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Getting to Grips with Betting Odds

Sports betting is one of the fastest growing gambling industries in the world and it’s imperative that you understand how sports betting odds work if you’re keen on getting in on the action.

Odds can be intimidating especially to those who aren’t comfortable with mathematics and could even discourage involvement in sports betting.

This Stoopid pigeon thinks that’s a crying shame, so I’m here to explain the different betting odds formats to help you feel more comfortable!

Fractional Sports Betting Odds

Also referred to as traditional odds or British odds, fractional odds are the most common format used in the UK betting market. Fractional odds represent how much a punter will win from their bet compared to the amount they’ve bet. See below for an example using horseracing.

Favourites Rating Odds
Pistol Pete 93 5/2
Millionheir 95 11/4
Bay Lightning 95 5/1
Uprising 96 5/1


If you were to place a $20 bet on Pistol Pete – the favourite to win – at the odds of 5/2, the odds dictate that you would win $50.

The advantage of the fractional odds format is that it is flexible and shows that if you bet $40 instead of $20, you would win $100 instead of $50, which allows you to work out your potential winnings based only on how much you bet initially.

American Sports Betting Odds

American odds work differently from fractional odds in that they are displayed separately for favourites and underdogs and are also referred to as moneyline odds.

Owing to the name, it’s obvious that American sports betting odds are most popular within the US betting market, so you aren’t likely to across these when participating in betting NZ.

For betting on a favourite, the odds are displayed to show how much money you would have to risk in order to win a certain amount.

For betting on an underdog, the odds are displayed to show how much you would win if you bet a certain amount. See below for an example using football.

Villa Nova FC -150 favourite
ADRC Icasa +375 underdog

If you bet on Villa Nova in the above example, you would need to bet $150 in order to win $100, but if you bet $100 on ADRC Icasa, you would win $350.

Decimal Sports Betting Odds

The use of decimal odds has become more prevalent in recent years, owing to the popularity of online sports betting, but this odds format is also very popular in Europe and Australia.

Decimal odds show how much the punter will win without stating the bet required. See an example using the Copa America football tournament below:

Argentina 2.38 Chile 3.50 Brazil 5.00 Colombia 5.00
Uruguay 15.00 Peru 26.00 Paraguay 5.00 Bolivia 81.00

Using the odds depicted above, if you were to place a $100 bet on favourites Argentina to win the Copa America outright at the price of 2.38, you would win $238.

Decimal odds may appear daunting at first, but they actually offer immediate insight in the potential sum that could be won, as well as what the sportsbook thinks the likelihood of a specific team winning is.

For example, major underdogs Bolivia have a price of 81.00 to win the Copa America outright, so betting $100 on them would win your $8100 – which proves just how unlikely this win is!

Published inBetting insightsGuides & Tips