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Betting Odds Formats

Betting odds come in different formats worldwide, according to the conventions in the country where you wish to bet. The most common betting odds formats are decimal (used in continental Europe and Australia), fractional (used in the UK) and moneyline (also called the American odds format). Apart from these popular formats, others also exist, and they are typically related to specific markets.

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Decimal
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Fractional
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Knowing what different odds formats mean and how to interpret them is crucial when placing your bets. If you are not familiar with what odds formats exist and how they work, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a look at the most popular ones before proceeding to other known types of odds formats.

What Is a Betting Odds Format?

Betting odds formats represent different ways to express the odds sportsbooks set for bettors looking to place their bets. Formats differ geographically, and sometimes a single country has its own odds format, and sometimes it’s a continent-wide rule. 

What you need to know is that odds formats represent similar odds (if not the same) everywhere, so one team will be a favourite with similar odds in whatever format the sportsbook presents them to players. The most important thing is that you understand the odds format before placing your bet to avoid any surprises later.

 

Sports Betting Odds By Type

Most Popular Betting Odds Formats

The most popular betting odds formats are the most recognisable ones, and the best sports betting sites provide different odds for the markets they operate in. While it’s very possible to place your bets when you only know how one format works (the one used in your country), it’s good to know how other odds formats work. Let’s look into the most popular formats now to explain how all of them work.

American Odds

American odds are also known as moneyline odds. When you see the odds in hundreds with a plus or a minus sign in front of them, you are looking at the American odds. The favourites have the odds with a negative (-) value, while the odds on the underdogs will have a positive (+) value assigned to them. 

The odds are shown in hundreds and based on a $100 amount, but they are scaled down or up depending on the size of your wager. When the odds are negative, for example, -120, that means that you need to wager $120 to win $100 ($220 in total). On the other hand, if the odds are +250, that means that you win $250 when you invest $100 (a total of $350) if your bet wins.

For example, let’s say that the Cleveland Cavaliers are playing against the Washington Wizards in the NBA at the moment when the Cavaliers are the obvious favourites. So, the bookie has set the following odds:

  • The Cavaliers: -660
  • The Wizards: +535

What this means is that you need to bet $660 to win $100 ($760 in total payout) if you are betting on the Cavaliers to win, and if the Wizards manage a surprise, you can win $535 with a $100 bet (a total of $635). Depending on your stake, the sportsbook will scale the numbers accordingly.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are a bit more straightforward than the moneyline odds, and it’s easy to spot who is the favourite to win the game, event or tournament and who is the underdog. If you are betting on the total number of goals in a football game, for example, you can also see right away from the odds what type of match the bookie expects.

When it comes to decimal odds, the lower the odds, the more likely it is that the team/individual will win the event. Following the same logic, the higher the odds, the less likely the bet will win. Also, if you bet on football, the betting site will provide the odds for a draw.

To continue with football, let’s look at an example of a straight bet on a match with not-so-clear favourites. It’s a German Bundesliga match, one where Wolfsburg is playing against Stuttgart. These are the odds that the sportsbook has set:

  • Wolfsburg to win: 3.20
  • Draw: 3.55
  • Stuttgart to win: 2.10

While we can see that Stuttgart is a slight favourite to win the match, it’s not such a clear-cut case. So, if you bet €10 that Wolfsburg will win, and the team wins, you will win 10x3.20=32 in total. It’s quite straightforward, actually.

Fractional Odds

Back on the slightly complicated side, we have the fractional odds that are used in the UK. As the name itself indicates, these odds are in the format of fractions instead of decimals. You can calculate the potential win by dividing the numerator and denominator, multiplying it by the stake amount, and then adding the stake.

With fractional odds, it is also possible to see who the favourite is quite easily. If the numerator is larger than the denominator, the bookie predicts that the bet is less likely to win. If the nominator is smaller than the denominator, the bet is a favourite to win. 

Here’s one example of how fractional odds work:

Let’s say you want to bet on a football match between Nottingham Forrest and Liverpool when Liverpool are the clear favourites. The sportsbook is offering the following odds:

  • Nottingham to win: 5/1
  • Draw: 15/4
  • Liverpool to win: 8/15

If you bet £10 that Nottingham will win, you are looking at a £60 payout if that happens. Betting the same amount on a draw would result in a potential win of £37.5, plus the initial stake, leading to a £47.5 total win. A win for Liverpool would result in a total payout of £15.33.

The formula looks like this: the payout = numerator/denominator x the stake, plus the stake.

Other Types of Odds Formats

The three most popular odds formats are certainly not the only ones that exist, and other known types of betting odds are typical for Asian markets, more specifically, for certain Asian countries. These are some of the well-known Asian types of betting odds:

  • Hong Kong odds: The Hong Kong odds are decimal in their essence but don’t include your stake in the payout, unlike the decimal odds in Europe. For example, what would be  3.50 odds in other markets translates to 2.50 in the Hong Kong market. It means that you get the profit only, and not your stake back when you win a sports bet in Hong Kong.
  • Indonesian odds: Indonesian odds are a mixture of American and Hong Kong odds, depending on whether you bet on a favourite or an underdog or what bet is more likely to win. So, if American odds are set at -300, that would be -3.0 in the Indonesian odds when you bet on a favourite. If the odds are on the positive side, then Indonesians use the Hong Kong format, and the 4.50 odds pay out $4.5 in wins for every $1 invested.
  • Malaysian odds: To complicate matters a bit more, Malaysian odds are expressed in decimal format and have the plus and minus signs before them but indicate the opposite of the American odds. When you see a + sign before odds in Malaysia, it means that you are betting on a favourite, whereas the - sign implies betting on an underdog in a straight bet. The odds of +0.50 mean that you win $0.50 on every $1 you invest, and the -0.50 is like 2/1 in fractional odds, meaning that you win $2 on every $1 you bet.

Sports Betting Odds Formats

Calculation Of Betting Odds

Different odds formats get calculated in different ways, and we have already given you the formula for each of them. If you encounter odds in a format different from the one you typically use, you can calculate the odds by using the formula we explained above or find an odds converter that you can use.

Speaking of how the bookies calculate the odds, that’s based on statistics, probability, and loads of computer analysis. If you bet on the favourites, you can’t expect very high odds because their win is a likely scenario. On the other hand, betting on underdogs offers more lucrative odds but is less likely to bring you a win.

While how sportsbooks calculate odds is not the most important information you need, you should still compare the odds sportsbooks provide to ensure you find the one that provides the best odds for your betting style.

Ready To Bet?

Now that you have learnt more about betting odds formats and how to interpret them, you are one step closer to choosing your next sport betting site to start betting on your favourite sports. Before you do, make sure the sportsbook you choose is licensed and trustworthy and that it offers good bonuses and odds.

We suggest you also read our expert sportsbook reviews before you choose your next sports betting destination. Start there, and then choose carefully based on the criteria you deem the most important in a sportsbook.