UNDERSTANDING BETTING ODDS
Betting odds can be extremely confusing and the information they convey can be overwhelming. When it comes to understanding betting odds, it’s important to start with the basics. Once you have all that covered, it becomes easy to interpret what all those darn numbers mean.
How Betting Odds Work: Fractions vs decimals
Both ways of calculating odds are similar with neither being better than the other. Most people consider decimals easier to grasp and in turn, many online sportsbooks and locations have begun displaying their odds in decimals. Several of the larger betting sites provide bettors with both options. The next main difference between decimal and fractional odds is the fact fractional odds only calculate winnings and do not show the returned stake.
This is when odds are displayed as a fraction. For example, when you see 4/1 you can calculate the odds by completing the following equation: 1 / (4+1) = 0.20, which translates into a 20% chance of the proposed outcome.
Alternatively, betting odds can also be viewed in terms of decimals instead of fractions. Although some people find decimals an easier way to view the equation, it is really a personal preference. The equation to determine betting odd probabilities with decimals is: your winnings = (odd * stake). For example: 4.0 can be calculated as (4.0 * $10 stake) = $40 in winnings.
This form of betting is straight forward, you simply bet on which team will win outright. These are displayed in either a positive or negative form. When displayed as positive, with a + symbol, it refers to the amount of money you can will if you stake a certain amount. When displayed as a negative, with a – symbol, it refers to the amount of money you will have to stake in order to win a certain monetary amount.
Over under odds are also commonly referred to as “totals” betting. Usually listed after a point spread for a game, totals are listed as a number such as 60.5, meaning that you would bet on the total score of the game being higher than or lower than that number. For example, should the number be 60.5 for a particular game, you are betting on whether the total number of points scored by both teams will be under 60.5. When displayed by oddsmakers it may look like this:
60.5 o -105
60.5 u +110
This means that to bet the over you will have to bet $105 to win $100. To bet the under, you will risk $100 for the opportunity to win $110.
Basically speaking, a point spread is a number the oddsmaker sets as the median between the two sides playing in the game in question for the purpose of creating betting excitement for both sides. The team that is considered the favorite (also referred to as ‘chalk’) should be given a decent number of points to spark interest while simultaneously not allowing the underdog to be such a longshot that bettors don’t want to risk the chance. For instance, if looking to bet on an NFL game and you check for the point spread between a Minnesota Vikings vs. the New Orleans Saints game it would be displayed as:
New Orleans -5.5 (-105)
Minnesota +5.5 (-105)
The favored team is displayed with the minus (-) value and the underdog is displayed with the plus (+) value. The point spread being set at 5.5 points means if you bet on the Saints, you think that they will win the game by six or more points.
A future is a bet on which team you believe will win a division, conference, league, or championship game.
These are fun bets that range from player performance predictions, such as:
“Will Tom Brady throw more than 3 touchdown passes?”
To bets regarding practically any aspect of the game, like:
“Will the team that wins the coin toss receive?”
There you have it, the basics of understanding betting odds. Understanding these basics will make it easier for you to properly assess risk when placing future bets.