How Do Betting Odds Work?

We often get asked how do betting odds work. The answer is betting odds are simply the odds a bookmaker is willing to offer you about a selection you want to bet on. Odds can be win-only or each-way and we’ll go into this in more detail.

Betting Odds Explained

Betting odds can be offered as fractions or decimals and below are some typical examples of how these odds may be presented by a bookmaker.

Let’s start with the easiest odds to understand, which is even-money. This means if you place a £10 win bet you will win £10 if your selection wins the race or sporting event you have backed it to. You’ll get your £10 winnings + your £10 stake back for a total return of £20.

Most bookmakers also give you the chance to view odds as decimals, and many punters find these easier to understand, as you simply multiply your stake by the decimal odds to find out what your total return will be. Even-money as a decimal is 2.00. So, if you multiply your £10 stake x 2.00, you’ll see that you’ll get back £20 if your selection wins.

All odds that are less than even-money are called odds-on prices, and this means you will win less than your stake, though you’ll always get your stake back as well.

A typical example of a fractional odds-on price is 1/2, which looks like a half because it literally means that you will win half your stake if your selection wins. I.e. if you have a £10 bet on a 1/2 selection that wins, you will win £5 + get your £10 stake back for a total return of £15.

1/2 as a decimal odd is 1.50. So, if you multiply £10 x 1.50, you can see that your return will be £15.

All odds that are bigger than even-money are called odds-against prices, and this means you will win more than your stake, as well as always getting your stake back.

A typical example of a fractional odds-on price is 5/1, which means you’ll win 5x your stake if your selection wins. I.e. if you have a £10 bet on a 5/1 selection that wins, you will win £50 + get your £10 stake back for a total return of £60.

5/1 as a decimal odd is 6.00. So, if you multiply £10 x 6.00, you can see that your return will be £60.

More Complicated Odds Explained

Some fractional odds can be a little more complicated. For example, you might see odds such as 5/2.

Just as you would if you were doing fractions in a math lesson, you simply need to multiply your stake by the number on the top of the fraction and then divide that total by the number on the bottom of the fraction to get your total winnings.

In this case, you would multiply £10 x 5 = £50 divided by 2 = £25. You then add your £10 stake to that number for a total return of £35.
These complicated fractions are why many punters prefer decimal odds. 5/2 as a decimal odd is 3.50. Multiplying this figure by £10 to get £35 is much simpler.

Each-Way Odds Explained

All the above examples are win-only odds. I.e. you will only get a return if your selection wins. But you can also place each-way bets.

An each-way bet is where you place double the stake you would for a win bet. Half your stake goes on the win bet at the full odds. The other half of your stake goes on a place bet at a fraction of the win odds.

The fraction of the odds you get depends on what type of events the number of runners and what type of event it is. For example, some horse races may be ¼ odds 2 places, 1/5 odds 3 places, or ¼ odds 4 places.

The number of each-way odds can also be enhanced by bookmaker concessions. For example, bookmakers do not have to offer more than ¼ odds 4 places in most golf tournaments, but many bookmakers offer up to eight places because golf tournaments have so many more runners than many other sporting events.

For example, let’s say that the terms on a horse race are 1/5 odds 3 places. You choose a selection at 5/1 and place a £10 each-way bet (£20). 1/5 of 5/1 is even-money so, if your horse finishes second or third, your place bet will be settled at £10 at even-money for a return of £20. But if your horse wins, you’ll also get a win return of £60 for a total return of £80.

Most punters only bet each-way when the place odds are even-money or bigger, as you’ll lose money if your horse only places if the place odds are lower than even-money. But some punters will bet each-way at slightly short odds if they think a selection has a great chance of winning and is certain to place if it does not win.

What Are Good Horse Racing Odds?

It’s easy to find the best odds that are available about a selection by using an odds comparison site to check odds with a variety of bookmakers. But even when you get the best available odds, this may not be a value price.

Value odds are when you think you are getting bigger odds about a selection than you think it should be. For example, if you think a horse should be 5/1 and you can get 6/1, you have got value odds.

If you think a horse should be 5/1 and the best odds that are available are 4/1, you should not bet as you are not getting value odds.

Professional sports tipsters will often price up the selections in an event before they look at the bookmaker markets. They will then compare their analysis against the bookmaker’s odds to see if the selections they want to bet on are bigger than they think they should be. If they are, they will have a bet. If they’re not, they won’t.

Should I Follow Sports Betting Tips?

If you’re new to sports betting or are struggling to make it profitable, then following professional sports betting tips is sound advice.

For a small monthly subscription, you’ll get a steady stream of value-odds selections from which your professional tipster is looking to make a long-term profit for both you and him. You’ll also get advice about staking plans and managing your betting bank.

If you’re not sure about following professional sports betting tips, then check out some free sports betting tips first. If you’re just looking for more sports betting advice, you can browse lots more free-to-read articles here on the Betting Gods blog.

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