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Betting Odds

Odds are the most important thing in betting. This is because if you do not bet with good odds you will never be successful in gambling. All good betting strategies revolve around receiving good value and odds are always the true representation of value. Whether that value is bad or good.

Here, we preach the importance of odds on a consistent basis which is why we believe you don’t have to look anywhere else in your search for knowledge on all things odds related. Odds are simple and complicated simultaneously. Meaning that they are easy to learn but not easy to master. There are many factors that need to be considered and decisions made will sometimes come down to personal subjections.

Just imagine this scenario. You win a bet but we tell you that you only made a fraction of the money you would have if you bet with bookmaker A.  Serious gamblers will be very interested to know more about bookmaker A and understand why this is the case.

Did you know for example that it’s possible to scan all the markets at once for example on numerous different bookmakers? An odds checker that can guarantee you are receiving the most value possible from an individual bet.  I highly advise you to use our free odds checker and place a bet directly in our free odds checker.

If any of these things are new to you let it be our privilege to make you fully geared up on this knowledge so the next time you bet, you will be betting with more reason and more strategy than you were doing previously.

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Sports odds

What Betting Odds Mean?

In theory, odds represent the likelihood of a certain outcome happening. For example, if you were to bet on the coin of a toss you should expect to see odds that represent a value of 50/50. Meaning that if you were to bet $1 on heads you should expect to double your money if your bet is successful. We say in theory as odds don’t always represent true value and we delve into this further in the article.

Imagine Roger Federer was playing a qualifier at Wimbledon in the first round. Can you imagine what the odds might look like in this scenario? Well, the odds for Federer will be so poor that they probably won’t be worth betting on. This is because a defeat for Roger Federer will represent a huge upset and will be considered by the bookies to be a massive longshot. Therefore, the odds that a bookmaker will offer will represent their beliefs and their obvious desire not to lose money.

Betting Odds Explained

If you are not familiar with betting odds they might at first appear a little daunting but we promise you they are not that complicated. Odds are there to represent what you will return from your initial stake. For example, if you see odds of 4.0. This means that these odds will return four times your original stake. Therefore, a $10 stake will return a sum of $40. Therefore, in theory, your bet has about a 4 in one chance of being successful.

Using Betting Odds to Calculate Probability

In any betting event, there are a number of outcomes that you can predict by calculating the probability of success. If your calculations are correct then you will win money in the long run. Take a rolling dice, for instance, when we roll a dice there are 6 possible outcomes that you can predict. If you bet the dice will roll ‘one’ then there is a 16.7% chance of the dice rolling one. Betting odds merely present the chances of something happening. Bookies in the UK show the betting odds in fractions like 4/7 for example. Others will allow you to view the bets in decimals.

You might be thinking that if bookmakers offered exact odds that they won’t make any money right? Well, you would be on to something. If you see the odds for a horse to finish in first place are about 7.0, does the bookmaker believe that this is a true indication of the horses implied chances? In theory yes, but in reality no. The odds you see will be a little lower than the real implied chance because bookmakers are looking to have an edge constantly. This is why exchange sites have become so popular because users can set their own odds and they are often much more attractive.

The Factors That Dictate Betting Odds

Quite simply betting odds are there to give us the value of our bet. In other words, the potential return on our investment. Implied chance refers to the chances of an outcome of a sporting event. There are many factors that go into this decision. The decision making factors in skill, form, and even luck. Basically, there is nothing significant that a bookmaker wouldn’t factor into their decision making. Odds change frequently also. For example, if Manchester United were favourites to win on the weekend but lost 3-0 midweek in Europe. This will alter the odds slightly. as new information has been provided to the ever more sophisticated calculation process. The odds will change more due to the severity that the bookmaker believes the circumstances will change the likelihood of the result.

So in summary the purpose of odds isn’t that complex. They are there to give us the value of our bet. It is then up to the user to work out the value of those odds. We will look into how to do this under the betting strategy part of this article.

Formats of Betting Odds

You may be aware that on different sites odds are formatted differently. Numerous sites also will give you the option to choose the format of your preference. This is very significant as when reading odds, it is useful to always use the same format as it is less likely we will make mistakes and there is no time wasted trying to convert the odds into our preferred format.

This format constitutes the potential return of a bet including stake. Decimals are more common because this format is considered the easiest to calculate. These are mainly popular in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Continental Europe. Although they are actually becoming the norm in most countries. This can be put down to the success of exchange betting sites.

With decimal odds, the underdogs and favourites can be recognised immediately and that too just by looking at the numbers. The decimal odds number displays the amount an individual win for each dollar wagered. Here, the number is seen as the total payout instead of the profit. To put it simply, the stake is already present in the decimal number and that makes its payout calculation much easier.

This is how the total payout will be calculated:

Stake x Odd = Payout

For example, there are two teams competing against one another. Here, we list the decimal odds for both teams.

Team 1 - 5.00

Team 2 - 1.4

So, in this case, if one bets $100 on Team 1 to win, this individual could make a payout of $500 i.e. $100 x 5.00.

In a similar fashion, a punter will earn a total payout of $140, that is if their $100 bet placed on Team 2 is successful. Inferring $100 from this return gives the punter the net profit earned.

Fractional odds, also referenced often as British odds, are the ones that British, as well as Irish bookies, most popularly used. These are generally displayed with either a slash signs (/) or a hyphen (-), for instance, 4/1 or 4-1 are simply read as “four-to-one”. Some of the world’s biggest bookies use Fractional odds, making them the most favored odds in the world.

A fractional listing of 4/1odds would actually mean that a punter would win $4 against every $1 they wager. This also results in the punter receiving their $1 back, i.e. $1 - the amount that they wagered. Ultimately, this is the ratio of the amount won to the bet made, which means that the punter receives their stake of $1 along with the profit i.e. $4, making it a total payout of $5.

The formula for fractional odds be indicated like so:

Payout = [Stake x (Numerator/Denominator)] + Stake in which the numerator/denominator acts as the fractional odd.

So, once again, if a punter stakes $10 at 4-1, they receive a total payout of $50, i.e. the $40 profit along with the initial stake of $10.

American odds, also commonly referred to as Money line odds are most popular in the US. For this, the odds for favourites come with a minus (-) sign next to them. The minus sign indicates the amount a punter needs to stake in order to win $100. On the other hand, the odds for underdogs come with a plus (+) sign next to them, which shows the amount won for every $100 bet placed.

The punter wins their initial wager back in both cases along with the amount they win. It is also to be noted that the difference between the odds for the underdog and the favourite is widened just as the probability of winning for the latter increases.

A simple example would be:

If we were to price two teams, i.e. Team 1 and Team 2, playing against each other, with the money line odds being

Team 1 - +485

Team 2 - -660

Team 1 being offered odds of +485 means that there is a much lower probability on it winning the game. A punter would need to risk $100 on Team 1 to potentially win $485. If Team 1 happens to beat all odds, the punter would win back their initial stake of $100 as well as the $485 won. The total payout being $585.

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Comparing Different Types of Odds

Whether you prefer to bet with fractional odds or decimal odds it’s all just a matter of preference. If you are already familiar with one, it is unlikely that you will feel any need to change. Furthermore, the probability of each format remains the same. It’s only the presentation of the betting odds that are different. Exchange sites, always use decimal odds and this is with good reason. The odds are far easier to calculate this way.

How are Betting odds calculated?

Calculating the probability of a bet’s success is quite easy. Let's say the odds of your winnings are 9/1 then you can calculate them as:

1 / (9+1) = 0.10. Hence there is a 10% chance that an event is going to happen.

Similarly, you can calculate 4 / 1 as 1/ (4+1) =0.20. That means there is a 20% chance that an event is going to happen.

 /1 calculated 1 / (9 + 1) = 0.10 –  10% chance that an event is going to happen.

4/1 calculated 1 / (4 + 1) = 0.20 – 20% chance that an event is going to happen.

1/1 calculated 1 / (1 + 1) = 0.50 – 50% chance that an event is going to happen.

1/4 calculated 4 / (4 + 1) = 0.80 – 80% chance that an event is going to happen.

Betting odds can also help you calculate your winnings as well. In this way, you can find how much money you will win if an event you have placed bets on will happen. Let’s say the odds of an event is 4/1, this implies for every $1 bet, you will get 4€.

Similarly, 9/1 implies for every 1€ you will get 9€ and so on. I advise you to take a look on the examples below with different formats.

8/1 implies for every £1, you will get £8.

5/1 implies for every £1, you will get £5.

1/1 implies for every £, you will get £1.

1/5 implies for every £5, you will get £1.

  • 8.0 calculated in to (8.0 * £10 stake) – £10 stake = winnings of £70.
  • 5.0 calculated in to (5.0 * £10 stake) – £10 stake = winnings of £40
  • 3.5 calculated in to (3.5 * £10 stake) – £10 stake = winnings of £25
  • 1.30 calculated in to (1.30 * £10 stake) – £10 stake =winnings of £1.30
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Why Different Bookmakers Have Different Odds?

You might have noticed that different sites offer different odds for their customers. This can be for several reasons. The most basic one being that a particular bookmaker might read the event differently. Meaning that they believe the chances of a certain outcome happening to not match what their competitors believe.

Another reason could be a bookmaker’s business model. Some bookmakers pride themselves on offering some of the best odds on the market. Therefore, they have to live up to their promises otherwise they will be met with a lot of scrutinies.

Sometimes a lot of money will be placed on a particular team or person to win an event. In this case, the odds will reflect this. For example, if a team is 1.5 to win and a large number of bets come in on this selection these odds will shorten. On other sites, there might not have been such volume on certain selections.

Also, we just have to admit that there are bookmakers who do not offer very good odds. These bookmakers might have several things going for them but if they do not offer good odds we always advise people to avoid these bookmakers.

How Can Odds Influence Our Betting Strategy?

Hugely! This is because all good betting strategies centre on receiving good value. And as we have illustrated many times now good value is always represented by good odds. If we go back to the coin toss example if you were to receive odds of 2.1 for the coin landing on tails, you should take it every day of the week.

This is an extreme example but it illustrates the point that to win in betting you need odds that statistically will make you a winner in the long run. Some strategies evolve around on only betting on odds of 4.0 or over for example. Just emphasizing that odds are at the heart of all thing strategy.

The math behind betting odds and strategies can show whether it is worth placing a bet on an event or not.  Mathematically speaking, betting strategies will not change the expected long-term results of games with independent trials. It does however make for higher odds of winning at the cost of increased risk.

Examples of Odds Betting Strategies

For this example, we will be placing a bet on an exchange betting site. Team A is going to play Team B on the weekend and we have inside knowledge that team A will field a weakened team.

Let’s imagine the odds for team B are 3.0. If the rumours are true these odds will almost certainly decrease. Therefore, if you bet with odds of 3.0 you are likely to be betting on odds that represent very good value.

The reason we used this example is to display how odds change with new information. Another example can be something like this scenario. You see an underdog playing very well and the score is still 0-0. If you were to bet now you might be receiving odds that are very good value. Discover more in our betting strategies page.

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It is always worth preaching the importance of odds. After all, they represent the true value of what we are betting on. In our opinion, if you want to take your betting seriously you need to justify every bet that you make. So, this justification will always ultimately come down to the question, am I getting a good value? And this value will always be represented by the odds you are betting on.

Justification is the keyword here. If you were to bet on a horse at 5.0, 4/1, you need to ask yourself why you are placing your bet. To simplify a more complicated process the overall conclusion will need to be something like this. I believe this horse has a better than 5 to 1 chance of winning this race. Sound extremely easy right?

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