Betting Odds-Learn Its Types, How They Work & Probability


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Sports betting is a genius way to earn a little extra cash as a side hustle. It allows you to make money from the intense amount of knowledge about a sporting event that you have accumulated over time and use it to your advantage.

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The concept is pretty enticing, not to mention highly rewarding. The problem is, most people don’t know the concepts that influence sports betting and thereby their earnings. Thus, today we will discuss betting odds and lines that govern your income from this incredible source.

What is betting odds?

Betting odds are the determinant ratio that displays the capabilities of a player or team or the possible outcome of a game by reducing the governing elements to numbers and figures.

Simply put, sportsbooks and bookies compare the gameplay and performance of the players and the teams over a number of games. Based on how many times they won and how many times they lost, they determine a ratio representation of the capabilities of that team or player.

Thus, betting odds are the simplest way to compare and predict the likelihood of possible outcomes for a game or the performance of a player in a team or solo players. They are a representation of predictability in the simplest form.

Betting odds can be represented in multiple forms and you need to read them accurately to make wise predictions. Let’s take a look at how you can do that.

How to read betting odds with examples

Betting odds for different games are based on the region of the bookies and the sportsbooks. For the purposes of this article, let us consider Indian currencies and the game of cricket since everyone is familiar with the fundamentals.

Here are the three main different types of betting odds representation and how to read them:

1. American Odds

These are probably the toughest to understand. The odds are determined by determining the betting lies and setting the plus-minus betting odds against them.

The American betting odds represent how much money you need to invest in order to earn a given base amount. So, let’s assume that you want to bet on the IndVsAus cricket match for Rs.100 and you want to bet on India to win.

Now, the odds will be displayed as +120 and -120 that represents the likelihood of winning as well as the quantifier for your earnings. So, if +120 is assigned to India, Australia has -120 assigned to them, and you bet Rs. 100, here’s how you earn.

If India wins the match then upon investing Rs. 100, you earn Rs. 120 in profits. If Australia wins then for an investment of Rs. 120, you will earn Rs. 100 in profits.

As you can see, the plus-minus system depicts how much will be added to your profits if you made the right choice. Of course, this sum will increase if you make much higher investments.

2. Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are very easy to read. They are represented as decimal points that you use to multiply your betting amount and determine your winnings quickly.

For instance, if the betting odds on India vs Pakistan are represented as 2.5 and 1.5 respectively then for placing a bet of Rs. 100 you will receive Rs. 150 if India wins and Rs. 50 If Pakistan wins.

3. Fractional Odds

They may appear a little complex but they are actually quite easy to read. Fractional betting odds depict the odds of the outcome to be a loss vs the outcome to be a win.

Let’s assume that you are betting on India to win against West Indies. If the odds are represented as 8/4 then it means that the odds of India losing the match is double their chances of winning against West Indies if the 2 teams played 12 matches.

Simply put, if India and West Indies have played 12 matches in the past with most of the same players that are participating in the match then India must have won only 4 of the 12 past games.

Types of betting odds and how they work

There are three distinct types of betting odds based on quantifiable betting lines.

1. American Betting Odds

American betting odds require a little overthought. These odds are determined using betting lines but they use plus and minus signs to depict the winning and losing sums if you bet on a certain team or player.

The plus-minus signs actually help determine which team or player is the underdog in a given match. The player who has positive betting odds is usually the underdog and they offer high winning potential. The minus signs represent the player or team who is most likely to win the match but your winnings will be lower since the negative betting odds will be deducted as vig.

2. Decimal Betting Odds

Decimal odds are possibly the simplest to understand. They use betting lines to determine the betting odds wherein the underdog has a higher betting odds assigned to them since their likelihood of winning is slimmer.

Decimal betting odds simply represent the odds as a decimal number and you can use this number to calculate the probability of the outcome and your winnings using very simple equations that we will discuss shortly.

3. Fractional Betting Odds

They are most common in European sportsbooks and represent the betting odds in horse races. You can find these betting odds in several other types of sports matches too but if the outcomes of the matches are anything other than win, lose, and draw, it is difficult to determine the probability and winnings for the match.

Fractional betting odds represent the bifurcated possibilities of the outcomes in a certain number of events held. Therefore, if there are 10 matches held between two given teams, then the fractional betting odds will represent how many times each team is likely to win.

How to use betting odds to calculate probability?

In order to calculate the probability of the outcome of the sporting event from the betting odds, you need to use a set of formulas based on the type of odds. Let us take a look at what they are:

1. American Betting Odds Probability

To calculate the probability of the outcome based on the American betting odds, you can use the following formula:

100 / (positive odds + 100)

So, if you want to calculate the probability of India winning against Australia at +120 odds then it is calculated as, 100/ (120+100) = 100 / 220 = 0.45, i.e., 45%

Therefore, the likelihood of India winning against Australia is only 45% even though they offer higher odds.

2. Decimal Betting Odds Probability

If you want to calculate the probability of the outcome of an event based on the decimal betting odds then you can use the following formula:

100 / decimal odds

If we assume the example from above that India has 2.5 betting odds in their favor to win then the probability of the outcome is,

100 / 2.5 = 40% which is lower than Pakistan in that specific match.

3. Fractional Betting Odds Probability

Based on whose probability of win you are calculating, you need to use the numerator or denominator on top. Assuming our previous example of Ind Vs WI at 4/8 odds where India is likely to win 4 out of the total number of matches, which is 8+4 = 12, we use the following equation:

Number of possible wins/number of matches = winning probability

In this case, 4/12 = 0.33.

Therefore, India’s chances of winning the match against West Indies is only 33%

How to use betting odds to calculate winnings?

Calculating your winnings based on the betting odds that you receive is fairly easy. Each type of betting odds has a formula that you must use in order to calculate the sum of the amount you will make against your bet. Let’s take a look at the formulae to help you determine your winnings:

1. American Betting Odds Calculation

You can use this equation to determine your winnings from American odds:

(Plus-minus determinant)/100 = (your investment/x), now solve for x.

Let’s say you bet Rs. 1000 on India at +120 odds, then your winnings are calculated as,

120/100 = 1000/x => 120x = 100000 => x = 100000/120, so x = 833.33.

Therefore, for the betting sum of Rs. 1000, you will earn Rs. 833.33, so the total money you will receive is Rs. 1833.33.

2. Decimal Betting Odds Calculation

You can use the following equation to calculate your winnings:

(The odds x your betting sum) – your betting sum = winnings.

Let’s say you bet Rs. 1000 for India to win at 2.5 betting odds, then your winnings will be,

(2.5 x 1000) – 1000 = 2500 – 1000 = 1500.

Therefore, for betting a sum of Rs. 1000, you will make Rs. 1500 in profit. And the total amount you receive will be Rs. 2500.

3. Fractional Betting Odds Calculation

In order to calculate your winnings from fractional betting odds, you first need to convert the numbers to decimal points and then use the following equation:

Your betting sum x (100/ decimal odds) = winnings.

You can calculate it directly as well. Let’s say you bet Rs. 1000 on India to win at 4/8 odds then the decimal factor is 0.5. Therefore your winnings would be,

1000 x (4/8) = 1000 x 0.5 = 500.

Therefore, your winnings are Rs. 500 and the total sum you will receive is Rs. 1500.

Key takeaways

After closely examining what is betting odds, how betting lines affect the odds, and how to calculate the probability of the outcome for the event, here are a few things you need to bear in mind:

  • The betting odds on the underdog are always higher than the team that is most likely to win, so don’t bet blindly based on the odds displayed.
  • Always take the time to calculate the implied probability for the outcome of any sporting match regardless of what it is and who is playing.
  • If you can’t decide which team you should bet on, calculate the probability and the winnings as per the betting odds on each team and bet on your favorite as long as the difference between the probability calculations isn’t a lot.
  • If the probability of the underdog team is below 30%, don’t bet on them.
  • The betting odds can tell you a lot about the competence of any player or a team.

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What are the odds in betting?

Odds are the representation of a team or player’s overall performance and their ability to score the winning points. In order to answer what are odds in betting, they are the decimal and fractional figures or betting lines that represent the teams’ level of expected performance and the possible outcomes of the match.

What are betting lines?

When the bookies and sportsbooks try to determine the betting odds for a game where the outcome is not as cut and dry, they compare the odds of the two teams and their performances. This helps identify the underdog in the team and how far behind they might fall in terms of scores in the actual game against the favorite-to-win team.

This bias that results from the difference in predicted scores creates a marginal line. This line is used to determine the betting odds and it is referred to as betting lines. They let the punters know which team is favored to win and which one is the underdog.

What kind of betting odds should I play to earn big?

Betting odds usually represent the underdog and the team that is favorable to win. The odds determined from betting lines will usually offer high rewards for betting on the underdog. Similarly, the fractional and decimal odds show the likelihood of the team’s performance against their adversary.

In order to make winning bets based on the odds, you should always split the difference when the odds are poles apart. That means indulging in matched betting and splitting your bets on individual outcomes in the game rather than the game itself.

In the case of betting lines, consider the minus betting amount before you bet on your favorite team. You also need to consider the underdog team’s consistency with the same team and their performance with other teams before you decide if you should choose to bet on them.

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