Understanding Sports Betting Odds

Understanding how to use odds is imperative in becoming a successful sports bettor as they are not only used to calculate how much you’ll money you’ll get out from successful wagers, but also denote if a wager represents good value or not. If you’re relatively new to sports betting, we urge you to only place your first wager once you’re completely comfortable with odds.

The Basics of Odds

Odds are used to determine how much will be paid out on successful bets, but a wager can have a price that’s either ‘odds on’, ‘odds against’, or ‘even money’.

  • Odds On: the possible return is less than the amount staked.
  • Odds Against: the possible return is greater than the amount staked.
  • Even Money: the possible return is exactly the amount staked, essentially doubling your money.

Favourites are often odds on as they are likely to win, while underdogs are less likely to win and will typically be odds against.

Note: the higher the odds, the less likely the wager is to win, but the greater the possible return.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds is most common format used by betting sites as it’s the simplest of the three formats to understand. Usually displayed using two decimal places, decimal odds show exactly how much a successful wager will return per unit staked.

Note: decimal odds of 2.00 is the equivalent of even money. Anything higher is odds against and anything lower is odds on. If your head is already spinning, it’s not too late to stick with online bingo!

Here are a few examples. Remember, the total return includes the initial stake.

  • $100 stake @ odds of 1.50 = a potential return of $150
  • $50 stake @ odds of 2.00 = a potential return of $100

Moneyline/American Odds

Used primarily in the United States, moneyline odds can either be positive or negative. Positive moneyline odds display how much profit a winning bet of $100 would make, while negative moneyline odds display how much you would need to wager in order to make a $100 profit. Here are a few examples of both.


  • $100 stake @ odds of +300 = a potential return of $400
  • $200 stake @ odds of +200 = a potential return of $600


  • $150 stake @ odds of -150 = a potential return of $250
  • $100 stake @ odds of -200 = a potential return of $150

Fractional Odds

Most commonly used in the United Kingdom, fractional odds are slowly being replaced by decimal odds. Here are a few examples:

Odds On

  • 10/11
  • 4/6

Odds Against

  • 2/1
  • 10/1

Each fraction displays how much profit you stand to gain on a winning wager, but you’ll have to add in your stake. The following calculation is used where ‘A’ is the 1st number in the fraction, while ‘B’ is the 2nd: stake x (A/B) = potential profit. Many punters prefer to convert fractional odds into decimal odds ahead of calculating the potential pay out. This is done by dividing the 1st number with the 2nd and adding 1.

Now you’re reading to place your first wager!