Betting Odds Guide

betting oddsIf you have been betting in the UK you will be undoubtedly familiar with fractional odds. Nowadays betting is global so depending on which betting site you will use, you are likely to encounter also other odds formats like percentage odds, decimal odds, American odds and so on.

European betting companies tend to provide odds in decimal as a default however you can always change to fractional odds without having to do the conversion yourself. Even in some UK betting sites, some markets like handicap are normally represented as decimals. In this article, we explain you the difference between the different odds and how you can convert them.

Different Types Of Fixed Odds

For simplicity, we will treat the amount you can win as ‘Z’:

Fractional Odds – the figure on the left show the amount of money you can win with a particular stake (Z)
Decimal Odds – this show the amount you can win with a stake of a unit stake, in addition to your stake (Z+1)
American Odds – positive odds are the multiples of 100 (Z x 100) while negative odds are 100 divided by Z.

Fractional Odds

Eurovision Song ContestThis format is very popular in the UK and Ireland and you will see that fractional odds are a default both with online betting sites but also in the betting shops in the high street.

The fraction is merely a mathematical representation of the cash a punter can win (first digit) versus the amount a punter need to stake to win the amount in the first number (second digit). So if for example, you have odds of 4/1 this means that you need to stake 1 to get 4. So if you bet £1 at 4/1 and you win, you will get £4 and also £1 as that is the stake (so in total you would get £5).
Fractional odds always have to be whole numbers. If the winnings are not divisible by 1 then the stake will increase to the nearest level. For example, a odds of 3.3333/1 will become 10/3 etc. etc.

When a price is odds-on, it means that for every unit you stake you will get less than one unit as payout if you win. So if you have odds of 1/4 for every £1 that you wish to win you will have to place a stake of £4. If you want winnings equal to your stake you need to get odds at 1/1 or as commonly called Evans.

When you are betting on an each-way price, you will need to figure out your own each way odds. If you back a horse and the price is 12/1 each-way and the horse will place then your payout would be 12/4 or 3/1.

To understand fractional odds you can also think like a bet that you would place with your mate where you don’t actually share the stake. So if you bet 4/1 with a mate if you win you will get £4 and if not you will give £1.

Decimal Odds

In Europe, Australia, Canada and New Zealand decimal odds are the most popular. In short in any location where you drive in kilometres, bookmakers are using decimal odds. Decimal odds are not difficult to understand and are easy to convert to fractional odds if you prefer that format.

The decimal odds are the amount that you would win and it also includes stake back. So 4/1 is 5.0 in decimal as it means that if you stake £1, you will get £5 back, but £1 is the original stake.

Evens (1/1) in decimal is 2.0 where you get one unit winning for every unit stake. If you want to figure out your winnings when using decimal odds simply multiply your stake £5 for the odds. So if you are betting at odds of 3.0, you will have 5 x 3.0 equal £15.

If you are betting an each way bet using decimal odds, a horse that has factional odds of 12/1 will be 13.0 in decimal. Since you are backing each-way, you will get the place at one quarter the odds. So firstly you have to subtract the stake and then you can divide by 4. Once done that you will add the stake back. So it will be 13-1 which is 12/4 = 3 plus the stake is 4. So the decimal odds you will get the place paid would be 4.0 (3/1 in fractional odds).

Decimal odds are typically used in betting exchanges like Betfair and also in spread betting, financial and index.

American Odds

As you can see from the name, those odds are generally used in America and are slightly different from the fractional and decimal odds in the sense that they can be either positive or negative. They are also called money lines.

Positive American Odds

If an American betting line is positive, it means that you can win more than what you have staked. They indicate how much money you can win for every £100 wagered. So if for example, an American Odds is +400 it means that if you bet £100, you will win £400. It is the correspondent of 5.0 in decimal or 4/1 in fractional.

Negative American Odds

If the American odds are negative, it indicates that if you win, you will win less then the stake. Similarly, it will refer to £100. So if you have -400 it means that you will need to stake £400 to win £100. This is 1/4 in fractional odds (1.25 in decimal).

Percentage & Proportional Odds

betting on cheltenhamIt is not common but sometimes you might find probability to win expressed in percentage. Those are not odds but are just a way to show the percentage of winnings to stake or even the percentage of times that you will need to succeed to break even. A proportion is a percentage that gets divided by 100.

So the percentage of a win for a 4/1 bet will be 400%: this means that if you win, you will win 400% of your initial stake. For odds-on odds like 1/4, the percentage would be 25% (so you will win 25% of your stake if you win).

The percentage win to break even shows the number of times that you would need to win at those odds so that you are not down. If we take 4/1 odds you would need to win 20% of the time to be square. If you bet at 1/4 odds you will need to win 80% of the times to be even.


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