Knowing how to understand betting odds is the first and most important step towards becoming successful as an online player. Betting odds will illustrate how much money you are going to win depending on the amount you stake based on the chance of an event happening.

The lower chance there is of a result occurring, the more money you stand to win because the odds are high on the event of the underdog winning. On the other hand, if you bet on an outcome your bookies will have expected to happen, you will not receive a particularly high return on your bet. The betting odds essentially outline the financial risk you will be taking. Like everything, the greater the risk, the greater the reward.

Seasoned online players are likely to understand how betting odds work like it is their first language. However, those who are new to the world of online betting may find it a little tricky to get their heads around exactly how betting odds work. Our guide is intended to explain how betting odds are determined, what they actually mean in layman’s terms and, crucially, how you can figure out the amount of money you will win for a particular bet.

Betting Odds Explained

The most common format in which betting odds are displayed is fractions. Rather than offer a fixed amount for winning a bet – after all, people will be betting different sums of money – a fraction is fairer. It allows a company to pay customers based on a multiplication of how much they bet on an event happening compared to the likelihood of it ever occurring. It sounds a little complicated but fractions are quite simple once you know how to understand betting odds.

When you come to place a bet, you will often see a fraction adjacent to it. Betting odds may appear as 4/1, 10/1 or 50/1 for example. These fractions are assigned to an event based on their probability. The more likely an event is to happen, the lower the fraction will be (e.g. 2/1). When a result is not expected to occur, the fraction will be higher (e.g. 100/1).

To work out the percentage chance of something happening, you simply need to apply the mathematical formula: x/(y+1) = z. Therefore, a 4/1 bet is 1/4(+1) = 0.20. This means there will be an estimated 20% chance of the event occurring. A 9/1 bet is 1/9(+1) = 0.10.

Things get a little more complicated when the highest number is at the end of a fraction. For example, instead of 4/1 it could be 1/4. This is applied to events that are very likely to happen. It can be easily understood if you apply an equation like this: 4/(4+1) = 0.80, meaning there is an 80% chance of you having a correct bet. Betting odds may be explained in this way because the event is so possible that bookies couldn’t reward a higher pound value on bets of £1 (in this situation, a bet of £1 would pay back 25p). Therefore, they instead state that for every £4 you would get £1 back.

How Much Money Will I Win With These Betting Odds?

The probability of the event determines just how much money you are going to win for your particular bet. After all, it is in the bookmaker’s best interest to prevent you from winning their money. Proving them wrong is the essence of online gaming,

If a team is much more likely to win, they will have a lower fraction. The financial pay-out will also be quite low in turn. However, a more unlikely result for a team will have a higher fraction, making the risk higher but also the reward. By understanding the way fractions translate into betting odds, you can see how much you stand to win based on how much you plan to spend.

Here are a few examples that illustrate how to understand betting odds in this way: in football, Manchester City would be considered more likely to beat Bournemouth in a match. Therefore, you might be offered 1/3 odds that Manchester City will win. Using the formula above, 3/(3+1) = 0.75. So, we know Manchester City have a 75% of winning according to bookies. A bet of £30 would then give you a £10 return. If the football betting odds say Bournemouth has a 15/1 chance of winning it means they have a 6.25% chance according to bookies as 1/(15+1) = 0.0625. A bet of £30 at 15/1 odds would pay out a whopping £450.

Understanding Betting Odds In Decimals

Not all betting odds are displayed as fractions. Sometimes they might be shown as decimals instead. Rather than a 4/1 fraction, betting odds might appear as 5.0. Instead of 15/2 you might see 8.5. Like the aforementioned system, the higher the numbers go correlates to the more risk you are taking. The more risk you are taking, the more money you stand to win.

This might look unfamiliar and complicated at first glance, particularly to players who are used to using fractions. However, the decimal system is actually surprisingly simple.

All you need to do in order to understand the decimal system is multiply the amount you wish to bet by the decimal number. For example, if football odds show that West Ham’s Michail Antonio has a 16.00 odds to score the first goal in a match and you wish to place a £5 bet on this, the sum 5 x 16 = 80 shows you how much you will win: £80. For people who are new to betting, this method can sometimes be a clearer way of how to understand betting odds.