Betting odds and how they work

Study Betting Odds and How They Work

If you want to make winning wagers, you must learn the basics of betting odds and how they work. Because betting odds indicate the likelihood of a particular outcome and how your bet will pay out, understanding them will significantly influence your decisions.

Once you have a clear understanding of concepts like over-rounding, probability, decimal vs. fractional odds, and so forth, you will be much better equipped to make winning wagers. And, although it may all seem very confusing at first, getting the hang of betting odds and how they work really isn’t that difficult.

The Basics of Betting Odds

When sportsbooks cover an event, they will allocate odds to each team, player or other betting market. Each horse in a race, for example, is given certain odds, depending on the probability that it will win. Book makers consider information such as injuries, track and field conditions, previous event statistics, and so forth to calculate probability.

So, if it has been calculated that a particular horse has a one in nine – or 10% – chance of winning the race, the odds are represented as 9/1. This, in turn, determines how each bet will pay out if that horse wins. Sportsbooks calculate payouts by multiplying the wager amount by the odds. If you bet $10 bucks on a horse with 9/1 odds, your payout will total $90 – nine times your original stake. As you may have noticed, the greater the probability of your horse winning, the less your bet will generally pay out. So, to return to the example, if the odds on your horse are 2/1, then the bet will only pay out $20 – two times your original wager.

But there is a bit more to betting odds and how they work than that.

Over-rounding and Artificial Odds

The thing about betting odds and how they work is that bookies are in a position to sway the odds if it suits them to encourage or dissuade people from taking them. Just because the odds indicate that a particular competitor is a long shot doesn’t mean that that is the case in reality.

Experienced punters use their knowledge of betting odds and how they work to identify artificially long odds on strong competitors. In this way, they are often able to rake in massive payouts on apparent long shots.

Another standard practice in betting odds and how they work them out is called over-rounding. Basically, to ensure that they always make a profit, even if they have to pay out 100% of the bets made, sportsbooks add a little to the top of their bets. So, instead of all bets adding up to 100%, they will total somewhere in the region of 120%. That’s how sportsbooks use betting odds and how they work in a little something extra for themselves. Try to find book makers that over-round little as possible.

Decimal vs. Fractional Betting Odds

To understand betting odds and how they work, you also need to know the difference between fractional and decimal betting odds. Fractional betting odds are indicated using a forward slash, for example 4/1. Whereas decimal odds are indicated with a decimal point, for example 0.20. To calculate the probability represented by decimal odds, multiply by 10; i.e. a wager with odds of 0.20 has a 20% chance of paying out.

Decimals and fractions represent the same betting odds and how they work is just a little different. Most sportsbooks these days offer both options although decimal odds are becoming the preferred choice.