Understand and read sports betting odds

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One of the most important aspects of sports betting is being able to read and understand betting odds successfully. Even though this is such an important part of sports betting, many people still find the odds quite confusing. As a matter of fact, Erik King from Kiwislots emphasizes the importance of understanding various processes from the world of betting and gambling as the most important step in achieving success.

This is exactly why it is so important to understand and be able to read sports betting odds correctly. Otherwise, if you don’t understand what you’re doing, you can’t really expect to get any positive results. Rather than simply relying on your own intuition and choosing your betting options completely at random, here is an overview of sports betting odds and how they work.

What are sports betting odds?

Put simply, sports betting odds are the term used to describe the probability and likelihood of a specific outcome. To calculate odds, you need to evaluate the ratio between the number of events that could lead to the desired outcome and the number of events that don’t. Once you determine that probability, you end up with the odds.

Say you want to bet on soccer and you have a favorite sports team that you want to bet on. The team has odds of 3:1. So if you bet that the team will win – and they actually win the game in the end – you can expect to win triple your original stake and win back your stake. That means if you placed a $10 bet on a team at odds of 3-1, you can expect to win $30 + $10 if they win.

Types of Betting Odds

Now that you hopefully have a slightly clearer understanding of what sports betting odds actually are, it’s time to discuss three different types of odds. These are:

  • Partial Odds – also known as “British” or “Traditional” odds
  • Decimal odds – commonly referred to as “European” odds
  • Money lines – also commonly referred to as “American” odds

If we go into a bit more detail on each of these types of odds later in this article, you’ll see why some bettors find the American odds a bit more complicated than the other two. However, that doesn’t mean they are any less popular.

fractional odds

Since all betting odds are best understood with examples, we will try to explain them in more detail.

Fractional odds, as the name suggests, are represented as fractions. Most often, fractional odds are written with the / or – sign. So 3/1 or 3-1 odds are equal, which means that a given bet has a 3-to-1 chance of hitting it. The example we mentioned earlier is a great example of how fractional odds work.

So if you bet $10 on a 3/1 bet and the team you bet on wins the game, you end up winning back your original stake of $10 + $30 benefit. Of course, the higher the amount you wager, the higher the amount you can potentially win.

decimal odds

Unlike fractional odds, decimal odds are indicated by decimals. These show you how much money you can win back for every dollar of your original bet. So if the team you are betting on had odds of 3.0 and you bet $20, you can expect to win $60 ($20 x 3.0 = $60). However, you will find that here – unlike the partial odds – the final win also includes your original stake. This means that you actually only win $40 since you originally bet $20.

money lines

Finally, we have money lines that are most commonly used in the US. American odds are generally based on a $100 stake. Odds for favorite teams are marked with a minus sign (-) followed by a three-digit number, while odds for underdogs are marked with a plus sign (+). Team favorites and underdogs are determined by the bookmaker. Whether you bet on the underdog or the favourite, you always get your original bet back here if the team wins. That being said, your final win will vary significantly depending on which of the two you wagered on.

  • +300 – If you place a $100 bet on the underdogs in this case, you win $400 if the team wins the game.
  • -300 – Here you must bet at least $300 to win $100. If the team wins, you get $400 withdrawable winnings, of which only the $100 is your actual winnings.

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