Before we start playing a game it is very important to get to know the basic rules and terms according to which we’re going to play. This is a rule, which indeed applies for betting. Before every punter or novice player decides to place a bet, he has to master the fundamentals, related to that process and one of these elements is to gain full understanding of the betting odds. Without it novice players won’t be able to comprehend what are the possible outcomes of a particular event and what are his potential winnings going to be.
What are the betting odds!?
To understand the betting odds one has to master the basic concept of probability. The most common example for probability is the rolling dice. You have 6 sides and the chances of you throwing a ‘five’ is 1/6th. In numbers this will be 100% (all the sides) divided on 6 (for each side of the dice) - the chances will be exactly 16.66%. Another example can be the coin toss – there the chances of ‘heads’ or ‘tales’ are 50%. Betting odds is very similar to that – it shows punters the implied probability of a certain event’s outcome and how likely is that to happen. Being a professional sports bettor requires numerous skills but one of them is to be aware of the dictionary and have good knowledge of the different types of betting odds.
Types of betting odds
There are three popular types of betting odds – American, decimal and fractional. Every one of them is common in a certain part of the world – for example American betting odds (or sometimes referred to North American odds) are implied mostly in the US, where fractional odds are common in the United Kingdom – fractional betting odds are also known under the name British odds, UK odds or Traditional odds. Decimal format of betting odds is widely popular in Europe. Below we have provided a detailed explanation how to read all different type of betting odds.
- American betting odds
The American betting odds are a little bit different from the decimal and fractional betting odds, because they can be presented as a positive or a negative number. It is very important for every punter to know that the American betting odds work differently, when the punter places his stake on a favorite team or on an underdog. We will explain why.
When placing a bet on a favorite team the American betting odds shows the amount of money a punter has to stake so he can win £100. For example, if a punter wants to place a bet on the Washington Redskins, which are playing on Saturday and the odds are -150 for them to win the game, the player needs to stake £150 in order to reach £100 profit. If the Washington Redskins win the punter will have a gross win of total £250 - £150 for the original bet and £100 profit.
When a punter wants to place a bet on an underdog team, the American betting odds shows how much the player is going to win if he places a £100 bet. For example, if the Vancover Whitecaps are going to play tomorrow and the stakes are +840, this means that if the punter places a £100 bet and the outcome of the game is the predicted one, he will have gross profit of £940 – his initial bet of £100 and the amount, equal to the number of the betting odd, in our example 840.
- Fractional betting odds
As we already mentioned, the fractional betting odds are very common in the UK and it shows the net total that the punter is going to receive if he places a winning bet, relative to the stake. For example, if a punter decides to place a £50 on a 10 to 1 fractional betting odd, this means that in the event of winning he will have a net profit of £500. If a player is placing his stake on a 10 to 1 against betting odd, this means that he will profit £1 for every £500 stake he makes. The fractional betting odds are usually represented with ‘/’ or a dash ‘-‘ (ex. 10/1 or 10-1). These betting odds can be found in a variation, also known as the Hong Kong odds. It also shows the net return of the punter, but the representation is not fractional, but decimal.
- Decimal betting odds
Decimal betting odds are very common throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada but almost every bookie has the option to display their odds in decimal variation. The decimal betting odds represent the payout amount, that the punter is going to receive, including his original stake, to the stake itself. Genuinely the decimal betting odds are equivalent to the decimal value of the fractional odd plus 1. For example, a 5 to 1 against betting odd is also 1.20. To transform it to decimal betting odd simply add 1 – so 5 to 1 against will be 2.20 decimal betting odd. Now let’s see how decimal betting odds work - if a player places £100 stake at a 1.35 odd in the end he will have £135 – the original stake of £100 and profit from £35.
Understanding implied probability in betting odds
When we talk about betting odds we surely have to take into consideration the implied probability – this is one of the main factors that can convert a gambler into an investor. Implied probability is the conversion of betting odds into percentage that shows the likelihood of an outcome happening. Every punter that wants to master value betting has to understand implied probabilities, how the bookies use them and how to calculate them by yourself. We will show you briefly how to convert betting odds into probability.
- American betting odds
When converting American betting odds into implied probability, every punter has to take into consideration that the methods are different for positive and negative betting odds.
For positive American betting odds, the equation looks like this:
100 / (betting odd + 100) * 100. Let’s look at it in an example:
100 / (642 + 100) =
100 / 742 = 0.1347 * 100 = 13.47% implied probability.
For negative American betting odds, the equation is this:
- (negative American odd) / (- (negative American odd) + 100) * 100.
For example, (-263) will be:
- (-263) / (- (-263) + 100) =
263 / (263 + 100) =
263 / 363 = 0.7245 * 100 = 72.45% implied probability.
- Decimal betting odds
To convert decimal betting odds into probability the punter has to divide the odd to 1 or
1 / (decimal betting odd) * 100. For example, in a 1.46 betting odd the probability will be 1 / 1.46 or 68.49%.
- Fractional betting odds
To convert a fractional betting odd into probability the formula will be the following (denominator) / (denominator + numerator) * 100. If we take a 7/3 fractional odd the probability will be:
3 / (7 + 3) =
3 / 10 =
0.33 * 100 = 33.33% implied probability.
Here is an odds conversion table to observe the transformation from one bet to another and then to implied probability.
Betting odds and value betting
When a punter has a deep understanding of betting odds, risk and probabilities he can develop a betting strategy focusing on finding wrongly priced markets also known as value betting. Let’s look at an example of value betting.
In our case study, three players are going to place a stake on one and the same event – Chelsea vs Manchester United at one and the same bookmaker. The bookie gives them betting odds for every outcome – Chelsea to win is 2.33 or 42.92%, Manchester United to win has a betting odd 3.67 or implied probability of 27.25% and draw will be 3 or 33.33%. In our case every punter will be aiming to pick up а gross profit of £200. This means that the Chelsea player will have to stake £85.84 (this is £200 divided on the betting odd or £200/2.33 = £85.84), the Manchester United punter will have to bet £54.50 (£200/3.67) and the one, betting on draw will stake £66.67 (£200 divided by 3).
If we do the math we will see that the overall sum that the three punters are going to place on the bookie is 207.01, but only one of them will win the gross profit of £200. From the bookie’s point of view, he’s granted a profit even before the event has started. This is a situation where the bookie will give the punter £200 if the player bets on a winning betting odd, but demands £207 if the player loses – and that is a very bad bet for the punter.
The bookies rely on their pricing being correct, but that is not always the case and that is when punters have the chance to make their profit. With a good background, statistics and data analysis one of these punters has the opportunity to turn the betting odds on his side. Let’s say that the Chelsea punter has very deep knowledge of Premier League, he has analyzed past performances and scores between the teams and he knows all the team/player news and he says that he predicts that the chance of Chelsea winning over Manchester United is 57%. He also says that the chances of Manchester beating Chelsea is 31% and draw will be 12%.
Now he calculates his betting odds according to his prediction – he receives 1.75 betting odd for Chelsea winning, 3.23 for Manchester United winning and 8.33 for the end result to be a draw. Then he compares his results to the one that the bookie offers. According to the Chelsea punter a draw should be 8.33 and has implied probability of only 12% but the bookie gives only a betting odd 3 and 33.33% probability – this is certainly not a good bet for any player. His calculations show that Chelsea winning has implied probability of 57% should be 1.75 and the bookie says it’s only 42.92% gives 2.33 – this is a great bet for the punter as there are value in his selection! This is why he decided to play Chelsea in the first place – because he has received a value and the punter has an edge over the bookamer. Even in the event of losing, in the long term this betting strategy is the correct one. Following the value betting approach, a pro gambler will ensure a steady growth of his betting portfolio although in he will not always be placing winning bets.
Value betting is crucial for every punter that perceives betting not like gambling, but like an investment. You should always strive to be better than the bookie at pricing events. This is why, for novice players, the best thing they can do is to start with a sport or even a particular league that they think they know – Premier League, La Liga, Primiera Liga, Serie B or many more. Track your results, analyze the data, value the event and search for the best betting odds that the bookies can give you!
How is Bettingmetrics going to help punters find the best betting odds?
Our software provides punters with the ability to aggregate all of their betting data in one place as well as with the right tools to analyse its historical results and improve future performance. We bet ourselves and know that professional punters have multiple accounts over various betting sites and realise how difficult is to keep track of bets placed at different places and odds. This is why we have developed Bettingmetrics in such a way that will allow punters to track all betting odds as well as starting price in just a few clicks. Having that feature available allows punters to compare the odds they take vs the starting price (closing line odds) so they can clearly identify whether they are adopting value betting or not.
Furthermore, generating data and not analysing is pointless. We also added a feature that shows at glance the hit rate of the punter in certain odds ranges. That allows sports bettors to clearly see in which odds ranges they perform best and adjust its money management strategy accordingly. By regularly checking Bettingmetrics dashboard and comparing different key performance indicators the punters increase is betting knowledge and overall vison of what is happening with his finances. As a consequence, he can manage his betting bankroll much more effectively.
The Bettingmetrics does aim to be the ultimate hub for sports betting activities covering all sort off pre-bet and post bet activities such as – reading news and stats, comparing odds, placing bets, tracking and analyzing historical results. We realise that time equals money nowadays and therefore we are now working on the development of an odds comparison section of our website which has been requested by on a numerous occasion by our users. Allowing punters to compare odds directly on our website will indeed save more time to punters as it will increase automation and all bets placed (yes we are not working on a simply odds compression section there will be account syncing) via our odds comparison section will be automatically tracked and analyzed by our software.