Before embarking on my sports betting journey years ago, I’d feel overwhelmed whenever I looked at betting odds. I always wondered what those numbers mean and why some have a plus sign while others have a minus. I was also curious about how one can take advantage of them to make a hefty profit.
Then there are all the different types of betting odds used across the world. You’ve probably heard of terms like “moneyline odds”, “decimal odds”, or “fractional odds” before, and, understandably, these can be a bit overwhelming to comprehend when you’re just starting out.
But don’t worry, as this page is just for you! I’ve gathered all the information you need in this guide to all types of odds, so you can get a grasp on how they work, what each odds format indicates, and how you can utilize them to become a successful sports bettor!
What Are Betting Odds?
Betting odds are essentially a numbers representation of the favorite and underdog team in a particular sporting event. In fact, betting odds are a different way to express each team’s probability of winning the game.
For instance, in a match between the Yankees and the Red Sox, each team has predetermined odds that show their chance of winning. These odds are initially created based on factors like team and player forms, previous results, home advantage, etc.
But betting odds are very dynamic and can change very quickly. For example, if a team’s captain gets injured during training or the team gets a lot of wagers from different bettors, its betting odds will decrease in value to compensate for that.
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Most Popular Types Of Odds
Now that you understand a little more about how betting odds work let’s dive a bit deeper into the different types of betting odds formats you’ll find in sportsbooks worldwide. Remember that these formats are just different visual representations of the same probability. Regardless of the format you use, you get the same actual odds and payouts as any other.
American odds, also known as “moneyline odds", are the most popular betting odds format in the US. American odds come with a minus (-) or plus (+) sign before the actual odds number; depending on that sign, they have a different meaning regarding the payout.
If you see odds with a minus sign, it indicates how much money you need to wager to make a profit of $100. For example, if you want to bet on the New York Jets to win at -200 odds, you’ll need to stake $200 to make a $100 profit.
Comparatively, moneyline odds with a plus sign show how much profit you make when you wager $100. For instance, a $100 bet on the Brooklyn Nets to win at +150 odds will earn you a profit of $150.
Keep in mind that American odds don’t calculate the return of your stake for every successful bet. Therefore, your total payout is your profits plus your original stake. Using the previous example with the Nets, your total payout will be $250 ($150 profit + $100 original stake).
Decimal odds are particularly popular in European countries, so they’re often referred to as “European Odds”. However, they’re also prevalent in other parts of the world, like Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
Decimal odds are much easier to understand, as you can tell which team is the favorite or underdog at a quick glance. If you see a team with 1.50 odds compared to 3.50 odds for the opposing side, the team with the lower number is the favorite to win.
The way decimal odds work is straightforward; you just multiply your stake with the odds number, and you get your total payout for a winning bet. For example, if you’ve placed a $100 bet at 2.00 odds, your total payout will be $200 if your bet wins.
One thing to remember about decimal odds is that they include your original wager in their payouts. In the previous example, your $200 payout consists of your initial stake ($100) plus your net profit ($100).
Fractional odds are the most common and traditional betting odds used in the UK and Ireland, which is why they are often called “British Odds”. Fractional odds come with two numbers, separated by a hyphen symbol (-) or a slash symbol (/).
This odds format essentially shows you the ratio (or fraction) of your profit to your original wager. In simpler terms, to win the amount the left number says, your bet must be what the right number says.
For instance, let’s say that Manchester United is a 1/2 favorite. In that case, you have to wager $2 in order to earn a profit of $1. Don’t forget that, just like American odds, fractional odds only calculate your net profits. Therefore, in the previous example, you would also get back your $2 stake for a total payout of $3.
Other Types Of Odds Formats
While the types of betting odds I mentioned above are the most popular ones all over the world, there are a few odds formats that are lesser known. These are primarily used in Asian markets like Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Some of the most common Asian types of betting odds include:
- Hong Kong Odds: Hong Kong odds combine decimal and fractional odds. They appear as decimal odds but don't include receiving your original stake back. Thus, decimal odds of 3.00 would translate to 2.00 in Hong Kong odds, and every $1 wagered would earn you $2 of profit plus your original stake.
- Indonesian Odds: Indonesian odds are depicted as decimal odds and work like Hong Kong or American odds, depending on their sign. Indonesian odds with a minus sign work similarly to American odds. Therefore, -2.00 in Indonesian odds is equal to -200 in American odds. However, Indonesian odds of +5.00 (or just 5.00) are equal to Hong Kong odds and give you $5 of profit for every $1 you bet.
- Malaysian Odds: Malay odds also come with plus and minus signs but indicate the opposite compared to American odds. Malaysian odds of +0.75 indicate a favorite that pays out a profit of $0.75 for every $1 you wager. Comparatively, Malay odds of -0.25 show an underdog that only requires $0.25 to pay out $1 in profits, essentially making it a 4/1 in fractional, +400 in American, or 4.00 in Hong Kong odds.
Overall, the different types of odds can feel a bit complicated for beginner bettors. But it doesn’t take long to understand and use them handily. So, how can you take advantage of betting odds to make a profit?
It basically comes down to studying the different statistics and parameters of every game and determining your own probabilities and odds for each team to win. Then, comparing them to odds by other sportsbooks will give you the best value bets.
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