Sports Odds Explained: Your Complete Guide

Sports betting is becoming more and more popular across the world. And it’s especially growing in the US, where recent legislation changes have legalized online sports betting in a handful of states

But with droves and droves of new gamblers coming into the world of sports odds, it can be difficult for them to understand betting odds. To make it simple and easy for players, bookies will list gambling odds in formats like “1/7” or “+150” without providing a full explanation.

Need sports odds explained to you so that you actually know what the potential payout is of a certain wager you are considering? Lucky for you, we have sports betting odds explained below, to ensure you can gamble with confidence, and not place any blind bets. 

What are Sports Odds?

Every sporting event, from football to soccer to tennis, comes with odds. These odds tell you if a particular bet is worth taking. 

The odds will let you know which team is favored to win, or which outcome is the favored outcome. And they will let you know what a particular payout is for betting with the crowd or betting against the crowd.

These odds can be listed in different formats, so it’s important for you as a bettor to know how to read each one. The American format, decimal format, and fractional format are the most common. 

American odds are listed as a three-digit number, preceded by a plus or minus sign, an example being +250.

Fractional odds are common in the UK, such as 3/1. So if you’re betting on the Premier League, this is most likely what you’ll see.

Decimal odds are common throughout the rest of Europe, such as 2.00

Knowing how to read all types of odds is crucial when visiting websites like Ace Odds, where you can look up the odds of different games and outcomes prior to making any bets in the coming week. 

American Sports Odds Explained

If you’re in the states, looking to use baseball, basketball, or football odds, then you need to get most familiar with the American format for odds. These are also known as “Moneyline” odds. 

The format tells you which team is favored to win. The negative symbol (-) tells you which team is the favorite to win. The positive symbol (+) tells you which team is the underdog.

The odds are slightly different depending on if you bet on the favorite or the underdog but revolve around making or betting $100. 

Here’s an example. Say the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are playing the Carolina Panthers. The odds might say that the Bucs are -150 and the Panthers are +400. 

Because the odds for the Bucs start with a negative, they are the bookie’s favorite to win. The Bucs odds state that to win $100, you’ll need to bet $150.

When it comes to the Panthers, the odds tell you how much you’ll make if you wager $100. So in this case, if you wager $100, and the Panthers win, you would win $400. 

When betting on your favorite team, you need to wager more money in order to win less money. When betting on the underdog, you don’t need to wager as much, as your winnings will be much higher if the win. 

UK Sports Odds Explained

So if you’re betting on the Premier League, rugby, cricket, horse racing, or any other sports taking place in the UK, you’re going to be looking at fractional odds.

Fractional odds tell you how much you’re going to win, relative to the amount that you bet. 

Let’s say Chelsea is playing Leeds United. The odds might be 7/1 Leeds and 1/4 Chelsea.

A bigger number in front means a higher payout. But that means the team is the underdog. A bigger number in the second position means a lower payout, as the team is the favorite to win. 

In this example, if you bet $20 on the underdog, Leeds, and they win, you would multiply your $20 wager times the number in front (7) for winnings of $140. You would also get your original $20 back. 

If you bet on Chelsea, the favorites, you’ll receive a payout of $1 (the first number in the fraction) for every $4 wagered (the second number in the fraction).

So if you wagered $20 on Chelsea, and they won, you would receive $5 in winnings, plus your original $20 wager back. 

Understanding Decimal Sports Odds

The decimal system is common across Europe, as well as in Australia and Canada. Depending on the website you are browsing for odds, you might have the option to change the odds format to decimal since it’s easy for most people to read. 

Basically, you just multiply your wager by the decimal, such as 2.50, to see how much you stand to win.

If you’re watching the UEFA Euro competition, and the odds are 2.50 for Italy to win, then you would win 2.5 times your original wager if they do win.

So if you wagered $100, and Italy wins, you would earn $250. 

The lower the number, the more favored the team is to win. The higher the number, the higher the payout, but the less likely that team will win.

So if Italy has odds of 2.50, and Latvia has odds of 900.00, then it’s extremely unlikely Latvia would win. But only a small wager on Latvia to win it could yield some serious winnings if this underdog team were to make it through. 

Putting These Odds to Work

Want to test out your betting skills, before making any real wagers? Just follow along with your favorite sport for a few weeks. Pay attention to the odds, and make pretend wagers based on the numbers you see. Write them down so you can refer back to them.

You can pretend to wager $20 on game 1, and $100 on game two if you’re feeling confident about a particular outcome. Calculate how much you would win or lose based on these results.

Once you feel like you understand how the odds work in practice, start making real bets. But only ever bet money you can afford to lose. Don’t touch that mortgage money. 

Knowledge Is Power

Now that you’ve had sports odds explained to you, you can decipher any sports odds for any sporting event across the globe. Now, when you see strings of numbers across the screen, you’ll instantly know which team is favored to win, and how much you stand to win, should you take part in a bet.

Looking for more tips and tricks like this? Head over to our blog now to keep reading.