The basics of betting odds
Online bookmakers work out the chances of specific sporting events occurring; say, for example, the New England Patriots winning the Superbowl, or the Montreal Canadiens taking home the Stanley Cup. You’ll be presented with odds that may require you to ask questions like ‘What does 7/2 odds mean?’ and ‘What does 5-2 odds mean?’. They do this in a variety of ways, based on mathematical computations, comparing the odds other bookmakers are offering, weighing up form and fitness of the two teams and so on. But what do betting odds mean? Once they’ve calculated the chances of each outcome (and slightly adjusted it to take into account their cut), they present you – the punter – with the odds, which you can then place a bet on. There are two common ways of displaying the odds: decimal and fractional, so you’ll need decimal odds explained and know how to take betting odds fraction to decimal. The US sports market also caters to a third option: American odds. Keep reading to know the answer to how do odds work.
How do betting odds work when they are displayed as fractions?
When it comes to understanding betting odds, Canada bettors might ask what are fractional odds? Keep reading to know the answer to questions like what does 7/2 odds mean Fractional odds are popular in the United Kingdom, but you might also see them used elsewhere. How do odds work on a fractional basis? They are useful for telling us how much we are likely to win from a bet in relation to our stake. If we take the fraction, the number on the left signifies what we can win if we bet the amount of money on the right side of the fraction.
Imagine, then, that Tiger Woods is 14/1 to win the Open Championship. This means that if we bet $1.00 on Tiger to pull it off and he does, we’ll win $14. We’ll also get our $1.00 stake back, meaning a total return of $15.00. When fractional odds reflect the stake you want to wager, like this, they’re highly useful. However some odds can be written like 7/2. But what does 7/2 odds mean? This means that you win $7.00 for every $2.00 you bet – but if you want to stake a different amount, it can be difficult to work out your returns. The same applies if you are asking what does 5-2 odds mean, so you might want to turn betting odds fraction to decimal.
How to understand betting odds that appear to be ‘written the wrong way round’, for example 2/7, 1/6, is very simple. But what do betting odds mean like this? This just indicates that whatever it is you are betting on is a strong favourite; also known as ‘odds on’. As an example: if Detroit Red Wings are 2/5 to beat the Los Angeles Kings, then the bookmaker believes they are such strong favourites that the punter would have to be willing to place a larger stake on them to win than they would ultimately see in returns.
The equivalent of an odds-on bet when odds are displayed as decimals is anything below 2.0. In decimal odds, 2.0 is ‘even odds’, or 1/1. So hopefully you know how do odds work in fractions so that you don’t have to ask what does 5-2 odds mean anymore.
Did you know?
- It’s impossible to have decimal odds less than 1.01, which is effectively 1/100 in fractional odds.
Knowing how to calculate betting odds when they are displayed as decimals
So let’s have decimal odds explained, as you’ll need to know what do betting odds mean when they are in decimals. If fractional odds are too complicated for you, you’d probably prefer for your odds to be displayed as decimals, as they often are in Canada and the US. How do betting odds work on a decimal basis may be a question you’ve long harboured. Many punters find decimal odds easier to work with, as they allow you to know how much you will get in return inclusive of stake. They are also easier to compare (with fractions, how are you instantly meant to know which of 6/11 and 4/5 are bigger?)
In our Tiger Woods example: if he was still the same price to win the Open Championship, his decimal odds would be listed as 15.00. This means that a $1 bet on Tiger would return $15.00, including that original $1 stake. Decimal odds are simple to understand, and if you want to place a higher stake it’s just a case of multiplying it against the decimal figure given. So it’s good to know how to translate betting odds fraction to decimal in order to answer the question of ‘How do betting odds work?’.
Now that we’ve had decimal odds explained, it would be good to look at American odds. Like fractional and decimal odds, American odds – also known as the moneyline – are simply an alternative way to communicate probability to bettors. Usually utilised for matches between two players or teams, American odds are signified by pluses, for the underdogs, and minuses for the favourites. The figure which accompanies the plus sign indicates how much you would win for every $100 you stake, while the figure next to the minus sign shows how much you’d have to stake to win $100. Here’s an example from the recent UEFA Champions League final.
- Liverpool -200
- Tottenham Hotspur +170
You would, therefore, need to wager $200 on Liverpool to win $100, while a $100 bet on Tottenham would net you $170 in winnings if successful. Note that, as with fractional odds, the original stake isn’t included, so add this in to calculate your total payout. Hopefully that’s answered any questions about ‘What do betting odds mean?’ when it comes to American odds.
Our top 3 bookmaker choices for online betting
How do betting odds work: converting decimal to fractional odds
Converting decimal betting odds to fractions is simple: you just need a bit of mathematical knowledge. The first thing to do is take your decimal odds and subtract 1 from the number. So, if you have decimal odds of 4.50, take away 1, and you’re left with 3.50. This reflects odds of 3.50/1. But how betting odds work are that they need to be made up of whole numbers. The easiest way to do this is to multiply it by 10 and move the decimal along one place: so you’ll have 35/10. From here, we can work out how to find the smallest equivalent fraction. If we divide by five, for example, we’re left with fractional odds of 7/2. Don’t worry if you don’t want to do the calculation though, all good bookmakers will allow you to simply switch between decimal and fractional.
If you don’t know how to read odds as fractions, you can convert them to decimals – and this is even easier than the reverse method. All you need to do here is take your fractional figure: let’s say we’ve been quoted 21/13. Now, grab yourself a calculator or your notepad and divide the first number by the second. Rounded up, it’s 1.62. Then, just add 1.00 to this and you have your decimal figure: 2.62. Again, don’t worry too much if you can’t be bothered getting the pen and paper out and doing the math: at all of our recommended bookmakers, you can switch between fractional and decimal with the click of a mouse or the tap on the app, which you can download from us today. This should mean that you don’t have to ask ‘ How do betting odds work?’ anymore.
Gambling odds explained: how to improve what you’re being offered
So far in this guide, we’ve answered the question ‘What do betting odds mean?’ but what if you aren’t happy with the odds you’re being offered and think you could get a better return? Well, the first option is to visit a different bookmaker who is offering better odds!
However, nowadays most bookmakers offer different types of bet and levels of customisation where you can lengthen the odds and improve your chances of bagging yourself a decent return. Among these are accumulator bets, where you can rollover different selections, Asian handicaps, which often offer better sporting odds than 1X2 betting, and cash out, which gives you greater control over your wagers than ever before.
Accumulator bets allow you to combine a number of selections into one bet, usually with odds that offer a higher return from a lower stake than if you’d just place a single or double bet. Accumulators are defined as bets with four or more selections, and are referred to as ‘four-fold, ‘five-fold’ and so on, depending on how many separate bets they encompass. Read on for how to calculate betting odds and how to read odds for accumulators. We’ll use an example from the English Premier League.
Say you choose the following four selections in your four-fold accumulator:
- Chelsea @ 15/8
- Tottenham @ 2/1
- Newcastle @ 5/2
- Brighton @ 6/1
You want to place $10 on the bet coming in. Assuming all of your selections do win, how do the odds work?
Your $10 would first be staked on the outcome of the Chelsea game. A win here would net you $28.75, including your stake. This would then be wagered on the Tottenham game and another win means your overall bet return is $86.25. Repeat this for the next two selections and again, if both results come in as predicted, you can expect a final total return of $2113.13!
- Many bookmakers now offer a ‘money back’ option on their accumulators. So, if you place a five-fold or more accumulator and one leg of it loses, the bookmaker may offer to refund your stake.
An Asian handicap bet takes a football or sports match between two teams or opponents. Usually, the odds will be skewed towards one side and away from the other due to form, suspension, injuries or pure cost of the squad. If the betting odds of one side are 2/7 and the other are 20/1, it might put off punters who don’t want to risk large amounts of money for a sure bet – but a small return – or don’t fancy backing the outsider. The Asian handicap mitigates against this, create as even a betting environment as possible by giving the outsider a headstart in terms of goals and handicapping the favourite. The overall aim for the bookmaker is to make the bet as close to 50/50 as possible.
Another way to improve your odds is to take advantage of the cash out feature offered by most online bookmakers. This effectively places the power in the punter’s hands by allowing them to settle their bet early and pocket a percentage of their forecasted profit – or original stake, if things aren’t going so well.
If we take our accumulator bet example from above. Say all four teams are winning their fixtures 1-0 after 65 minutes of the game. In such a situation, your bookmaker could offer you a cash out value of $1,200. This would allow you to settle the bet and pocket $1,200 straightaway. While this is a lot less than if you saw the bet out and the results remained the same, with 25 minutes still left to play you might not feel confident in all the games staying 1-0. Cash out can also be used to cut your losses, if things are going badly.
Conclusion: gambling odds explained Canada
We hope that this guide has answered the question ‘How do odds work?’ and that you now know how to calculate betting odds on a range of wagers. Knowledge of betting odds is vital if you’re going to make a success of yourself as a punter. The most important thing to remember when placing a wager with a bookmaker is that fractional, decimal and American odds are all just different ways of displaying the same probability. If you do have any doubt how to calculate betting odds, there are a number of online calculators you can use. Of course, most online betting platforms will automatically tell you how much you stand to win from a bet.
How do betting odds work, Canada and elsewhere? Now you know! And with that knowledge, comes the ability to start wagering on all of your favourite sports, including football, baseball, basketball and more! To do this with all of our recommended bookmakers, all you need to do is sign up and register an account. Once you have an account, you can deposit your funds and start betting with these sites right away! If you have any questions , just ask these sites’ professional and experienced support teams, who will be more than happy to help you out.
Enjoy online gambling at these popular bookmakers in Canada