Different Types of Betting Odds Explained

It can be confusing when the different odds available can be advertised in fractional, decimal or American formats, so we have provided an easy guide to explain how they work.

Scoreboard at Cheltenham racecourse showing previous winners.

It can take some getting used to, but here is a brief explanation about how all betting odds work to help you decide which method you prefer.

To help explain, we will use an example of a fictional football match between Liverpool and Everton.

how to change betting odds

Fractional Odds

Fractional odds have been traditionally used in the UK and Ireland so, for our game they might appear as something like this:

Liverpool 1/3, Everton 8/1, Draw 4/1.

fractional odds

The key for fractional odds is that the second number is the amount you would have to stake to win the first amount.

So, if you wanted to bet on Liverpool to win the match, you would have to bet £3 to win £1.

In each case, your stake money would be returned too if Liverpool won, so a £30 winning bet would see a return of £40.

If you bet £10 on Everton to win the match at 8/1, you would win £80 if they did claim victory and you would receive £90 (your winnings and your original stake).

If you bet £10 on the game to finish as a draw, you would win £40 if the teams finished level, which would rise to £50 once your original stake was included.

This system is one that many punters are comfortable with, but it can sometimes be complicated when you see odds such as 27/11 or 85/40. If that’s the case, you may be more comfortable using decimal odds.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds have become popular since people have been doing their punting digitally over the last 20 years or so.

First of all, let’s express the odds of our game in a decimal format

Liverpool 1.333, Everton 9.0, Draw 4.0.

decimal odds

These are exactly the same prices as we have seen in the fractional example. You still win the same amount of money. They just look different.

It doesn’t matter how short the price is, it will never be less than one.

The easiest way to remember it is that the ‘1’ represents your stake. So, if your bet on Liverpool is successful, the amount you get back will be your stake (1) and your winnings of a third of your stake (0.333).

Use the same theory to see that your Everton winnings would be eight times your stake (9 minus 1) and the draw price is calculated in exactly the same way.

The main benefit of the decimal system is that they are sometimes easier to express than some odds that can look complicated when displayed as fractions.

American Odds

American odds are different because they are expressed as either a minus or plus amount, so here is how our game would look here:

Liverpool -300, Everton +800, Draw +400.

american odds

Teams who are odds-on are a minus figure and teams that are odds-against are a plus figure.

With the minus figure, it is the amount you would have to bet to win $100, so in this case you would have to wager $300 to win that amount with a Liverpool victory.

For a plus figure, that is how much you would win with a $100 wager, so the Everton +800 is the equivalent of 8/1 in fractional odds and 9.0 in decimal odds.

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