How To Read American Betting Odds
American odds have become incredibly commonplace, despite the fact that they are not as easy to read as other formats. As an example, American Odds read like this:
Odds To Win Super Bowl:
Team A: -150
Team B: +200
Team C: +600
Team D: +1000
With American odds, the number represented is how much you have to bet to win $100. If the number is preceded with a “+” sign, then you would risk less than $100 to win a wager worth $100. And, the opposite is true when the number is preceded with a “-” where the bettor would have to risk more than $100 just to win $100 of the wager.
In the example above, you can see that Team A has the lowest number of the group and are considered to be the favorite to win this bet. If you wagered on Team A to win the Super Bowl and they end up winning, you are going to need to risk more than $100 to win $100 as indicated by the “-” symbol preceding the payouts. In this particular example, a bettor would need to wager $150 to win $100.
On the opposite side of that, the other 3 teams in contention all pay better than 1 to 1 odds (risk less than $100 to win $100). Team B is at +200: risk $50 to win $100. Team C is at +600: risk $16.67 to win $100. Team D is at +1000: risk $10 to win $100.
These can be a little bit confusing but if you just pay attention to the + or – symbol then you should not have any issues. And, with a little bit of manipulation, you can see how these odds will pay if the wager ends up being a winner and that is what we’re all here for… to win.
How To Read Fractional Odds
Fractional betting odds are the easiest to understand. Just about every single sportsbook that caters to Americans has the option available for fractional odds. And, while they may seem daunting at first, you don’t really need to understand complex fractions in order to utilize these odds. Lets look at an example:
Odds To Win Fight:
Fighter A: 4/7
Fighter B: 3/2
In order to best understand these lines, you first need to look at the ratio to 1. In the example above, 4/7 odds is less than 1 and the opposite can be said for the other side as 3/2 is more than 1. Once you have determined this, you can figure out the favorite.
To figure out which side is favored, you simply need to figure out which is the lower number. In this case, Fighter A is at 4/7 odds which is less than 1 and Fighter B is at 3/2 odds which is more than 1. Fighter A’s wager is the clear favorite as it is the lower number.
So, how do you figure out what these pay? Again, we refer back to 4/7 being less than 1, and 3/2 being more than 1.
Anytime fractional odds are displayed at a value of less than 1, the bettor must risk more than they intend to win if the wager is a winner. And, the opposite can be said for if a fractional value is more than 1… that bet will pay more than what is risked.
As we said before, 4/7 odds are less than 1 so in this case, the bettor must risk $7 to win $4 from the wager. Then, 3/2 are more than 1 so when risking $2, the bettor will win $3 off the wager. As you can see, the payouts are in the fractional odds, you just need to know which way they go based on if they represent a value greater than or less than one.
Understanding Betting Odds That Use Decimals
Decimal odds are slightly more confusing than most other types of odds. In fact, we prefer not to use them when we bet but that is just our preference. Regardless, we are going to give you a little insight into these lines, as we want to give you insight about all of the common types of odds available.
If you look into these odds, you will definitely come out a little bit confused unless you are from Europe where these odds are commonly used than American or Fractional odds. The multiplication game is not as straight forward with decimal odds. Let’s take a look at another example:
Odds To Be Next President:
Candidate A: 1.50
Candidate B: 2.45
When looking at decimal based odds, the same thing applies to them as all the other forms of odds when trying to determine the favorite… which ever is the lowest number is favored. In the example above, the favored candidate is Candidate A at 1.50 however Candidate B is only a little bit behind at 2.45
Figuring out the payouts is where decimal odds can get tricky, but you’ll soon learn a little trick that will make these very easy to understand.
The best way to start off look at these odds are to consider them to be monetary amounts based on what you will win if you wager $1 or one euro, one pound, etc… which includes the original wager. Be sure to keep that in mind when looking at the other odds types.
If Candidate A wins the election, every $1 wagered will win $.50 plus the original $1 wagered which equals $1.50 or 1.50 odds.
Candidate B: every $1 wagered earns $1.45 which equals $2.45 or 2.45 odds.
Now That You Know How To Read Sports Betting Odds
Now that you understand how to read odds, you will then want to see how they are adapted to the different betting lines. With the straight wagers and exotic wagers alike, you will find that these odds are worked into the lines. After you figure out how to read the odds, you will then have to figure out the different types of bets that you can find through most sports betting sites. The different types of bets use odds somewhat differently, but in the end it is all fairly similar.
We have also done a special section that explains how to read betting odds for each different sport. The reason for this is that some sports have betting odds available that others do not. For instance you can not really compare the Nascar or PGA odds with NFL, and vise versa.