apart from taking you through all the popular formats of betting odds – American, fractional, decimal etc. In addition, we’ll go over how you can make the best of all this information too.
What’s meant by chance and how it is related to sports betting odds?
Look up any online and off-line dictionary and you can see chance being defined as the possibility of occurrence of some event. Putting it in other words, chance is actually the measure of the probability of an event. The simplest example of chance can be witnessed in a coin toss, wherein the probability of getting tails or heads stands at an equal 50%. In the same way, whenever you roll a dice, the chances of getting any particular outcome are identical 16.66% (worked out by dividing 100% by 6 possible outcomes).
On the other hand, when it comes to various sports events, there are all sorts of side factors that may impact the outcomes. Regardless, the same principle can be applied to calculate chances of occurrence of any outcome, normally presented in the way of betting odds.
About fractional odds
Unlike a good number of European countries wherein bookmakers regularly use the decimal odds, almost every UK-based online casino, bookmaker and sports bettor has traditionally used fractions for understanding the probability or chance of occurrence of various events. With the mention of online casino, let’s tell you about, which is a must-visit website for anyone looking for detailed info on the best online casinos as well as the bonuses offered by them.
As majority of us may already be familiar with the fractional odds, we’ll quickly provide you with a recap of it. Simply put, when talking about fractional odds, the first number of the fraction tells the extent you’ll win by placing a bet equal to the second number. For instance,
If the provided odds on a certain outcome are 4/1, and the bet amount is £ 1, you’re going to receive £ 4 on that bet as winnings. Please note that the quoted odds don’t include your returns from the bet amount. Hence, on the whole you’re going to receive total of £ 5 back on a winning bet of £ 1 (at 4/1 odds).
Using some simple mathematics, you can figure that in some of these odds, the number on the left hand side may be lower compared to the number on the right-hand side, for instance, 2/8. In such instances, it’s referred to as ‘odds on.’ To explain it better, if you were to place an £ 8 bet with these 2/8 odds, you’d get £ 2 as winnings, apart from your original bet amount of £ 8. Hence, your total return would be £ 10 if you win this bet.
The following table tells us more precisely about the implied probability in case of certain odds. By working out implied probability, you can figure out the probability of a certain result.
Bet amount / Provided odds / Won amount / Implied Probability
£ 100 / 2/1 / £ 200 / 33.3%
£ 100 / 7/2 / £ 350 / 22.2%
£ 150 / 12/1 / £ 1800 / 7.7%
£ 200 / 10/3 / £ 666.7 / 23.1%
£ 125 / 3/10 / £ 375 / 76.9%
£ 100 / 5/6 / £ 83.3 / 54.5%
Although this may seem slightly confusing and daunting to you initially, what’s great here is that once you’ve placed your bet, the betting slip provided by the offline or online casino cum bookmaker, will automatically tell you about your potential winnings. This facility can be god sent especially when you are placing several different bets in an accumulator, wherein the winnings get carried forwarded to the next wager.
Other popular odds formats
There are several different ways you can work out the sports betting odds and fractional odds is only one among them. Furthermore, it is fairly easy to switch between all these odds, more so when you are placing bets at some popular online casino, for instance the likes of Bet365 and others. All you need to do is indulge in a few mouse clicks and you can see the prices reflected in your desired format. As expected, the payout rate remains the same for all of them. Provided that you are able to decipher the data that is provided to you, making the right choice can be extremely important in this regard. Let’s now go over the basics of American and European odds formats, along with some examples of their working.
Also popularly referred to as European and digital odds, decimal odds format is quite popular in the European content, Canada and Australia. In case of decimal betting odds, you can calculate your total winnings on the bet, which is inclusive of the original stake amount as well as the profit. Decimal odds are commonly used in trading, and hence you’ll find them widely used on all betting exchanges.
The example provided below clearly shows the working behind decimal odds:
Chelsea is hosting Leicester and the decimal odds provided for the Away Win / Draw / Home win are as follows: 8.5 / 5.25 / 1.33. The formula used here is pretty simple to understand. We’ll use £ 100 bet for every outcome. The calculation for it is:
Profit = (bet amount x odds) – bet amount
Profit from Chelsea win: (£ 100 x 1.33) - £ 100 = £ 33
Profit from draw: (£ 100 x 5.25) - £ 100 = £ 425
Profit from Leicester win: (£ 100 x 8.5) - £ 100 = £ 750
As can be made out from the name itself, American odds are most commonly used and are highly popular in the Atlantic Ocean region. They are also referred to as a money line odds or simply lines. What makes them stand out from the rest of the odds formats is that you’ll notice either a minus or a plus sign in them.
So, if the provided odds have a plus sign in them, the specific numbers suggest the amount you will win by placing a £ 100 bet (excluding the bet amount). On the other hand, when it comes to the odds with minus sign or the negative odds, they suggest the amount of money you must bet in order to win £ 100.
For example, if the provided odds for a Real Madrid win in a specific football match are 10/1 in terms of fractional odds, the corresponding odds on American format would be +1000.
In the same way, if Roger Federer is provided odds of 5/16 of winning a specific tennis match against Andy Murray, these odds would translate into -320 in the American odds system.
Calculating implied probability from odds
There is nothing denying the fact that bookmakers are a pretty clever bunch. They have a huge number of people on their side who regularly study all possible aspects of different sports. What’s so special about this modern-day Internet age is that every possible sports-related statistic is available at the click of a mouse button.
So if you need to figure the number of times Manchester United has won its home games? Or How many goals Ronaldo scored in the past season? Or How many years has it been that Liverpool won the title? All such details can be easily and quickly accessed on the Internet.
Although you may argue that when you see any odds displayed, they must be interpreted purely as odds. All they tell you is the amount you stand to win if you bet a certain specific amount based on them. But, if you look closely you’ll observe that odds can actually be very clever indicators of the likelihood of the event under consideration.
We say the ‘likelihood’ because that’s actually what they’re all about – the chances of something happening after experts have analysed hundreds of perhaps thousands of different variables. Although these odds may not always be the correct representation of the probability of an event, most of the times they are good indicators. And having a good understanding of probability can give you a major edge in your sports betting endeavours and in your efforts to get the better of the bookmaker or offline / online casino you normally bet with!
When it comes to sports bettors in the United Kingdom, they are pretty used to odds that are displayed in terms of fractions such as 2/1, 2/5, 7/1 etc. Even if you’re someone who doesn’t gamble regularly, you may have come across Rooney being offered at 5/1 for scoring the first goal against Real Madrid, in your nearest Ladbrokes. From number 5/1, we can infer that if we place a £ 100 bet on that possibility, and Rooney indeed scores the first goal against real Madrid, we’ll get £ 500 as winnings, apart from the original stake of £ 100, making the overall returns a total of £ 600.
But what are the chances of that to actually happen?
That is what implied probability of odds is all about!
Calculating implied probability for fractional odds
In case of fractions like 5/1, we can figure the implied probability by dividing the denominator (which in this case is 1) by the sum of the numerator and denominator (5 + 1), and then multiplying the result by 100. It’ll give us the implied probability of the concerned fractional odds provided by the bookmaker, telling us how confident the bookmaker is about that particular outcome.
So, for the above discussed example, the implied probability can be worked out as follows:
Implied probability = (1 / (1 + 5)) x 100 = 16.66
So, as per this bookmaker, Wayne Rooney has a 16.66% chance of scoring the first goal against Real Madrid.
Let’s look at another example of some random horse race that Bet365 is offering 7/2 odds on a horse known as ‘prettycoolrun’ for the possibility of it running 12.25 at the Fairview. Employing the same calculations as discussed above, the implied probability of this event as per Bet365 can be worked out as follows:
Implied probability = (2 / (2+7)) x 100 = (2/9) x 100 = 0.2222 x 100 = 22.22
Hence, as per Bet365, ‘prettycoolrun’ has a 22.22% chance of running 12.25 at the Fairview.
On a side note, this website is a must-visit for anyone who bets regularly on Bet365, wishes to learn more about it and wants to stay updated about its bonus offerings from time-to-time.
Calculating implied probability for decimal odds
In case you’re more used to decimal odds and not fractions, you may find it far easier to figure out the implied probability behind the odds provided by your bookmaker or online casino. It can be worked out by the simple formula: (1 divided by the offered decimal odds) x 100.
So, if Real Madrid is being offered at 1.60 to score a win over Arsenal in an upcoming football match by Bet365, a highly popular online casino cum bookmaker, these odds imply that every £ 10 bet on Real Madrid is going to get you £ 6 back. You can simply divide 1 by 1.60 and then multiply the resulting figure with 100, to arrive at the implied probability. So,
Implied probability = (1 / 1.60) x 100 = 0.6250 x 100 = 62.50%
Having talked enough about implied probability, please note that the heart can sometimes get the better of the head and upsets do happen every now and then! Nevertheless, having a fair idea about the probabilities of various outcomes can be very useful in your sports betting endeavor, more so in case of accumulator bets.