How do odds work in casinos and sports betting?


If you plan to start betting—be it casino games, sports betting or any other type, it is important to understand the odds. Placing bets intelligently requires a good understanding of the main types of betting odds and knowing how to read and interpret their various associated formats.

The three main types of betting odds are Fractional Odds (British), Decimal Odds (European) and Money Line Odds (American). They are simply alternative ways of presenting the same thing and there is no difference in terms of payouts. This means that the odds (or percentage probability) of an event that occurs can be converted and presented in any of the aforementioned odds types.

Key points to remember

  • The three main types of betting odds are fractional odds (British), decimal odds (European) and moneyline odds (American).
  • These types are alternative ways of presenting the same thing and have no difference in terms of payouts.
  • Fractional odds are the ratio of the amount (profit) won to the stake.
  • Decimal odds represent the amount you win for every dollar wagered.
  • Moneyline odds, depending on the negative or positive sign, indicate either the amount one would have to wager to win $100, or the amount one would win for every $100 wagered.

How Fractional Odds Work

Fractional odds (i.e. “British” odds, “British” odds, or “Traditional” odds) are popular among the British and Irish. bookmakers. They are usually written with a slash (/) or a hyphen (-) and are used by some of the biggest bookmakers in the world.

A fractional odds list of 6/1 (six to one) would mean you win $6 for every $1 you bet, in addition to receiving your dollar back (i.e. the amount you bet) . In other words, it is the ratio of the amount (profit) won to the initial bet, which means that you will receive your bet ($1) in addition to the profit ($6), giving a total payout of $7. Therefore, if you bet $10 at 6/1 and win, you get a total payout of $70 ($60 profit + $10 stake).

The total (potential) return of a bet can be defined as follows:

Total Payout = (Stake x (Numerator/Denominator)) + Stake Where: numerator/denominator is the fractional odd (e.g., 28/6)


Assume the following are the odds on the three teams most likely to win the 2022 NBA Championship:

Brooklyn Nets: 13/5

Golden State Warriors: 9/2

Milwaukee Dollars: 7/1

One can quickly determine that the Brooklyn Nets are the favorites, while the chances of winning Golden State and Milwaukee are longer. You would win $13 for every $5 you bet on Brooklyn to be the champion. Meanwhile, you would win $9 for every $2 you stake for Golden State to win, which is a little less likely. For Milwaukee, you would win $7 for every $1 bet.

In the example above, if you bet $100 on Brooklyn to win, you could make a profit of $260 ($100 x (13/5)) and get back your original stake of $100, resulting in a payout total of $360. However, if you bet $100 on Golden State to win, you could receive a profit of $450 ($100 x (9/2)) on top of the original $100 bet, resulting in a total payout of $550. .

The potential profit for a win in Milwaukee would be even higher as you could make a profit of $700 ($100 x (7/1)). With the initial bet of $100 returned, this would result in a total payout of $800.

How decimal odds work

Decimal odds (i.e. “European” odds, “Numeric” odds or “Continental” odds) are popular in continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. These are a bit easier to work with and understand. Favorites and underdogs can be spotted instantly by looking at the numbers.

The decimal number of odds represents the amount one wins for every $1 wagered. 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 (no need to add your stake back), which makes it easier to calculate its total payout.

The total (potential) return of a bet can be calculated as follows:

Total Payout = Stake x Decimal Odd Number


Let’s look at an example involving who could have won the 2020 US presidential election.

Donald Trump: 4.00
Joe Biden: 1.3

These numbers represent how much you could win for every $1 you bet. So if you bet $100 on Donald Trump being re-elected as President, you could receive a total payout of $400 ($100 x 4 ,00). This amount includes the initial bet of $100, resulting in a net profit of $300.

Similarly, you could receive a total payout of $130 ($100 x 1.3) if you manage to bet $100 on Joe Biden. By deducting $100 from this return, you get the net profit of $30 realized.

Here we can see that the bookmaker has correctly rated Biden as the favorite to win the election. The higher the total payout (i.e. the higher the decimal odds), the less likely (and riskier) the registered contestant is to win.

How Money Line Odds Work

silver line odds (aka “American” odds or “US” odds) are popular in the United States. Favorite odds are marked with a minus sign (-) and indicate the amount you need to bet to win $100. Odds for underdogs, on the other hand, have a positive (+) sign and indicate the amount won for every $100 wagered.

In both cases, the winners get back their initial bet in addition to the amount won. The difference between the odds of the favorite and the underdog widens as the favorite’s probability of winning increases.

Let’s understand this with the help of an example:

Suppose a betting website sets the price for an NFL game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Kansas City Chiefs with the following odds.

Steelers: +585
Leaders: -760

The bookmaker offered odds of +585 for the Steelers, indicating that the bookmaker placed a much lower probability (around 15%) of the Steelers winning the game. You need to risk $100 on the Steelers to win a potential payout of $585. If the Steelers can pull off the upset, you get your original $100 bet back in addition to the $585 won, giving you a total win of $685.

If you decide to bet on the Chiefs – the team that the bookmaker says has a higher implied probability of winning the match – you would need to bet $760 to win $100. If the Chiefs are victorious, you win $100 with a total payout of $860 ($760 original bet + $100 profit).

In this game, there is a big difference between the two odds, indicating a much higher probability of the Chiefs winning the game.

In 2018, the Supreme Court allowed US states to legalize sports betting if they so choose. It is still completely illegal in 17 states, including California, Massachusetts and Texas. In 4 other states there is some form of pending legislation.

What are the odds of five to one?

The odds of five to one imply that every $1 wagered could win you $5 if the bet is successful. With fractional odds, the number on the left expresses how much you win, while the number on the right reveals how much you have to bet.

What is the +200 rating?

When the odds are expressed by a + or a – followed by a number, they are American money line odds: +200 means the amount a bettor could win if he bet $100. If the bet is successful, the player would receive a total payout of $300 ($200 net profit + $100 initial stake).

Are negative or positive ratings better?

Negative numbers are reserved for the favorite on the betting line and indicate how much you need to bet to win $100. Conversely, positive numbers are attached to the underdog and refer to the amount you could win if you bet $100.

If you are certain of a winner, you will win more money with positive odds. When you bet on the bookmakers’ favorite, you usually have a better chance of winning, but you also get a lower payout.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problemcall the National Problem Gambling Hotline at 1-800-522-4700, or visit to speak with a helpline specialist.

The essential

If you are thinking of entering the world of betting, it is important be able to understand and interpret all types of odds Good. You should be familiar with conversions between different odds formats, converting odds to implied odds, and the differences between the actual odds of an outcome, and the odds displayed. Only then can you place a well-educated bet.


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