Sports betting is enjoyed by billions of punters worldwide, from bustling urban centers in East China to the secluded glaciers of South America. Although the essence of the game pretty much remains the same, as all that is required is to accurately predict a possible outcome, there is a multitude of different ways to calculate your odds. No one can positively say which is the easiest one, nor can anyone claim that one is superior to another. All that matters, is that if you wish expand your knowledge on the various betting markets across the world, you have to comprehend how the different types of odds work.
How to read sports betting odds?
First of all, we must think in terms of probabilities and not just abstract numbers. Let’s try an example. The EPL derby between Manchester City and Manchester United has the following set of decimal odds: 1 (2.00) – X (3.60) – 2 (4.00). All we need to do, is divide 100 with each odd (100/2=50, 100/3.6=27.7, 100/4=25). These numbers represent the percentage of each possible outcome. At this point you might be thinking “wait a minute, if we add these numbers up, they surpass 100%” and you’d be totally right. That extra 2.7%, is the vig each bookmaker takes in order to guarantee that he will make a profit.
What are the different types of odds?
European or decimal odds
As the name states, these are primarily used by bookmakers in Europe. Odds are represented as a decimal number (2.00, 1.95 etc.) and multiplied with your stake. This means that if you bet €10 on odds found at 1.95, you will receive a €19.5 payout. Given that these odds will not only award you with your net winnings but also your stake, it is impossible to find football odds lower than 1.00, as this would mean that you couldn’t win any money. An easy way of calculating your profits separately, is to subtract 1.00 from the odds.
British or fractional odds
These odds are commonly found in Britain & Ireland and are said to have originated from horse race bettors, at least two centuries ago. Although they might seem confusing to the untrained eye, they basically represent a simple mathematical equation. The number above the denominator represents your possible winnings, if you place a stake equal to the number below the denominator. This means that if you bet €3 on ¾ odds, your net winnings will be €4.
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US or American Odds
American punters are mostly familiar with these odds, despite the fact that nowadays online betting is not allowed within US borders. They are theoretically split into “positive” and “negative” odds, as each number is preceded by a +/- sign.
Negative odds generally represent favorites, with higher odds indicating extremely strong ones. What they do, is demonstrate how much money you must stake in order to win €100. For example, if you were to bet on odds of -188, you would have to wager €188 to net a profit of €100.
Positive odds represent an underdog, only this time, higher odds mean that the underdog has less chances of winning. Your profits are also calculated in a different manner. The odds show you how much you will win if you place a €100 wager. This consequently means that if you stake €100 on +275 odds, you will win €275, if your bet comes through.
Hong Kong Odds (HK)
These odds hail from the former British colony of Hong Kong in East China. They are actually quite similar to fractional odds, with the only difference being that they are used to calculate your profit. For example, if you place a bet of €100 on 0.5 odds, you will net a profit of €50.
Indonesian or Indo Odds
Like the name implies, these odds are mainly used by Indonesian punters, even though betting is prohibited in the South-East Asian country. They are split into positive & negative odds and are considered a mixture of American and Hong Kong odds.
Positive odds represent an underdog and are similar to HK odds. If you place a €100 wager on 4.00 odds, you will receive a net profit of €400.
Negative odds are in most cases offered on favorites and basically work like American ones. This means that to earn a profit of €100 on -4.00 odds, you have to place a €400 bet.
Malaysian or Malay Odds
These odds types are primarily used in Malaysia and are once again split into positive and negative.
The positive odds are similar to Hong Kong odds, as your profit is calculated by multiplying your stake with the odds, e.g. €100 x 0.25 = €25
Negative odds are calculated in a unique way and are actually simpler than they originally appear. In order to calculate your winnings, you must do the exact opposite, compared to positive odds: you must divide your stake with the offered odds. This means that if you bet €100 on -0.50 odds, you will get €200 ( 100 / 0.5 = 200).
How to easily convert odds formats
Although you can find various bet calculator tools on the internet, getting to know how you can convert the various odds formats yourself can come in really handy, on many occasions. What you basically need to, is answer the following question:
Do the offered odds allow you to at least double your stake?
If the answer is yes, then all you really need is a pen and a piece paper. Let’s say that you want to place a €100 on 2.50 fractional odds. Your projected winnings are €250 and include a €150 profit plus your €100 bet.
- In British odds, this means that you want to see how your €100 bet can net you a €150 profit. If we were to symbolize this as a fraction it would be: 150/100. By applying the highest common denominator, this fraction becomes 3/2, which is the same as your odds.
- In order to convert decimal odds to US ones, you need to follow a simple trick. Simply subtract 1.00 from your European odds and multiply them with 100. American Odds = (European odds – 1) x 100. This means that the odds would be: (2.50 – 1) x 100 = +150
- Indonesian and Hong Kong odds are similar to decimal odds, with the only difference being, that you have to subtract 1.00. This means that the odds would stand at 1.50.
- Malay odds are a bit different given that if you wish to calculate your profits you have to divide your stake with the odds. In order to find the odds, you must solve the following equation: Stake / Profit = Odds. If we apply this with our projected €150 profit on a €100 stake, it would become: 100/150=0.67
What if the decimal odds are lower than 2.00?
In this case, we must calculate the odds in a different way. This time, we wish to bet €100 on 1.50 European odds. Our winnings would be €150 and would include €50 of profit and our €100 stake.
- In fractional odds, this means that we would win €50 for every €100 staked. Fractionally, this translates to 50/100, or ½.
- American odds that correspond to European odds lower than 2.00, are offered with a minus ( – ) symbol. Once again you can use a simple trick to calculate your odds. Subtract 1.00 from your European odds and divide your stake with this number. If we were to demonstrate it as an equation, it would be the following one: US Odds = 100 / (Euro Odds – 1). Consequently the odds would be: 100 / 1.50-1.00 = 200. Given that the decimal odds were lower than 2.00, you simply need to add the – symbol, making the odds stand at -200.
- Indonesian odds are similar to American ones, but for a slight difference. You have to subtract 1.00 from the decimal odds once again, however you must divide 1 by this number: Indo Odds = 1 / (European odds – 1). In our case this would be: 1 / (1.5-1) = 2. Given that the Euro odds were lower than 2.00, you must once again add the – symbol (-2).
- Hong Kong and Malay odds are calculated in the same way when we are dealing with decimal odds lower than 2.00. They can be easily calculated by subtracting 1.00 from the European odds. This means that our odds would stand at 0.50.
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