Understanding How Odds Work In Sports Betting

When it comes to sports betting there is a great deal of information to take into consideration. There are those that will throw down a bet at random, hoping for nothing more than to show support for a favourite team. But then there are those that are striving for better results. For the latter group a deeper understanding of betting is required. For example; odds hold essential information about multiple aspects of a wager.

But what are odds? Odds are assigned by a sportsbook, standing as both an indication of how likely a bet is to succeed, as well as how much will be paid out should the bet succeed. Every betting option have will assigned odds, and those odds will be prominently displayed. The problem is that not all odds are displayed in the same fashion, which can be extremely confusing.

Let’s take a closer look at how differing odds systems work.

American Odds

Of all the forms odds can take American Odds are perhaps the most confusing. They will appear as something like -200, which can put a punter in a spin if they don’t understand the basis of the system. The trick is that American Odds are based around the core idea of a $100 bet. Obviously the system does not require a $100, which is what tends to make the concept more confusing than is strictly necessary.

-200 indicates that in order to win $100, the punter must put down $200. Similarly if the punter wants to win $10, they would have to stake $20. On the other hand, if the odds are +200 it is an indication of how much would be won. So a $100 would pay $200.

In a nutshell, a plus indicates an underdog bet, and a minus indicates a favourite bet.

Fractional Odds

Fractional odds are the most commonly used around the world and make the most sense at a quick glance. These are displayed as something like 3-1, or 1-2. This more logical system applies to all amounts, and not just $100 wagers. The idea is that any betting amount applied to the first number will indicate how much may be won. So a $10 on 3-1 odds would potentially pay out $30. In this case the bet is clearly for an underdog.

In the case of 1-2 the amount won is divided by the second number, indicating a favourite bet. In this case a bet of $10 will pay out $5.

How Are Odds Decided?

A commonly asked question is how a sportsbook decides on odds. The short answer is that an analyst works based on logic. Obviously a sportsbook does not want to go bankrupt, and as such will try and balance out the odds as much as possible. Clearly the idea is risk versus reward.

It is not uncommon that odds are changed prior to an event, based on an overwhelming number of bets on a single option. Again; a sportsbook does not want to go broke.