Betting odds reveal how much to bet for every $100 you want to win. Betting odds are the most important part of sports betting for various reasons. The biggest reason is due to the value you find on the board. If you don’t understand the value that you see on the board, you will constantly be betting bad lines.

Sports betting odds give bettors a price they have to pay to win a certain amount of money.

Shorter odds indicate that an outcome is more likely occur, this lower risk also means smaller payouts. Conversely, longer odds indicate that an outcome is less likely, bringing more risk but also bigger payouts. 

Any betting at plus money is self-explanatory. If you bet something at +220, it would win you $220. Any betting with negative odds would mean you have to bet that exact amount to win $100. For example, if a bet is -320, you would have to bet $320 to win $100.

Betting odds conversion table

Different Types of Betting Odds Explanation

There are three different types of betting odds: Fractional, decimal, and moneyline odds. The odds don’t mean anything different and the prices will be the same no matter the type of odds that are given. For example, if the Minnesota Twins are +200, they would be 2.0 and 2/1 in the other formats. 

Depending on where you live, you will likely be familiar with certain ones. These odds all look different but they mean the same thing. Below are the different betting odds formats.

Fractional Odds Explained 

Fractional odds are written with a slash or hyphen. If the fractional odds are reading 11/1, that means you would win $11 for every $1 you wager. You would also receive your dollar back in this situation. If a bet is 1/11, you wouldn’t want to place this wager more than likely. The odds would only pay you $0.91 for every $10 wagered

Fractional odds are also known as UK odds, as they are mostly used in the United Kingdom. The calculation for these odds is as follows:

Total return = stake x fractional odds + stake.
Example: When you place a $100 bet at fractional odds of 3/1, the total return would be 100 x 3/1 +$100 = $400. This total return includes your original $100 stake plus $300 profit.
Profit = stake x fractional odds.
Example: When you place a $100 bet at fractional odds of 3/1, the profit would be $100 x 3/1 = $300. In this case, the profit from your $100 bet at 3/1 odds would be $300, not including your original stake.

Decimal Odds Explained 

Decimal odds represent the amount one wins for every $1 wagered, too. For example, 2.00 odds would be a $2 win and you also get your $1 back.

Decimal odds are typically found in Europe and Australia. They are prominent in horse racing, too. There isn’t any difference in fractional and decimal odds except how they look. Decimal odds are 1.0, while fractional would be 1/1. To calculate them, you can use these formulas:

Total return = stake x decimal odds = total payout. 
Example: When placing a $100 bet at decimal odds of 4.00, the total return would be $100 x 4.00 = $400. This includes your initial $100 stake and $300 in profit.
Profit = (stake x decimal odds) – stake.
Example: When using the same $100 bet at decimal odds of 4.00, the profit would be ($100 x 4.00) – $100 = $300. This is the total payout minus the original stake.

American (Moneyline) Odds Explained 

Most people in the United States use moneyline odds, which involve betting on a team to win the game. For example, you could bet on the Florida Panthers to win at +270. If you bet $100, you would win $270 and get your $100 back in return.

Moneyline odds are the only ones to refer to $100 bets. If you see a -110 bet, you would need to bet $110 to win $100.  

Total return for positive odds = stake x (odds / 100) + stake. 
Example: If you bet $100 with +200 odds, your payout calculation would be $100 x (200/100) + 200= $300. This would be a $200 profit +$100 stake.
Total return for negative odds = stake + (stake/odds x 100). 
Example: If you bet $100 on a team with -200 odds, your payout calculation would be $100 + (100/200 x 100) = $150.

The implied probability offers insight into the likelihood of an outcome according to the odds. The formulas for calculating implied probability from American odds are as follows:

Implied probability for positive odds = 100 / (odds+100) x 100%
Example: If the odds are +200, the implied probability would be 100 / (200+100) x 100% = 33.33%
Implied probability for negative odds = odds / (odds+100) x 100%
Example: If the odds are -200, the implied probability would be 200 / (200+100) x100% = 66.67%

How to Read Betting Odds 

When you start sports betting, understanding betting odds is the most important thing to learn. Odds reflect how sportsbooks assess the likelihood of an event, which determines your winnings. If they set the odds at +200, it implies an implied probability, suggesting the sportsbook views the event as having a 33.33% chance of occurring based on the odds provided.

For example, if the Milwaukee Bucks played the New York Knicks and the Knicks were +200, the sportsbooks expect them to win just over three times per 10 games.

American moneyline odds are the easiest to explain. If you see something at minus money, you need to bet that exact amount to make $100. That means if something is -300, you would have to bet $300 for you to win $100. If you see something at plus, you would win that exact amount. For example, a +300 bet would win $300 if you bet $100 on it.

Decimal odds of 3.0 equate to +200 American odds, indicating a total payout of $300 from a $100 bet, including the original stake. Similarly, fractional odds of 3/1 match +300 American odds.

For a bet on the New York Rangers at decimal odds of 2.5, a $100 wager would result in a $250 total payout. And a bet on the Philadelphia Eagles at 4/1 fractional odds would lead to a $500 total payout from a $100 bet.


Sports betting tracker table

Calculating Payouts from Odds 

The American odds would be the easiest way to calculate a payout. However, the others are just as easy. 

For American odds, payouts depend on whether the odds are positive or negative. Betting $100 at +200 (American odds) would yield a $300 total payout ($200 profit + $100 stake). Negative odds like -200 require a $200 bet to win $100, totalling a $300 payout, including the stake.

For fractional odds, such as 3/1, a $100 bet results in $300 profit, with the total payout being $400 ($300 profit + $100 stake).

Decimal odds of 3.0 mean that for every $1 wagered, the total payout is $3. Thus, a $100 bet results in a $300 total payout, which includes the $200 profit and the original $100 stake.

There are odds converters to help you learn this easier, which we will show below.


Comparing Odds Across Sports

Comparing odds across sports will help you understand the different types of odds that you can expect to see. From boxing, cricket, horse racing, MMA, soccer, and other sports, all the odds are drastically changing due to the different possibilities of outcomes.

If you do not want to worry about an entire team playing well, betting on MMA, horse racing, and other 1v1 sports could be something you look into. For example, if a boxer is facing someone, you would need to only bet on one person to win the fight. In contrast, any injury can be detrimental in a soccer match, which is the same for hockey, basketball, and other team sports.

NHL

NHL sports betting odds are a bit different than other sports. One thing to look for with hockey odds is the 60-minute line. That’s often something that people want to bet on as it makes it easier to win more money. For example, the Edmonton Oilers might be -320 to beat the New York Islanders on the moneyline. However, the 60-minute line would be -120, making it easier to make more money.

The odds in the NHL are usually better than in other sports. There are various reasons for that, but the clear one is that winning in the NHL is much more difficult than, say, the NFL. With more games, there is a higher chance of losing more games due to playing so much.

With only a few games in the NFL and the NHL having a game almost every other night for each team, the chances of losing are much higher. Bettors have to be smarter when it comes to these sports, as more games can cause an easier chance of losing.

MLB

Baseball betting is viewed as one of the hardest things in the world. The reason for that is the matchups. For example, a certain pitcher’s pitching can be the deciding factor in how a game goes.

If Gerrit Cole is pitching against Patrick Corbin, the team that Cole is on will be favoured. MLB is also difficult, like the NHL, due to the 162 games being played.

The MLB has 162 games compared to 82 games in the NBA and NHL. This means that the margin for error is almost double in the MLB because the number of games is doubled.

NFL

NFL odds are way higher than most other sports. For example, if the Kansas City Chiefs are playing the Carolina Panthers, they will be favored at -700 or more on the moneyline.

That isn’t often seen in other sports. With way fewer games, the better team wins more often than not in football. The NFL is one of the few sports where the better teams usually win. That’s an extreme, so for example, when the Miami Dolphins played the New England Patriots, it was safe to say they would win. 

In another sport like baseball, the pitcher can control the game, and the New York Yankees could lose to the Pittsburgh Pirates if Mitch Keller throws a gem.

NBA

Basketball and NFL are comparable in the sense that they will give crazy odds for a team to win. However, the NBA can also be like the MLB and NHL. With plenty more games than football, there is a way that the underdog often wins.


The Role of Odds in Betting Strategy 

The odds will help you pick what side of the bet to take in your betting strategy. As always, it is important to read the line. If you believe the Charlotte Hornets should be priced at -330, but they are -125 against the Los Angeles Clippers, that line tells you that your analysis is off.

If you are someone who likes to create their own betting model, this could be the perfect time for you. If you have a game priced at +100 and the sportsbooks have it at +440, that means your model sees something that a sportsbook doesn’t. If you want, this would be a good time to bet.

Techopedia explains why odds change:

You also need to know why the odds change. There are generally two instances of this and that’s based on the amount of money wagered or something that would affect the chances of the result, such as a star player getting injured or a change in the ground for horse racing.


Common Misconceptions About Betting Odds 

The common misconceptions about betting odds are as follows:


Tools and Resources for Odds Calculation 

Some of the best odds calculators can be found online. These help you learn how much you will win before you even do it.

Action Network

If you go to Action Network, you can look at decimal, fractional, American, and implied odds. You can also put in a bet amount and it will tell you what the payout will be.

For example, you can put the bet amount on Action Network at $2,327. You can make the odds -182 American odds, 1.549 decimal odds, and 50/91 fractional odds. This would show you that you would win $1,278.57, and the payout would be $3,605.57.

The photo below is of good use for someone who wants to use this tool:

SportsLine

SportsLine has features similar to those of the Action Network. They let you put the bet amount, showing you American odds, fractional odds, decimal odds, implied odds, expected payout, and expected winnings.


Expert Tips for Interpreting Odds

Always remember to read the line. If you believe that something is value, bet on it. No matter if it’s -300 or +1205, value is value. Interpreting odds is the single most important thing in sports betting and is a must to learn before betting. Odds meaning can help you make money if you learn how sportsbooks make odds. Always do an odds check before placing your wagers. Here are some tips that can help you to make informed decisions: 


Conclusion

In conclusion, understanding betting odds will help you become a better bettor. It’s also important to understand the calculations we learned above. Those can help you interpret the odds and how much money you can make.