Sports Betting Odds Explained: The 3 Types (American Odds, Fractional/UK Odds, Decimal/European Odds)

For any betting platform, from the casino to the sports sections, odds are very important, so let's take a look at all sports betting odds.

Sports Betting Odds: How to Calculate Them

They are key to every betting site and the reason is that they project the winnings. With a good combination of odds, a player can get high returns when the luck is on his/her side. But still, small odds can still win you money and it depends on the stake you had. You may have come through a platform that asks the odds format you prefer. A point to note is that there are three types of odds offered on most platforms and they include; American, Fraction and Decimal. The odds will still project the same returns but punters need to understand them better. Below we dive into them.

American Odds

American Odds are also called money line odds or US odds and as the name suggests they are popular among the United States residents. For this type of odds, there are two key categories and they include; Favorite and Underdogs. The odds format is built purely on them and they will be identified through a symbol. For the favorite in an event, the odds will have a minus symbol (-). In this case, the number with the highest value will translate to a better chance of winning the bet. It means that a team with odds -250 stands the greatest chance of winning than a team with odds -130. For the underdog, the symbol accompanying it will be a positive sign (+). In this, the higher the value of the number, the less the chances of winning. So an underdog with odds of +300 is better than an underdog with odds of +500. Another important factor to note about the odds is that there is a baseline value in which the odds are attached to. The value is $100. So for the favorites, a player risks his/her money to win $100 and for the underdogs, a player will risk $100 to win an amount. What is standard is that for every side you back, whether the favorite or the underdog, the initial stake will be given and so is the winnings that you will have won.

This is what it means. A team say Manchester United is playing against Cardiff City, the odds may be given as follows;

Manchester United -300

Cardiff City +500

With Cardiff, the probability of winning according to the bookmakers is lower. For the player who still thinks that Cardiff can spring a surprise, he/she will stake $100 and when the surprise is realized, the player will be awarded the $500 + $100 = $600. The player will carry $600 home.

For those that will back Manchester United to win, they will have to stake $300 so as to win $100. If the team wins, the player will be awarded the $100 plus the $300 stake. Hence, $100 + $300 = $400

Sports Betting Odds

Fractional Odds

For this type of odds, you will find them referred to as British odds, traditional odds or UK odds and they are popular in Britain and Ireland. They claim their origin from the vintage horse racing events hence the traditional aspect. As the name suggests, for the odds, you will find them given by a slash symbol (/) or a hyphen symbol (-). For example, 7/2 or 7-2 which will be termed as ‘seven-to-two’. On the slash front, the first number is the numerator and will signify what you will expect to win. The second number, also the denominator, will signify the amount of bet. In simpler terms, it is referred to as ‘Your Winnings/Your Stake’. So for odds of 7/2, it means that you will stake $2 and get the winnings as $7 and your stake will be included to bring a total of $9.

To calculate the returns, the formula below will be applied;

Returns = [ Stake x {Number 1/Number 2}] + Stake

In the case of the 8/4, if the stake was $10, the returns will be calculated as; [10 x {8/4}] + $10 = $30

An example is as follows;

Manchester United – 8/5

Arsenal – 5/4

Chelsea – 7/8

In the teams provided above, Chelsea will hold the team with the lowest profit which means it has the most favorite tag. The least favorite is Manchester United. With a stake of $8, you will receive winnings of $7. For Manchester, with a stake of $5, you will receive winnings of $8 and for Arsenal, an $8 bet will translate winnings of $5.

If my standard stake was $100, the following are the total returns;

Manchester United – [$100 x {8/5}] + $100 = $260

Arsenal – [$100 x {5/4}] + $100 = $225

Chelsea – [$100 x {7/8}] + $100 = $188

Decimal Odds

For the decimal format, this has to be the easiest mode of them all. They are also referred to as; Continental odds, Digital odds or European odds. They are very common in Australian, African and European Continents. With Canada also, you can get some bookies using the format. The odds are the most popular of the three and the reason behind this is the ease that takes less than 5 seconds to understand them. For this type of odds, identifying the favorites and underdogs is an easy task. The team given the highest value in number is the underdog and the team with the least value in number is the favorite. There is a common value in this like the case of the American format. However, the standard value is $1 in their case. A point to note is that Decimal odds are different in how they address the returns. Contrary to the rest where the profit was given and the stake added thereafter, for decimal, the number will represent total returns. Your stake will be included in the projected returns.

With that in mind, the calculation of the total returns gets to be easy and it is as follows;

Returns = Stake x odds

For example, in an English Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal, the odds may be divided as follows;

Manchester United – 2.30

Draw – 3.60

Arsenal – 2.50

If your stake is $100 and you pick a draw as the outcome of the match, your total returns will be;

$100 x 3.60 = $360

To break it down, your profit will be $360 – $100 = $260

To sum it up!

With the knowledge of how the sports betting odds are presented and how to count the returns, players are advised to use the type of odds they understand with no difficulty at all. A point to note is that all formats will project the same winnings and it is only a matter of what a player is comfortable with. In the cases where a bookmaker is rigid with only one format that you are not familiar with, you can use a conversion calculator to convert them to the type of your liking. You can access the service through here Odds Converter