How do odds work

Whether you bet on sports or play casinos, it's helpful to know how betting odds work so that you understand both the value of each bet you place and how much you can expect to win or lose depending on whether you're betting comes in.

In fixed-odds sports betting, odds can be displayed in different ways. Online bookmaker websites usually give the customer the option to choose the format in which they would like to view the odds, but since these settings aren't always easy to find, it's helpful to understand how each format works if you come across them.

The three main types of odds formats are:

If you're from the UK or Ireland, you'll likely be most used to fractional odds, as they are typically used by UK bookmakers in their promotions and are usually the default setting on UK bookmakers' websites.

Below we take a look at the different online sports betting available and explain how they work.

How do fractional odds work?

Fractional odds consist of two numbers separated by a slash or hyphen. Examples of fractional odds:

The number before the slash is the profit you make when you bet with the number after the slash.

For example, if the betting odds were 5/1. If you placed a £1 bet and it won, your profit would be £5. You would also get your bet back and your total return would be £6.

Similarly, if the odds were 15/2, using a £2 bet, your total profit if you won the bet would be £17 with a profit of £15.

Fractional odds are useful when your bet is equal to a number (or multiple) after the slash, but can be confusing when it is not.

For example, if your odds were 15/4 and you wanted to bet £2.50, it is not initially obvious what your exact return or profit will be. In this case, a bit of math is required.

Return = ((fractional odds) x bet) + bet

Using the odds of 15/4 with a £2 bet, our return will be:

Return = ((15/2) x £2.50) + £2.50

Return = (7.5 x 2.5) + 2.5 = £21.25

How do decimal odds work?

Here are some examples of decimal odds:

To calculate your total return using decimal odds, you simply need to multiply your bet by the odds.

Returns = Bet x Ratio Decimal

For example, if your betting odds were 2.0 and your bet was £10, your total return would be £20 (2 x £10).

Similarly, if the odds were 5.4 and your bet was £5, your total return would be £27 (5.4 x £5).

To determine your betting profit when using decimal odds, you simply need to subtract your bet from your total profit calculation.

For example, with odds of 11.35 at £10, your total return would be £113.50 for a total profit of £103.50 (£113.50 - £10 bet).

  • fractional
  • Decimal
  • American (money line).
    • 5/1
    • 7/2
    • 15/4
    • 2.00/
    • 5.40/
    • 11.35