How To Bet

Betting Odds Explained

Welcome to the sports betting scene, player!

In this guide, we’re going to tackle everything you need to know about betting odds. We’ll begin our discussion with the section titled ‘Betting Odds Explained’ so that you know exactly what you're dealing with.

What are Sports Betting Odds?

Sports betting is a numbers game. Sometimes, you are dealing with American odds, decimal odds, or fractional odds depending on your location and the sport in question.

It's impossible to become adept at sports betting if you don't know how to read odds. Over the long-term, you simply have to understand betting odds, implied probability, and the differences between different types of odds.

Sports betting is a huge industry, peppered with a seemingly endless stream of ratios, numbers, and dynamic odds. What do all of these betting odds mean? How can you make the numbers work for you? Let's break things down into their core components to make it as easy as possible, so that you understand how to read odds.

What Are American Odds?

As a New Jersey bettor, you're probably already familiar with American odds, but here's a refresher. American odds are also known as moneyline odds. It is the most commonly used format in the US, displayed as either a positive (+), or a negative (-) number.

When American odds have positive numbers, that's how much money (USD $) you can win when you bet $100. When American odds have negative numbers, that's how much money (USD $) you must bet in order to win $100.

A simple NFL example will clarify this:

  • New York Giants +120 -> this indicates that a $100 bet will yield $120 if the NY Giants win.
  • Minnesota Vikings -110 -> this indicates that you have to bet $110 to win $100 on the Minnesota Vikings.

The (-) automatically indicates the favorite team in the bet, since you have to spend more money than you will win to place the bet. The (+) indicates the underdog in the bet, since you will win more money than you bet.

What Are Decimal Odds?

You have already seen from the example above how fractional odds can be converted to decimal odds, otherwise known as European odds. In Canada, Australia, and parts of Europe, many bookmakers use decimal odds.

They are really easy to understand, and you can toggle between decimal odds, fractional odds, and American odds at leading bookmakers. With decimal odds, you will see exactly how much you will be paid out if your bet wins.

Let's consider an international friendly between the USA and Portugal:

  • USA -> 2.55
  • Portugal -> 1.65

In this matchup, a $100 bet on the USA can win $255 if the USA beats Portugal. Now, if you placed a $100 bet on Portugal to beat the USA, and they do, you would win $165. It's really easy to calculate payouts with decimal odds, since you simply multiply your bet by the decimal odds to get your payout.

What Are Fractional Odds?

Fractional odds are UK odds. These betting odds are used in the United Kingdom and they are often associated with horseracing. With fractional odds, the numbers are expressed as a fraction, for example 1/2, 1/3, 1/5, 1/8 et cetera. But what do fractional odds really mean?

Consider the following UK Premier League example:

  • Liverpool FC -> 7/10
  • Manchester United FC -> 49/10

Looking at the fractional odds listed above can be a little confusing to new sports bettors. Liverpool FC have odds of 7/10, or 0.7:1. That means for every $10 that you bet on Liverpool to win, you can win $7 (7/10 = 0.7). In other words, you get 70% back on every winning bet. The lowest fractional odds in a matchup indicates the favorite team.

Now let's look at Manchester United FC. In this example, the fractional odds are 49/10 or 4.9:1. That means that you will get $4.90 for every dollar you bet on Manchester United FC. Clearly, Manchester United FC is the underdog since they have terrific odds in this matchup.


How Do Plus and Minus Odds Really Work?

We've briefly referenced the plus/minus signs [+ / -] with respect to American odds. Many sports bettors struggle with understanding the logic behind this. Remember, when you bet you have an option to bet on the Winning team or sportsperson, or a Tie result.

How do you differentiate between the favorite and the underdog in a 2-team matchup? Sure, you may have a good feeling about the stronger team, but who really is the stronger team and who is the weaker team?

The answer to these questions is evident in the betting odds that are provided. Recall that the minus sign in front of a team indicates how much money you need to bet in order to win $100. A plus sign in front of the team indicates how much money you can win for a bet of $100.

Let's consider a couple of NFL lines to clarify this for you:

  • Dallas Cowboys [-150] -> bet $150 to win $100
  • Baltimore Ravens [-250] -> bet $250 to win $100
  • Philadelphia Eagles [-125] -> bet $125 to win $100
  • San Francisco 49ers [-275] -> bet $275 to win $100

Based on the return, it is relatively easy to see which bet offers the largest percentage payback on your money. In the above example, the smallest negative number a.k.a. -125 and the Philadelphia Eagles requires you to bet $125 to win $100. Your smallest return as a bettor is on the San Francisco 49ers, since you have to bet $275 just to win $100.

Nice to Know: If you are ever curious about how American odds would look like as decimal odds, or fractional odds, you can easily convert them.

For the Baltimore Ravens, the decimal odds can be calculated as follows: 100÷250 = 0.4:1. This means that you will get $40 for every $100 that you bet on the Baltimore Ravens!

For the Philadelphia Eagles, the decimal odds can be calculated as follows: 100÷125 = 0.8:1. This means that you will get $80 for every $100 that you bet on the Philadelphia Eagles!

How much profit you make in each case? The answer is even simpler than the question  $100 in every bet. Now, if you increase/decrease your bet size, different figures will result. Note that most sports bettors are not going to place a $100 bet on every match that takes place.

You may place a $5, $10, $25, or any other amount on these teams. Provided you meet the minimum bet requirement; your bet will pay out at precisely the same odds displayed above.

Let’s look at each of the above examples with different bet sizes, as indicated in the table below:

Dallas Cowboys
$5 bet x 0.67

$3.33 Profit
$10 bet x 0.67

$6.70 Profit
$25 bet x 0.67

$16.75 Profit
Baltimore Ravens
$5 bet x 0.40

$2.00 Profit
$10 bet x 0.40

$4 Profit
$25 bet x 0.40

$10 Profit
Philadelphia Eagles
$5 bet x 0.8

$4 Profit
$10 bet x 0.8

$8 Profit
$25 bet x 0.8

$20 Profit
San Francisco 49ers
$5 bet x 0.36

$1.81 Profit
$10 bet x 0.36

$3.60 Profit
$25 bet x 0.36

$9 Profit

We can just as easily make all of these betting odds positive and show you exactly what that means. If you see [+] symbols in front of a team, it indicates that these teams are the underdogs.

It doesn't matter that there is a [+] associated with these teams now, but you will notice a change in the returns if these teams win.

Let's take a look:

  • Dallas Cowboys [+150] -> bet $100 to win $150
  • Baltimore Ravens [+250] -> bet $100 to win $250
  • Philadelphia Eagles [+125] -> bet $100 to win $125
  • San Francisco 49ers [+275] -> bet $100 to win $275

Note that the returns per $ are much higher when there are positive betting odds associated with the 4 NFL teams above. If we use the same table, but change the - to a +, this is how profitable wins can be:

Dallas Cowboys
$5 bet x 1.5

$7.50 Profit
$10 bet x 1.5

$15 Profit
$25 bet x 1.5

$37.50 Profit
Baltimore Ravens
$5 bet x 2.5

$12.50 Profit
$10 bet x 2.5

$25 Profit
$25 bet x 2.5

$62.50 Profit
Philadelphia Eagles
$5 bet x 1.25

$6.25 Profit
$10 bet x 1.25

$12.50 Profit
$25 bet x 1.25

$31.25 Profit
San Francisco 49ers
$5 bet x 2.75

$13.75 Profit
$10 bet x 2.75

$27.50 Profit
$25 bet x 2.75

$68.75 Profit

With odds like that, it is unlikely that these teams will win their games against the competition.

What Are Vegas Odds?

According to the Institute for Digital Research & Education at UCLA, the generally accepted definition of Vegas Odds, or Las Vegas Odds is simply referring to betting odds like 3 to 1 or 3 to 2, 1 to 7, or 6 to 5 et cetera.

If we consider probability analysis, the maximum probability of something occurring – with absolute certainty – is 1, or 100%.

Anything less than 1 (as expressed in a fractional format) could be displayed as 0.75 (75% probability of occurring), 0.37 (37% probability of occurring) and so forth.

When you see Vegas odds of 6 to 5, it means that there are 6 chances of the team winning and 5 chances of the team losing. To calculate Vegas Odds, such as 4 to 1, you have to understand that there is a 4 in 5 chance of the team winning, which equates to statistical odds of 4.0000, or a probability of 0.8000.

Let's look at a few more Vegas odds and their associated chances, statistical odds, and probabilities of occurring:

  • Vegas Odds of 10 to 1 -> chance of 10 in 11 -> statistical odds of 10.0000 -> probability of 0.9091
  • Vegas Odds of 6 to 1 -> chance of 6 in 7 -> statistical odds of 6.0000 -> probability of 0.8571
  • Vegas Odds of 1 to 8 -> chance of 1 in 9 -> statistical odds of 0.1250 -> probability of 0.1111

What Are In-Play Live Odds?

Live odds are offered on live sports matches and events. Since they are live, they are taking place in real time. Live betting tips can be implemented on a wide range of sports, including soccer, tennis, basketball, hockey, football, and other selections.

In-play live odds are dynamic odds, meaning that they will change while the sports matches are taking place.

Live odds are designed to keep pace with the action on the pitch, in the ring, or on the field of play, and to represent the relative advantage between opposing teams in real time. In-play live odds are readily available to players at 888sport, and displayed accordingly when games are underway.

To get started with live betting, you have to find a sports match that is currently taking place. You can join the action at any time, such as between innings, set plays, holes, sets, timeouts, half time et cetera. Scroll down the list of betting options and find ‘Live Right Now’ to access available bets.

Find competitive NBA lines and NFL lines to bet on, and place your selections accordingly. Everything else works precisely as we have described above. Once you have locked in your bets, you’re good to go.


How to Calculate Implied Probability?

The best way to illustrate implied probability in sports betting is by way of an example. Let's take two NFL teams to show you exactly how it works:

  • Dallas Cowboys -3.5 [-110]
  • Green Bay Packers +3.5 [-110]

In the above example, we have to bet $110 to win $100 on the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers. The potential payout for a loss is $0 and the potential payout for a win is $210. This is true for both the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers. Things get a little more complicated when we determine the implied probabilities of each outcome in this matchup.

  • For the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas covers $110 divided by $210 = 0.524 (52.4%)
  • For the Green Bay Packers, Green Bay covers $110 divided by $210 = 0.524 (52.4%)

The sum of these two results is 104.8%. What does this mean? It means we need to put down $104.80 to win $100. Clearly, bookmakers have a 4.80% house edge over sports bettors.

Now if we take the NFL lines and change them around, we can see how implied probabilities will change for different odds:

  • Dallas Cowboys [-180]
  • Green Bay Packers [+150]

Now a bet on the Dallas Cowboys [-180] requires a $180 bet for a possible payout of $0, or a potential win of $280.

And a $100 bet on the Green Bay Packers can yield a potential payout of $0, or a win of $250.

Ignoring the tie result, there are only 2 potential outcomes – a win or a loss. If we divide the risk/total payout, we will get the implied probability of each bet in the above example.

If the Dallas Cowboys win, $180 divided by $280 = 0.6429 = 64.29%.

If the Green Bay Packers win, $100 divided by $250 = 0.4000 = 40%.

The sum of these two outcomes is 104.29%, indicating the house edge of 4.29%, which is known as the vigorish, or the bookmaker’s edge.

Ready to place your bets, try betting on NFL!

How Do I Calculate My Winnings?

All of the above examples indicate precisely how much you need to bet in order to realize a specific return. Fortunately, when you place your bets at a reputable online sportsbook like 888sport NJ, you will automatically see your potential winnings on your sports betting ticket.

You can play around with bet sizes to see how much you stand to win if your team comes in.

The winnings are simply the difference between the cost of the bet and the payout you receive. If your team loses, the cost of your bet represents your losses. If your team wins, your winnings are the difference between the cost of that bet and the betting odds associated with your team.

The vigorish is automatically added into the overall betting odds, so you don't need to worry about that.

Here's an example to illustrate how to calculate your winnings:

  • New York Giants +120
  • Minnesota Vikings -110

Let's say you bet $200 on the New York Giants to beat the Minnesota Vikings. If the Giants win, you will win $200 x 1.2 = $240 in total.

Your profit is the difference between the cost of your bet and your take-home. In this case you put down $200 and you received $240, for a net profit of $40.

This is the most complete online guide to sports betting odds. Feel free to implement these important rules in your sports betting sessions.

Be sure of your bet size, the favorite and the underdog when making your selections.

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