How Online Betting Odds Work

Odds in betting are almost as old as betting itself, a consistent and accurate way to make betting decisions fairer for all parties involved. Below we will look into what online betting odds are and how they work, along with an example so that everybody can understand odds.

What Are Online Betting Odds?

Before we can explain how online betting odds work, we need to explain what online betting odds are. Betting odds are simply put a wager difference measured usually in a ratio. While the ratio can appear in many different ways, they normally mean the same thing. This ratio dictates what you need to put in, and what you will get out (for a win of course).

Betting odds are typically based on an expected outcome. If one player or team has an expected 80% chance of winning, the betting odds will not be in their favour, meaning if you bet on the player expected to win, your payoff will not be as great if they do win. If you bet on the player expected to lose and they win, your payoff will generally be much better.

The Odds

Now that the simple stuff is out of the way, let’s dive into the ratios. As mentioned earlier these odds or ratios will generally present themselves in one of three ways:

  • American odds – expressed as a negative or positive number (- or +) on the negative side it means how much you would need to wager to earn $100. On the positive side it would be the payoff if you were to wager $100. So, in American odds, favourites are always negative, and underdogs are always positive. For example, Minnesota United +220 versus New York Red Bull -260. In this match up if you were to place $100 on MU your payoff would be 220. If you were to place $100 on NYRB, your payoff would be $45.
  • Fractional odds – Based on a traditional fraction, it is a bit easier to understand than American odds. The format is payout amount/Bet amount. For example, Liverpool 1/5 would mean you have the potential to earn $1 per every $5 you bet. On the other hand, 5/1 would mean you have the potential to earn $5 per every $1 you bet.
  • Decimal odds – the easiest form of odds to understand. Appearing as a decimal, it is as simple as the amount you bet times the decimal number. For example, you bet $10 on 4.50 odds. Your potential payout is $10 X 4,50 = $45. For a more complex scenario, you place $7 on 16,10 odds, $7 X 16,10 = $112.7 (your potential payout).

While American and fractional odds can be a little bit more difficult to calculate, it is advisable to at least understand how the calculations are done with any betting odds style you frequently use. For any others, there is a wealth of betting odds calculators available for free in your phone’s app store. I generally like having these calculators available just for a little extra assurance.