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Betting Odds Explained in Our Beginner’s Guide

Getting the betting odds explained, doing math and understanding how they work can be quite difficult. This is why we created this guide. Many people do not know how to change odds format at betting sites, and even more, do not understand the difference between the different types. This article will give you a tonne of examples and help you understand everything you need to know about odds.

Everyone has different preferences when it comes to gambling, and the way the betting odds are displayed is a part of them. Our goal at is to help you settle in after you have signed up with a betting site and thus decided to create this page with info on how to change the odds and other related issues that you may have. Continue reading to find every type of betting odds explained.

How does chance relate to betting odds?

If you look up chance in the dictionary, you will see it described as “A possibility for something to happen”. So, it measures the probability of a certain event to happen. If you went to a stats class, you remember the coin toss example in which the chances for tails and heads are equal to 50%. Moreover, when you roll a dice, the possibilities are 16.67%, which makes them identical with the previous example. And now you are thinking “But 50% does not equal 16.67%”. You are right, but the coin has only two sides, and the dice has 6, so the numbers are different, but the probability is the same.

Unfortunately, sporting events are not so easy to predict, as there are a tonne more factors to consider. However, the outcome is calculated using the same principle, and you see it in the form of betting odds. Continue reading as we will continue discussing probability later on.

How to change betting odds?

how to change odds format at betting sitesThe process of changing the odds is different for each gambling website due to the different layouts, but the main conception is almost always the same. That way it does not matter which site you are using, the process should be fairly easy to understand.

We do not exclude the option that your bookmaker will use the odds format that you already prefer (fractional format is the default one in most cases). For our demonstration, we will use the popular bookmaker Stan James because we rate them very highly in our bookmakers’ reviews and can recommend them to you. So here is a simple step-by-step guide on how to change the betting odds at your bookmaker:

  • Sign in with your account (this is not necessary, but you cannot make a bet if you are not logged in)
  • Find the “Odds: Fractional” section which is located at the top-right part of the page and click on it
  • Select your preferred odds from the following options: Fractional, Decimal or American.
  • After you have done all of this, the odds on the page will change. If you want to revert to the original settings, just complete the steps again.

What are fractional odds?

How do odds work? How can you calculate the possible profits from fractional odds? Most of the countries in Europe use decimal odds, but we Brits were brought up with fractional ones. Most of you are already familiar with this type of odds, so this section is simply a recap.

This is very simple, and even if you are a newbie, you will get it right away. The first number of the fraction shows you how much you will get if you bet the amount that is shown in the second figure.

For example, if the odds are 4/1 and you place a bet of £1, you will win £4. This does not include the return of the money you staked so that you will get a total of £5 in total back.

However, the second number can be bigger than the first one. This is referred to as “odds on”. For example, the odds are 2/7. Thus, if you place a bet of £7, you will get £2 in addition to your initial £7, which comes to a total of £9. We will discuss how to calculate your possible winnings later on, so keep reading.

What is the difference between odds formats?

how to find the winning betting odds formatsThere are three major groups of betting odds that you can select, but keep in mind that your winnings will not be altered depending on your odds and are always constant. This is just to make things more comfortable for you, so here is what each type means:

  • Fractional Odds – These odds are mostly used in the UK and look like this: 3/1. This means that for every pound you bet (the left number from the two), you will get £3 back (the right number from the two) if your bet wins. The stake will also be given back to you, so don’t worry about that.
  • Decimal Odds – Decimal odds are gaining more popularity because they are fairly easy to work with. Basically, if the odds for the event are 2.00 and you bet £3, you will receive the stake multiplied by the odds (3×2) which means that the final amount is £6. Unlike the fractional odds, here the stake is included in the final sum.
  • American Odds – Very few people in the UK use American odds mainly because they are the most difficult ones to understand. Fractional Odds of 2/1 translate in 200.00 American Odds which means that you get 200% of the amount you bet and the sum itself.

We would not advise our readers to use American odds at all.

What is Probability?

This is an excellent question. In its most fundamental level, sports betting gives you the ability to predict the outcome of a particular event, and if you were correct, you will win a certain amount of money. There is a certain number of results for every game you can think of. Remember the dice example we spoke about earlier? As we mentioned, when you roll a dice, there are six possible outcomes. Thus, if you bet that you will roll a “one”, the chance for it to happen is 16.67%. So, betting odds just show us how likely a specific outcome of the event is to happen.

How can I use odds to calculate probability?

You are probably still thinking “How do betting odds work and how can I use them for my advantage?”. When you see 2 numbers separated by a slash, it is fractional odds. For example 10/1. You can use this to calculate the likelihood of a certain event with a simple calculation.

To make it easier to explain we will replace the numbers with letters. For example, 10/1 will become A/B. The formula is Probability % = B/ (A+B). We realise that this might sound too complicated, so we will give you several examples to make it clearer.

  • If the odds are 9/1. By using the formula we get 1 / (9 + 1) = 0.10. There is a 10% chance for this to happen.
  • If the odds are 4/1. By using the formula we get 1 / (4 + 1) = 0.20. There is a 20% chance for this to happen.
  • If the odds are 1/1. By using the formula we get 1 / (1 + 1) = 0.50. There is a 50% chance for this to happen.
  • If the odds are 1/4. By using the formula we get 4 / (4 + 1) = 0.80. There is an 80% chance for this to happen.

Now you got it! We are making progress. As you can see understanding betting odds is not so hard. So, when we are given a fraction, we can tell what the probability of the outcome that we bet on is. Continue reading to find out how much money you can win using odds.

How to use odds to calculate my winnings?

Odds let you sum of money you can win if you place a bet. To make it easier to understand, we are going to use the same examples as before. We will use A and B once again. So, for every value of B that you bet, you will get A plus the return of your original Stake.

  • 9/1 – For each £1 you place, you win £9.
  • 4/1 – For each £1 you place, you win £4.
  • 1/1 – For each £1 you place, you win £1.
  • 1/4 – For each £4 you place, you win £1.

Keep in mind that these do not include your original stake. You will get it back as well, but it is not added in the calculation.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are Evens odds?

  • Evens is usually presented in the betting sites as 1/1. If you bet on this proposition, you will win the same amount that you staked. The decimal equivalent is 2.00, and the probability is 50%. This is why this type of odds are often referred to as fifty-fifty.

  • What is vigorish and how do bookmakers change odds?

  • How do bookmakers change odds? In a perfect world, a bookie will have an equal amount of bets for both against and for a specific result. This is referred to as a “greenbook”. Imagine that 2 people are betting on the outcome of coin tossing and are placing £100 on the result.

    The bookie will most likely offer odds that equal 45%. However, you already know that the actual odds are 50% for both of the outcomes. This difference is called vigorish. It lets the bookie make a profit. If the two people choose opposing results, this will create a win-win situation for the bookmaker, since they will make a 10% profit regardless of the outcome.

    However, if both of them choose the same outcome, then the bookmaker might lose £200. There is the possibility to make a £200 profit as well. So, to reduce their liability, bookies will alter their odds. Let’s say that the two punters placed bets on tails. The bookmaker will reduce the odds to 42% and increase the figure on heads to 48% to encourage a balance.

  • How do bookmakers decide the odds?

  • There is a wide array of facts that is taken into consideration by every bookmaker when they decide what the odds for a specific event will be. The house edge comes first. When you sum up the probability for every outcome for a particular event, it will never be 100%. They consider how many people will gamble on an away win as well as how to optimise the profits without giving odds that are too small.

    Another crucial factor is the competitors’ performance. There are a tonne of websites that compare odds, in which you can see the amplitude of the prices for the best British bookies. There are much more factors, and most of them are regarding the event itself. For example, Chelsea’s current form in away games, Arsene Wenger’s latest press conference and Raheem Sterling’s latest injury.

  • Which bookie offers the best odds on football?

  • During the last several seasons, BetVictor were named as the best odds bookie for the Premier League. The operator parades this very proudly on their website by stating that they are offering the best deals 71% of the time. So you might want to give them a look.

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  • Melissa Welch
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