What are Betting Odds?
Odds are used to reflect the probability a specific outcome in an event. If you toss a coin, the probability of the coin landing on either heads or tails is 50%. Translated into odds, the odds will be 2.0 (decimal) or 1/1 (fractional) for both tossing a head and for tossing a tail.
Bookies calculate what they believe to be the real probability for each outcome in sporting events, then they translate that into odds for their punters. Remember that bookmakers always have their margins so they will usually offer odds slightly below what they consider to be the actual probability of a particular result or outcome occurring.
Different odd formats explained
A number of formats are used to represent betting odds. Fractional odds are most common in the UK, with the Decimal format being more popular in Europe. Other odds representations include Asian and American odds.
Decimal odds Explained
Decimal odds are a number by which you multiply your initial stake in order to ascertain your total return (comprising of your winnings + your original stake back).
For example: You want to bet £20 on an football match which offers the decimal odds of 2.3 for the home team to win. To find out how much you can win for a £20 bet if your selected team wins, you multiply the stake by the odds: 20 x 2.3 = 46. Your total winnings on the bet is £46. Subtracting your initial stake of £20 your net profit is £26. Quite simple once you get accustomed to it.
Fractional odds Explained
Fractional odds will show you how much you win on a bet relative to each unit which you stake.
For example if the fractional odds offered on a tennis match are 4/1, then your net win is 4 times your stake/bet. So of you bet £10 you get a total winning of £50, and a net profit of £40.
If you bet £20 on a result offering fractional odds of 6/4 how does this work out?
Simply divide the first number by the second to get your answer. (6/4 = 1.5), then multiply it with your stake (20 x 1.5 = 30) and your net profit is £30. Your total winning is: 30 + your stake 20 = £50.
Chose your own Odds format
Most online bookmakers offer odds in both decimal and fractional formats. You can bookmark this page in case you need a reminder on how to work out the odds in future.