Betting odds explained

A beginners guide to understanding Betting Odds – if you fancy having a small bet on sport but are scarred by the numbers – fear not the information will have you understanding in minutes.

One of the first things to understand when you start betting is how odds work. They let you know how likely an event is to happen and what your potential winnings will be. At first glance betting odds can seem daunting, however they are actually quite straightforward to understand and calculate.

Betting Odds tell you the probability of how likely something is to happen and how much money you will win!

How do odds work?

When you look at the odds (price) of a horse, football team or other event, you will see either one of two formats – decimal or fractions. It is usual for betting firms to work in fractions and betting exchanges to work in decimals. Bookmakers usually allow you to swap the format if you wish to.

Fractional Odds
When you look at a fractional odds, 4/1 for example – the second number suggests the stake and the first number is the profit that would be yielded if the bet wins. So if you placed a £1 bet, on a football team to win the match, then you would stand to win £4 and you would get your initial stake back.

Decimals
Decimals are far more common on exchanges, such as Betfair, but all leading betting sites do give you the option to view betting odds in this format. Decimal odds include the stake. Many believe that these are easy to calculate your winnings from.

Converting Fractional to Decimal
The decimal format factors in the initial stake. Betting odds of 4/1 would convert to 5.0 and 5/1 would be 6.0 etc.

Calculating your Winnings

Betting odds allow you to calculate how much money you will win if you make a bet.

Fractional Odds
Remember the second number is the stake and the first number the winnings…
eg winnings/stake

  • 10/1 for every £1 you bet, you will win £10.
  • 4/1 for every £1 you bet, you will win £4.
  • 1/1 for every £1 you bet, you will win £1.
  • 1/4 for every £4 you bet, you will win £1.

Decimal Odds
The calculation: winnings = (odds * stake) – stake. For example:

  • 10.0 can be calculated as (10.0 * £10 stake) – £10 stake = £90 winnings.
  • 4.0 can be calculated as (4.0 * £10 stake) – £10 stake = £30 winnings.
  • 2.5 can be calculated as (2.5 * £10 stake) – £10 stake = £15 winnings.
  • 1.25 can be calculated as (1.25 * £10 stake) – £10 stake =£2.50 winnings.

Which is Better? Fractional or Decimals?

There isn’t really a better, it’s more of a preference about what you prefer. Historically in the UK, fractions have been prevalent. But their is a change occurring and bettors are beginning to prefer decimals. Possibly because the winnings are easier to work out. However, it is irrelevant as bookmakers allow you to view the odds in whatever format you wish.

What Next?