How Do Odds Work in Football?

How Do Odds Work in Football

Are you new to betting, or gambling in general?

If you are, then I’m sure you understand how critically important it is to grasp the various intricacies that have to do with betting.

That being said, one of the first things to learn is how betting odds work. At first, it may appear confusing, however, it is an integral part of gambling that allows you to understand:

  • the probability of an event occurring, and,
  • what your potential winnings will be.

Therefore, this comprehensive guide is meant to help you get over the various complexities of what betting odds are about and just simplify the process to you.

What Are Odds?

Simply put, when it has to do with gambling, odds represent the ratio between the amounts staked by parties to a wager or bet. Thus, odds of 3 to 1 implies that; the bookmaker stakes three times the amount staked by the bettor.

Just so you know, a bet can have a price that’s either odds on or odds against.

Odds On – The potential amount you can win will be less than the amount staked.

Odds Against – The potential amount you can win will be greater than the amount staked.

To further elaborate on this point, you’ll definitely make a profit from winning an odd on the bet, as your initial stake is returned too, but you have to risk an amount that’s higher than you stand to gain. Odds on are more likely to win, that is why they are big favorites for bettors.

Likewise, when bets are more likely to lose than win, they will typically be odds against.

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Hence, the higher the odds, the less likely a bet is to win but the greater the rewards will be.

The Various Odd Format

There are three main formats used for expressing betting odds that you will most likely come across when gambling, and they are:

  • Decimal
  • Moneyline (or American)
  • Fractional

In football, the most commonly used odd formats are decimal and fractional odds. The Moneyline odd is quite popular but it is not often used and might be dependent on the bookmarker or betting sites, whichever the case may be.

Although; some sites let you choose your format, some don’t.

Fractional odds are the more popular style of the two and are presented as just that; fractions. The same thing goes for decimal odds, and most bookmakers will offer on their websites an option to switch between the two different styles to suit the user’s preference.

Fractional Odds

Fractional odds are most commonly used in the United Kingdom. They appear as a “slash (/)” or a “hyphen (-),” for example 2/1 or 2-1.

The slash in between the two numbers is expressed as ‘to,’ or ‘two to one’ taking the whole number into account.

This means that the first number in the fraction will tell you how much you will win relative to the second number in the fraction. 

For example, a fractional listing of 7/1 odds would mean that you win $7 against every $1 you bet (in addition to receiving your dollar back, i.e. $1 – the amount you staked). In other words, this is the ratio of the amount (profit) won to the initial bet, which means that you will receive your stake ($1) in addition to the profit ($7), resulting in a total payout of $8. Therefore, if you stake $10 at 7/1, you get a total payout of $80 ($70 profit + $10 stake).

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Decimal Odds

This is the simplest of the three formats and the most commonly used by betting sites, with the possible exception of sites that have a predominantly American customer base. 

Decimal odds, which are usually displayed using two decimal places, show exactly how much a winning wager will return per unit staked.

For decimal odds, the number represents the total payout, rather than the profit. In other words, your stake is already included in the decimal number so there is no need to add back your stake, which makes its total payout calculation easier.

For example, betting $5 at decimal odds of 5.00, $25 will be the winning return if the bet goes through.

American Odds/ Money line

American odds are also sometimes referred to as Moneyline, but are never used in UK betting markets.

The American odds can either be positive or negative.

For example, assuming Newcastle United is set to go against Everton, and, let’s say they have a +120 odds. While; Everton has -130 odds. 

The positive odds show the potential profit if you were to wage $100. So, if you bet $100 on the Newcastle United to win, the profit gain if they do is $120. 

Negative odds, on the other hand, show the amount of money one would have to wager in order to win a profit of $100. So, using this example, you would need to bet $130 on the game and Everton would have to win for you to gain a profit of $100.

Finally, knowing how odds work in football and learning how to use these odds to your benefit is key to being the best bettor you can possibly be.

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It is advisable to also do your research before placing your bets, cause knowing specifics about the teams and sporting events involved can help to decide when to bet against the odds.


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