Sports Betting Odds Explained

Sports betting requires skill, research, a keen understanding of the market and an eye for detail. For anyone thinking of trying their hand at it, the first step is to understand how bookmakers use odds to evaluate a market and price an event. Every part of the wagering process comes down to the numbers, and if you don’t know how to read them, then you are probably going to end up losing more than you win.

What are Sports Odds?

Sports odds are numbers used by bookmakers to display the implied probability of an event taking place. For example, the All Blacks winning the Rugby World Cup. Bookmakers post odds to give you an indication of the probability of your bet winning, as well as the total amount you will be paid out if your wager is successful. If an event is less likely to happen, such as Japan winning the Rugby World Cup, the odds are lower, which means you will be paid out a higher amount if your bet proved correct.

If an event is more likely to happen, such as the All Black hoisting the trophy, you will be paid out less for the same stake. With online sports betting, the lower they are, the lower the risk, and the lower the payout. The higher they are, the higher the risk and the higher the payouts.

Understanding Decimals

In New Zealand, odds are mainly expressed in decimal format, or fractional format. With popular sports like Tennis, Rugby, Cricket, Soccer and Golf, bookmakers tend to use decimal numbers, which can appear as a string of numbers with a decimal point such as 5.60 or 3.50. Again, the higher the number, the higher the risk and the higher the payouts. If you want to calculate your total payout amount, simply multiply the number displayed by your stake. So, if you are placing a $20 bet at sports odds of 5.50, you will be paid out 5.5 x $20 or $110. This includes your initial $20 stake, which makes your total profit $90.

Get To Grips with Fractions

Not all sports are displayed in decimal format. Some sports like American Football, Basketball, Ice hockey and Baseball tend to be displayed in fractional format such as 5/1 (five to one) or 4/2 (four to two). It may not be immediately apparent how the numbers work but you can easily calculate your payouts by adding the two numbers together and then dividing by the right-hand number. The total is then multiplied by your stake.

For example, if you place a sports betting wager of $20 at 4/2, you can calculate your payout by adding 4+2 to get 6 then divide by 2 to get 3. You then multiply this total (3) by your stake of $20 to get a total payout of $60)

Finding Value Odds

The goal with online sports betting is to find value. This means that you find an event or market where the prices displayed don’t quite match up to what you believe will actually happen. Sometimes the bookmakers make a mistake, or miss out on important information, which should actually make the numbers much lower than the ones posted on the site.

If you have done your research and you are confident your prediction has a good chance of winning, then you have found value. You can then confidently place you bet with the opportunity for a huge payout and with relatively low risk.