How to Read Odds

There are 3 main types of betting odds, American, or moneyline, odds, decimal, or European, odds, and fractional, or British, odds. They all represent the same thing and hold no difference as far as payouts are concerned.

American Odds

In American odds, favourites are accompanied by a – sign and tell you how much you need to bet to win £100. Underdogs get accompanied by a + sign. The numbers indicate how much you’ll win for every £100 you stake. As an example, let’s take a look at an American football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles:

  • 49ers: +585
  • Eagles: -760

Looking at these odds, the bookmaker has stated that there’s a much lower probability, roughly 15%, that the 49ers will win. So, you’ll need to bet £100 to potentially win £585. If the 49ers can pull off the upset, then you’ll get your initial bet of £100 along with the £585 you won. This will give you a total of £685 in your pocket.  

Decimal Odds

The decimal odds number represents the amount you’ll win for every £1 you bet. And the number represents the total payout, not just the profit. So, since your stake is already included in the decimal number, you don’t need to add it back. This makes the total calculation easier. Let’s take a look at a online betting odds example:

  • Spanish Mission: 4.00
  • Goldman: 1.3

The number represents how much you would win against each £1 you bet. So, if you bet £100 on Spanish Mission to win the Caulfield Cup and you were right, you’d win £400. This includes your initial stake of £100, so your net profit would be £300. In the same way, you would receive a total payout of £130 if you successfully bet on Goldman to win the Caulfield Cup. Deducting your initial stake of £100 from this return gives you the £30 net profit earned.

Fractional Odds

A fractional listing of 6/1, or 6 to 1, would mean that you would win £6 for every £1 and receive your pound back. So, this is the ratio of the profit won to the initial bet, so you’d get your initial £1 stake back in addition to the profit, £6, for a total payout of £70. If you staked £10 at 6/1 and win, your total payout would be £70, £60 profit plus your £10 stake.     

Let’s say for example that the following are the odds on the 3 teams most likely to win the 2023 NBA Championship:

  • The Boston Celtics: 13/5
  • The Milwaukee Bucks: 9/2
  • The Denver Nuggets 7/1

You can quickly determine that the Boston Celtics are the favourites to win and the odds on the Bucks and the Nuggets are longer. You would win £13 for every £5 you bet on the Celtics to win the championship. Meanwhile, you would win £9 against every £2 you put down as a stake on the Bucks to win, because it’s deemed less probable. For the Nuggets, you’d win £7 for every £1 you bet.