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Types of Odds

August 12th, 2010

Types of Odds

In sports betting, odds are used to determine how much money you will win per unit wagered.  True odds reflect the real probability of an event happening.  If the probability of Rooney scoring a goal in his next match is 50%, then the true odds are 2.0 or 2/1. 

It is the bookmaker’s job to set the odds for different outcomes so that it established a betting market with fixed odds for punters to wage money on.  The bookies make a profit by charging a small premium on odds known as the juice.  The juice for most uk bookmakers is around 4% – 8% however in Asian Betting this is much lower at around 2% – 5%.  Notably, the odds that a bookmaker sets will be slightly worse than the true odds, so for a coinflip scenario with true odds of 2.0, the bookie might set odds of 2.1 or 2.2.

Odds Betting Systems

In the UK and US, there are 3 main types of systems used in betting markets to display the odds: decimal odds, fractional odds and the US points or line system.

Decimal Odds:Decimal Odds are the most common type manner which odds are displayed in the UK.  They are also the most easiest to understand which is great for new players.  Decimal odds display how much a punters will win per unit waged.  For example, odds of 3.0 mean that a player stands to win £3 if he bets £1.  All you have to do to calculate your winnings is multiple the decimal odds by the stake amount.

Fractional Odds: Fractional odds are another common method used in betting markets.  Fractional odds are numbers displayed in fractions, however they can easily be converted to decimal odds by dividing the numerator by the demominator i.e. top by bottom number.  For example, 5/2 = 2.5.

US Lines or Spreads: Unlike UK/European betting markets, the US use a system very unique.  If you bet at any major US sportsbook such as Bodog, the odds will be displayed in the form of lines or spreads.  Underdog teams are given a handicap, indicated by a plus e.g. +150.  The favourites are given a negative number such as -170.  All you need to understand is that when betting on the underdogs (+), in this example, for every 100 you bet you will stand to win 150.  The number with the minus (-) indicates how much you need to wager to win $100.

You can try using both types of decimal and fractioanl odds at betfair now.

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