Sports betting odds are presenting in three different formats according to the location of the bettor and the bookmaker he is using. Therefore, it would be extremely difficult for novice sports bettors to move forward if they don’t know how to read and interpret sports betting odds.

But, what are the 3 main odd formats? Sport betting odds are classified into 3 main categories, and these are:

  • Fractional odds or British odds
  • Decimal odds or European odds
  • Moneyline odds or American odds

Sports bettors must learn to understand and interpret betting odds in order to play them correctly. If you are not up to it then you will surely not be able to make informed betting choices and decisions. The task, which may appear complicated to the newbie, is actually simple and straightforward.

Contrary to common perception, sports betting odds are not considered as objective indicators of the possible outcome of a particular sporting event. Sports betting odds are basically considered as the formula that is derived from the betting behavior and pattern of people on a sporting event. Betting odds specifically determine how much sports bettors get paid and the whole structure of sports betting hinges on this system.

Sport betting odds types explained

Sport betting odds are classified into 3 main categories, and these are:

  • Fractional odds or British odds
  • Decimal odds or European odds
  • Moneyline odds or American odds

The classification of the odds is based on the manner by which they are written and presented. Sports bettors may have to develop a certain level of experience so that they can switch from one type of betting odds to another without getting confused. It is also necessary for you to learn all the important aspects and features of the different odds formats in order for you to compare the bets, place the best correctly, and walk away with money inside your pocket.

Fractional Odds

Fractional odds are highly favored by a lot of bookmakers in Ireland and the United Kingdom. This odds format is commonly used in horse racing. It quotes the net total payout to the sports bettor in the event that they win.  A 4/1 odd, normally referred to as “four to one” or sometimes “four to one against,” would mean that the sports bettor stands to earn $400 margin when they stake $100. On the other hand, if the odds are 1/4, normally referred to as “one to four” or “four to one,” the sports bettor stands to earn $25 when they stake $100.

In the event that the sports bettor wins, they will get back the original stake. Thus, if the odds are 4/1, then the sports bettor will receive an aggregate amount of $500 and $125, if the odds are 1/4. The 1/1 odds are also referred to as even money or evens. A winning bettor with a $100 stake stands to earn $100, and will receive an aggregate amount of $200.

Fractional odds are not always called out by the lowest common denominator. For example, the 10/3 odds can be referred to as “one hundred to thirty”.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds format is highly favored in Canada, Australia and Europe, and it is the most popular odds format that is currently in use in sports betting.

It is pretty easy to understand this type of sports betting odds. This odds format indicates the amount of money that can be earned from 1 unit bet. However, you must note that a unit may be equivalent to 1, 10, or 100. Thus, it is imperative that you verify the corresponding value in order for you to know the preferred unit stake of the bookmaker. The majority of decimal odds are displayed in 2 decimal points for more accuracy.

The main difference between decimal odds and fractional odds is that the bettor is required to part with their stake in the former when making a bet. The figure that is quoted in decimal odds corresponds to the exact amount that the bettor stands to receive in the event that they win the bet. Decimal odds are basically the equivalent value in the decimal form of the fractional odds plus 1.

Thus, the fractional format of even odds, which is 1/1, is expressed in decimal odds format as 2.00. On the other hand, the fractional odds 4/1 are expressed as 5 in decimal odds format, while the fractional odds 1/4 are expressed as 1.25 in decimal odds format.

Decimal odds are the ideal format for parlay betting and the main reason for this is that the odds that have to be paid out are the product of the betting odds for each of the possible outcomes that are wagered on. This odds format is also popular in sports betting exchanges as they are easy and simple to work with when trading.

Most sports bettors would find this odds format to be the simplest and easiest to understand and use since they will never have to perform any calculations in order to determine the potential return or profit from their stake or even worry about the multiples of 100. A sports bettor only needs to multiply the value of their bets by the decimal odds to derive the amount of money that they stand to collect in the event that they get the winning bet.

American Odds

As the name implies, this is the odds format that is highly favored by American bookmakers. American odds, which are also known as moneyline odds, have two possibilities – positive and negative. Moneyline is the term used to refer to the odds associated with straight-up game results and it has no attribution to the point spread.

Positive Figures – If the American odds are expressed in the positive format, then such odds are quoting the amount of money that the sports bettor stands to win on a wager of $100. For instance, the 4/1 fractional odds are expressed in American odds format as +400, while the 1/4 fractional odds cannot be expressed in the positive figures of American odds.

Negative Figures – If the American odds are expressed in the negative format, then such odds are quoting the amount of money that must be wagered in order to win $100, and these negative figures are used when the odds are worse than the even odds. For instance, the 1/4 fractional odds are expressed in American odds format as -400, while the 4/1 fractional odds cannot be expressed in the negative figures of American odds.

Even Odds – Even odds are denoted in American odds format as either +100 or -100. There are bookmakers that indicate the negative sign while the others don’t.

How to Convert Sports Betting Odds

In order to convert fractional odds into decimal odds, you transform them into their fractional equivalent and add 1. Thus, the 4/1 fractional odds are the same as 5.00 in decimal odds format and 1/4 fractional odds are equivalent to 1.25 in decimal odds format.

The conversion of moneyline or American odds to decimal odds will depend on whether the former value is positive or negative. For positive moneylines, you have to divide the odds value by 100 and then add 1. Thus, a +400 moneyline is the equivalent to 5.00 decimal odds. For negative moneylines, you have to divide 100 by the absolute value of the moneyline and add 1. Thus, a -400 moneyline is equivalent to 100/400 plus 1 or 1.25.

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