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How do Odds Work in Betting?


You may be making friendly bets with your mates for years and almost always win them too. But do you know how odds work in betting?

At first, sports betting odds may be difficult to understand, especially since you may see the odds posted in multiple ways. From fractional and decimal to plus/minus – how can anyone know how to place the best bets?

Don’t sweat it; we’re here to help you out. Read as we discuss how odds work in betting.

How do American odds work?

While decimal and fractional betting odds are the most common way a bookmaker displays their prices on a particular event, it’s still important to understand how the American or money line version works.

Let’s consider a coin toss example, where the odds for heads/tails are both even money or 2.0 (decimal) or 1/1 (fractional), meaning that a $1 stake will give $2 ($1 stake plus the $1 profit).

In money line or American odds, the heads/tails outcomes would be stated as +100 or -100 – and 100 is the important number. So, suppose there’s an American football match, the money line, or American odds for this will be as follows:

The minus in front of the New England Patriots indicates that they’re favorites. The number -145 means you’ll win $100 for every $145 you bet. a woman holding an iPadSo, for a $10 bet, you’ll get $16.90 – $6.90 profit ($10/$145 x 100) and your $10 stake.

If you think Miami Dolphins will come out on top, the +130 signifies that for every $100 you bet on them, you’ll win $230 (your $100 stake plus $130). A $10 bet would mean you’ll win $23 – your $13 profit and your $10 stake (calculated as $10/$100 x 130).

In the examples above, the calculation for the $10 stake is:

(Actual stake/American odds stake) x American odds winnings

How decimal odds work

In decimals, the potential winnings include the stake, so you simply multiply the odds with the stake. Often, decimal odds are used on betting exchanges like Betfair, as the bookmaker doesn’t control the odds but the user.

  • 5 odds = $1 bet would return $1.50 including stake
  • 5 odds = $1 bet would return $4.50 including stake
  • 00 odds: $1 bet would return $11 including stake

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