To properly understand sports betting, it is important to understand odds. They are an integral part of any sports wager, and they are used to determine whether a wager is worth making or not. The potential payout of any wager you place is calculated using a combination of the relevant odds and your stake. Here, we'll explain betting odds are, and then compare some of the most popular and frequently used odds formats. We'll explain the role that odds play in the whole decision-making process for those making bets.
Once you understand odds, you'll be equipped with the knowledge to properly tackle sports betting. It's not as complicated and daunting as it sounds.
What are betting odds?
In betting terms, odds serve two purposes. First, they are used to calculate the payouts or returns of of winning bets. Odds are offered at the time that a bet is placed; the higher they are, the more you stand to win relative to your initial stake.
Odds also reflect the likelihood of any particular outcome or result. The more likely an outcome, the lower they will be. This makes sense as you would expect to win less when betting on Real Madrid to win the Champions League final than if you were to bet on West Ham United winning the Champions League. In simple terms, the better teams or players are more likely to win, so placing a wager on the lower ranked players will return more money for you.
Different odds formats: Decimal vs Fractional
Decimal odds are used mainly in Europe. However, they have now largely become the standard at most online bookmakers with the exception of some American sites. They are the most straightforward and are expressed as a single positive number, typically to two decimal places.
Fractional odds are the traditional format used in the UK but decimal odds are slowly becoming more and more popular. Calculating potential profits and payouts with this format can be difficult, Fractional odds show how much potential profit you can make. To calculate the total potential payout, you have to add your original stake.
These odds are displayed as a fraction. A simple example is 3/1, which is said as "three to one". 5/1 is said as "five to one", and so on. With 3/1, you can win three units for every one unit staked, and with 5/1 you can win five units for every one unit staked. 1/1 is even money, so you can win one unit for every unit staked. As you can see, this is quite straightforward so far.
You could manually convert betting odds, but the easiest way is to use a convenient betting odds converter which will help you get it done quickly. As we have mentioned, decimal odds are much more popular and are starting to take over most markets - typically most South African online sports sites like betPawa use decimal odds.
Learn more about mastering the basics of sports betting for beginners