How To Read Sports Betting Odds

If you’re interested in sports betting, the first thing you need to know is how to read odds.

Without having the concept of betting odds explained, you won’t know whether you are making a smart bet or not.

A smart bet is any time an event is more likely of happening than the betting odds suggest.

For example, if you believe a team has a 75% chance of winning but the odds pay as if the team has a 50% chance of winning, this would be a smart bet. If the team has a 25% chance of winning but the odds pay as if the team has a 50% chance of winning, this would be a poor bet.

Before we get to that, we need to determine the different ways how to read odds.

How do odds work?

Betting odds indicate how much money you can win on a bet, compared to how much money you have to risk.

Another way how to read odds is as the oddsmakers’ numerical expression of the probability of an event taking place.

If a team is listed at 2/1 odds, it means you can win $2 for every $1 you risk. This also suggests the team is twice as likely to lose the game as to win it.

There are three main ways that betting odds are displayed: American odds, fraction odds and decimal odds.

American betting odds explained

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American odds can be confusing when you’re first learning how to read odds, but it is the most popular and convenient form of betting odds.

A moneyline is based on what you would have to risk to win $100 on a favourite, and what you would win on a $100 bet on an underdog. A minus sign in front of the moneyline indicates the favourite, and a plus sign indicates the underdog.

In the above example, you would win $225 on a $100 bet on Buffalo, and you would have to risk $275 to win $100 on Chicago.

Fraction betting odds explained

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Fraction odds are a simpler way how to read odds, although they aren’t commonly used in North American sports betting.

The fraction is made up of the amount you can win on your wager, followed by the amount you would have to risk.

In the above example, you could win $13 on the Broncos winning the Super Bowl for every $2 you risk. The Patriots and 49ers would each pay $15 for every $2 risked.

Decimal betting odds explained

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Decimal odds are a less common way how to read odds.

Decimal betting odds show what the amount you risk will be multiplied by to determine how much you can win.

In this example, a $100 wager on the Seahawks would win you $280 ($100 wager x 2.80). A $100 wager on the Eagles would win you $1,000 ($100 x 10.00).

Unlike the moneyline and fraction betting odds, decimal odds include your original wager in the payout. In order to know what you would actually profit, subtract 1 from the decimal odds.

Provincial sports lotteries Proline, Mise-o-Jeu, Sport Select and Sports Action use decimal odds.

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