How to Read Betting Odds: Explainer Guide

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Whether you’re a seasoned bettor or just starting, understanding how to read betting odds is essential. Knowing how to read and interpret different types of odds can help you make informed decisions when placing your bets and ultimately increase your chances of winning. This article will provide a comprehensive guide to learning how to read betting odds, including American, fractional, esports, football, soccer, tennis, money line, horse racing, baseball, and basketball.

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Understanding Betting Odds

Before we dive into the different types of odds, let’s first discuss why understanding betting odds is important. Essentially, odds represent the probability of an event occurring. When you place a bet, you are essentially wagering on the likelihood of that event occurring. Odds can help you determine the potential payout for a particular bet and the level of risk involved.

There are several different types of betting odds, including American, fractional, and decimal odds. Each type of odds is used in different parts of the world and for different sports. In the following sections, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide to reading each type of odds and examples from various sports.

Continue reading: How to Convert Odds to Percentages and Probability

How to Read American Betting Odds

how to read betting odds
Betting on the NFL? It’ll most likely be with American odds. (Image Credit: NFL)

American betting odds or money line odds are commonly used in the United States for sports like football, basketball, and baseball. These odds are expressed as a positive or negative number, with positive numbers indicating the underdog and negative numbers indicating the favourite.

To read American betting odds, follow these steps:

  • Identify the favourite and the underdog in the matchup.
  • If the odds are positive, that number represents the potential payout for a $100 bet. For example, if the odds are +150, a $100 bet would yield a $150 payout.
  • If the odds are negative, that number represents the amount you would need to bet to win $100. For example, if the odds are -200, you would need to bet $200 to win $100.

Here’s an example of American betting odds in football:

  • New England Patriots -200
  • New York Jets +150

In this example, the Patriots are the favourite and the Jets are the underdog. A $200 bet on the Patriots would yield a $100 payout, while a $100 bet on the Jets would yield a $150 payout.

Read also: How are betting odds calculated?

How to Read Fractional Betting Odds

Fractional betting odds, also known as British odds, are commonly used in the United Kingdom and Ireland for sports like horse racing and soccer. These odds are expressed as a fraction, with the numerator representing the potential payout and the denominator representing the bet amount.

To read fractional betting odds, follow these steps:

  • Identify the potential payout and bet amount in the fraction.
  • Add the numerator to the bet amount to determine the total potential payout.
  • If the fraction is less than 1, the odds represent an underdog. For example, if the odds are 5/1, a $1 bet would yield a $5 payout.
  • If the fraction is greater than 1, the odds represent a favourite. For example, if the odds are 1/5, you would need to bet $5 to win $1.

Here’s an example of fractional betting odds in soccer:

  • Manchester United 2/1
  • Liverpool 3/2
  • Draw 2/1

In this example, Manchester United is the underdog, with a potential payout of $2 for every $1 bet. Liverpool is the favourite, with a potential payout of $1.50 for every $1 bet. The odds of a draw are also 2/1

esports betting odds
Image Credit: CNBC

How to Read Decimal Betting Odds

To read decimal betting odds, multiply your bet amount by the odds to determine the potential payout. For example, if the decimal odds are 1.75 and you bet $100, your potential payout would be $175 (1.75 x $100). Decimal odds are commonly used in Europe, Canada, and Australia for various sports, including soccer, tennis, and basketball. They represent the total payout, including the original bet amount, and make it easier to calculate potential winnings. Understanding how to read decimal betting odds can help you make informed decisions when placing your bets and increase your chances of winning.

How to Read Esports Betting Odds

Esports, or competitive video gaming, is a rapidly growing industry that’s also becoming popular for betting. Esports betting odds are similar to American betting odds but are used specifically for betting on esports events. These odds can be expressed as positive or negative numbers, with positive numbers indicating the underdog and negative numbers indicating the favourite.

To read esports betting odds, follow these steps:

  • Identify the favourite and the underdog in the matchup.
  • If the odds are positive, that number represents the potential payout for a $100 bet. For example, if the odds are +200, a $100 bet would yield a $200 payout.
  • If the odds are negative, that number represents the amount you would need to bet to win $100. For example, if the odds are -150, you would need to bet $150 to win $100.

Here’s an example of odds in betting on League of Legends:

  • Team Liquid -150
  • Cloud9 +200

In this example, Team Liquid is the favourite and Cloud9 is the underdog. A $150 bet on Team Liquid would yield a $100 payout, while a $100 bet on Cloud9 would yield a $200 payout.

It’s important to note that esports betting odds can change rapidly as new information becomes available or as the game progresses. So, it’s important to stay informed and adjust your bets accordingly. You can check up on our esports betting guides to ensure you stay informed on betting in the world of esports.

How to Read Football Betting Odds

Football betting odds, also known as soccer betting odds, are similar to fractional betting odds. These odds are expressed as decimals or fractions, with the potential payout including the original bet amount.

To read football betting odds, follow these steps:

  • Identify the potential payout and bet amount in the odds.
  • Add the two numbers together to determine the total potential payout.
  • The bet is considered an underdog if the odds are less than 2.0. For example, if the odds are 1.5, a $1 bet would yield a $1.50 payout.
  • If the odds are greater than 2.0, the bet is considered a favourite. For example, if the odds are 3.0, a $1 bet would yield a $3.00 payout.

Here’s an example of football betting odds:

  • Barcelona 1.5
  • Real Madrid 3.0
  • Draw 2.0

In this example, Barcelona is the favourite with odds of 1.5, meaning a $1 bet would yield a $1.50 payout. Real Madrid is the underdog with odds of 3.0, meaning a $1 bet would yield a $3.00 payout. The odds of a draw are 2.0.

Continue reading: 

How to Read Tennis Betting Odds

Tennis betting odds are similar to football betting odds and can be expressed as decimals or fractions. The potential payout includes the original bet amount.

To read tennis betting odds, follow these steps:

  • Identify the potential payout and bet amount in the odds.
  • Add the two numbers together to determine the total potential payout.
  • If the odds are less than 2.0, it’s considered to be underdog betting. For example, if the odds are 1.5, a $1 bet would yield a $1.50 payout.
  • If the odds are greater than 2.0, the bet is considered a favourite. For example, if the odds are 3.0, a $1 bet would yield a $3.00 payout.
how to read tennis betting odds
Image Credit: ATP

Here’s an example of tennis betting odds:

  • Novak Djokovic 1.25
  • Rafael Nadal 3.0
  • Draw 2.0

In this example, Novak Djokovic is the favourite with odds of 1.25, meaning a $1 bet would yield a $1.25 payout. Rafael Nadal is the underdog with odds of 3.0, meaning a $1 bet would yield a $3.00 payout. The odds of a draw are 2.0.

How to Read Horse Racing Betting Odds

Horse racing is a popular sport for betting, and understanding how to read horse racing betting odds is essential for any bettor. Depending on the region, horse racing odds are typically expressed in fractional or decimal form. In this section, we’ll focus on how to read fractional odds for horse racing.

To read horse racing betting odds, follow these steps:

  • Identify the name of the horse and the associated odds.
  • The odds will be expressed in fractional form, with the numerator representing the potential payout and the denominator representing the bet amount.
  • Add the numerator to the bet amount to determine the total potential payout.
  • If the fraction is less than 1, the odds represent an underdog. For example, if the odds are 5/1, a $1 bet would yield a $5 payout.
  • If the fraction is greater than 1, the odds represent a favourite. For example, if the odds are 1/5, you would need to bet $5 to win $1.

See also: What is each way betting?

Here’s an example of horse racing betting odds:

  • Horse A 3/1
  • Horse B 5/1
  • Horse C 7/2

In this example, Horse B is the underdog, with a potential payout of $5 for every $1 bet. Horse A is the favourite, with a potential payout of $3 for every $1 bet. Horse C is also an underdog, with a potential payout of $7 for every $2 bet.

It’s important to note that horse racing odds can change right up until the race begins, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the odds and adjust your bets accordingly.

How to Read Money Line Betting Odds

Money line betting odds are commonly used in sports like basketball and hockey. They are similar to American betting odds, but they use plus (+) and minus (-) signs instead of positive and negative numbers to indicate the favourite and the underdog.

To read money line betting odds, follow these steps:

  • Identify the favourite and the underdog in the matchup.
  • If the odds are positive, that number represents the potential payout for a $100 bet. For example, if the odds are +150, a $100 bet would yield a $150 payout.
  • If the odds are negative, that number represents the amount you would need to bet to win $100. For example, if the odds are -200, you would need to bet $200 to win $100.
  • If the odds are even, it means that the two teams are evenly matched and the payout for a $100 bet would be $100.

Here’s an example of money line betting odds in basketball:

  • Los Angeles Lakers -120
  • Boston Celtics +110

In this example, the Lakers are the favourite with odds of -120, meaning you must bet $120 to win $100. The Celtics are the underdog with odds of +110, meaning a $100 bet would yield a $110 payout. This example can also be applied to baseball games where two teams have odds you can bet on.

It’s important to note that money line betting odds can change leading up to the game or event based on factors such as injuries, player changes, or changes in public opinion. Be sure to check the odds frequently to ensure you are making informed betting decisions.

How to Read Betting Odds Explained Video

Conclusion

Understanding how to read and calculate different types of betting odds is crucial for anyone interested in sports or esports betting. Betting odds represent the probability of an event occurring, and knowing how to interpret them can help you make informed decisions when placing your bets. From American to fractional, esports to horse racing, and soccer to basketball, each type of odds has its own unique format and method of calculation. By familiarizing yourself with the steps to read each type of odds, you can increase your chances of making successful bets and enjoying the thrill of sports betting. However, it’s important to remember that betting involves some level of risk, and it’s essential to bet responsibly and within your means.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I calculate my potential winnings?

To calculate your potential winnings, multiply your stake by the odds. Then add your stake to the result to get your total payout, including your original stake. For example, if you bet £10 on odds of 3.0, your potential winnings would be £30 (10 x 3). Your total payout, including your original stake, would be £40 (30 + 10).

What are the different types of odds?

There are three main types of odds: fractional odds, decimal odds, and American odds. Fractional odds are the most common in the UK and Ireland, while decimal odds are used in many European countries and Australia. American odds are primarily used in the US.

What is a betting line?

A betting line is a type of odds that represents the point spread, money line, or total for a particular sporting event. The line is used to help balance the betting action between the two teams or players by offering different odds for each side.

How do I interpret odds?

The lower the odds, the greater the probability of the outcome occurring. For example, odds of 1/5 mean there is a greater chance of that outcome happening than odds of 5/1. However, lower odds also mean lower potential winnings, while higher odds mean greater potential winnings but a lower probability of success.