Around the world, there are several methods used to present betting odds. Ultimately they all represent the perceived percentage chance of success, but to the uninitiated the different odds displays can be confusing. Here we break down just what each of the popular methods mean:
Decimal odds are widely used around Europe and are the display format of choice for the betting exchanges around the world. They are also incorporated in Asian Handicap betting which is quickly becoming a popular way of gambling on football and other events, and, to many, decimal odds are the most straightforward representation of probabilities. The odds that are presented illustrate the return that you will receive if your bet is successful, to a unit stake of 1. Therefore, if the decimal odds on a football team are 4.50, and you stake £10, the return if the bet goes in would be £45 and the profit would be £35 (4.5 – 1, multiplied by stake).
Any decimal odds that are less than 2.0 indicated that the selection has a more than 50% chance of success, as the outlay is greater than the return. For instance, a bet of £50 on a 1.60 chance would return £80 (£50 stake + £30 profit).
Fractional odds have been the choice in the UK for centuries. They are still used today on racecourses, football coupons and betting adverts. To a beginner, fractional odds may seem a little more difficult to grasp that decimal odds.
Examples of fractional odds include 7/4, 4/1, 5/2 and 11/4. In order to obtain ‘the multiplier’, the top number should be divided by the bottom number. For instance 7 divided by 4 gives 1.75. This 1.75 multiplied by your stake will be the profit on the bet, but don’t forget to add on your stake to get the total return.
E.g. £40 is placed on a horse whose odds are 5/2. The horse wins.
Multiplier: 5 divided by 2 = 2.5
Profit: 2.5 x 40 = £100
Return: Stake (£40) + Profit (£100) = £140
When converting fractional odds to decimal odds, the calculation requires you to add the multiplier + 1 (which acts as the stake). For instance, 6/4 express in decimal odds is 1.5 + 1 = 2.50 (decimals always expressed to two places)
If the number at the bottom of the fractional odds is larger than the number at the top, then the selection is ‘odds on’ – it is deemed to have more than a 50% chance of success. The larger the bottom number compared to the top number, the higher the probability.
Moneyline (US) odds
For some events such as horse racing, US sportsbooks adopt fractional odds. However for many sports and markets such as American Football, Boxing etc. ‘moneyline’ odds are used. These moneyline odds are generally used for an event with two outcomes.
Moneyline odds are worked out to a bet of $100. If the figure for a team is positive, then it refers to how much profit will be made based on a $100 dollar wager. For example, if the Denver Broncos were available for a match at +120, for every $100 staked, the profit would be $120 and the total return would be $220. Positive odds are used for the outcome which is deemed to be less likely.
A negative figure on the moneyline indicates a betting favourite and indicates how much needs to be staked to win $100. Betting on a Floyd Mayweather fight (where he is always a heavy favourite), punters are likely to see odds of -700 for the undefeated star. This means that $700 will have to be staked to make $100 profit. The total return would be $800.
Even money shots indicate that there is a 50% chance of success and in theory could be expressed as -100 or +100, as ultimately $100 staked at these odds equals $100 profit. Read about US Moneyline odds in more detail.
Hong Kong odds
Hong Kong odds are unsurprisingly adopted by many Asian bookmakers. The odds are fairly simple to work out in format and are a cross between decimal and fractional odds in their presentation, in that they exhibit the net return similar to fractional odds, but are presented in a decimal format.
To understand Hong Kong odds, the punter should assume that they are placing a 1 unit bet on a selection. The odds reflect the profit that will be obtained from striking that bet. Any odds that are less than 1, indicate the bet is ‘odds on’ i.e. has more than a 50% chance of success.
HK odds of 0.4 = 0.4 units profit for every 1 staked. (Fractional odds of 2/5)
HK odds of 5 = 5 units profit for every 1 staked (Fractional odds of 5/1)
Indonesian odds follow the same format as US odds, but just use a different stake to illustrate the probabilities of each outcome. Whereas with US betting odds returns are calculated a stake of 100, in Indonesia, they are calculated to a stake of 1. Again, odds with a – sign before them demonstrate how much is required to be staked to win 1 unit, whilst the + sign is disregarded for the ‘outsider’ bets which show how much profit can be obtained for a 1 unit stake. Read further about Indonesian odds here.
Manchester United are playing Newcastle at home. Manchester United are available at Indonesian odds of -3.0 to win the game. This means a 3 unit bet will give a 1 unit profit and total return of 4 unit.
Andy Murray is playing Rafa Nadal in France on a clay court. Murray is available at Indonesian odds of 2.25 to win the match. This means for every 1 unit staked, if Murray wins, 2.25 units will be made in profit, with a return of 3.25.
Even money bets are quoted as 1.00.
Malay odds are effectively the opposite of US odds. They also work on positive/negative system of display, but in reverse to that adopted in America. If the number is positive, then it indicates what you will receive for an outlay of 1 unit. For example, odds of 0.75 would indicate that for 1 unit stakes, 0.75 units profit would be derived. When the odds are negative, they indicate the bet has a less than 50% chance of success. So a bet which was -0.05 would require just 0.05 units to be staked to win 1. An even money bet is indicated as 0.
1. A horse is available at odds of -0.40. This would require an outlay over 0.4 units to win 1 unit. In decimal terms this equates to odds of 3.5
2. Arsenal are at home to Ipswich in the FA Cup. Arsenal can be backed at 0.25. This means for every 1 unit placed on Arsenal, 0.25 units profit will be made.