Explanation Of Betting Odds

Sports Betting Odds Explained. To properly understand sports betting, you need to understand odds. They are an integral part of any sports wager, and they are used to determine whether a wager is worth making or not. The potential payout of any wager you place is calculated using a combination of the relevant odds and your stake. Betting odds are numbers used by bookmakers to represent the probability of an outcome occurring and tell us how much they’re willing to pay out on a winning bet. Betting odds may seem a little confusing to start with, but they’re actually quite straightforward once you’re familiar with them.

If you’re new to the world of gambling, you need to make sure that you understand the odds before you ever place a bet.

To put it simply, betting odds are a numerical representation of how likely an event is to occur. Take the example of rolling dice. 666 games. Because there are six possible outcomes from one roll of the dice, there’s a 16.67% chance that you’ll be correct in your guess of which number will be rolled. That’s 100 divided by six, which equals 16.6666666667, to be exact. This translates to a coefficient 6/1 chance of any specific outcome, or 7.0 if you remove the bookie’s margin.

The same basic principle applies to flipping a coin—a coin has two sides, so you have a 50% chance of winning.

Odds can also tell you how much money you will win. Let’s say you’re betting on a team with 4/1 odds in a sporting event. If you bet £/€1 and your team wins, you’ll receive £/€4, plus your stake back for a total of £/€5.

Although it may be confusing at first, it’s pertinent that you grasp how betting odds work if you want to make a go of online gambling or sports betting.

There are basically three types of betting odds: fractional, decimal and U.S. style.

Fractional Odds

In the past, the most commonly used betting odds globally were fractional. They still remain the most commonly-used and understood in the UK, though Hong Kong and Malay odds are favored in other parts of the world.

When you see 4/1 odds, to use the example above, those are fractional odds. This means you have a one in four chance of winning, or a 20% chance. To put it another way, you also have an 80% chance of losing. That also means the winner will be paid £/€4 for every dollar or pound waged.

The same goes for 9/1 odds. You’ll win £/€9 for every dollar or pound waged, but you also have only a 10% chance of winning and a 90% chance of losing.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are becoming increasingly popular among bookmakers, commonly known as bookies. Most often used in Europe and Asia, decimal odds use a number with a decimal point as opposed to the fractional format.

With 4/1 betting odds, the decimal odds are 5.0. To get this number, you take the percentage chance of winning (in this case, 20%) and see how many time it goes into 100. 100 divided by 20 is 5.

To figure out your winnings with decimal odds, you multiply the odds by your stake, and then subtract your stake from that number. For example, when the odds are 5.0 and you bet £/€10, you multiple 5 x 10 and then subtract 10, for total winnings of £/€40.

U.S. Odds

In the United States, betting odds are expressed using the plus or minus sign. The plus sign indicates the favorite, while the minus is for the underdog. For example, the favorite team might have odds of +250, while the underdog’s odds are -150.

The numbers are calculated according to how much one must wager in order to win $100. Using the example above, you must bet $150 in order to win $100 for the underdog team. If you bet $150 on the underdog team and they win, your winnings will be $250 (your $150 stake + $100 winnings). On the other hand, if you bet $100 on the team with +250 odds, your winnings will total $350 (your $100 stake + $250 winnings). That said, the more you bet, the more you win, obviously. If you bet $150 rather than $100, your winnings with the favorite team would be $400 (your $150 stake + $250 winnings).

Now that you’ve had you know how betting odds work, you should have a better chance of winning, no matter which style of odds your bookie uses.

There are a number of online articles that can help you further understand how betting odds work. A little research can go a long way toward ensuring that you’re as successful as possible.

In the world of sports betting the first thing you will need to learn is to read and understand the odds. There are three traditional ways that online sports betting sites display odds. They include American, Decimal, and Fractional.

Regardless of how the odds are displayed, they’ll always mean the same thing. Watching the UFC, the odds format they talk is American Odds or Vegas Odds. Essentially what they are is the percentage of one outcome against another.

You can use our UFC Odds Calculator to work out percentages yourself.

We have a live odds tool on our site that you’ll notice on lots of our pages. We post live odds in American and Decimal format, but we don’t list live odds in the Fractional format.

The reason we don’t list live odds using Fractions on our site is that we don’t want to confuse bettors. Fraction odds are becoming more extinct every year, and many online sportsbooks have stopped posting odds using fractional odds entirely.

The betting odds are one of the most important factors in deciding on whether to bet on a game or not. If you study a UFC fight and determine that Jon Jones has a 60% chance of beating Mauricio Rua, then you’re going to need to find out if the odds are better than that.

Using our 60% example, we need to check to see if the odds are going to allow us to be profitable if Jones does win 60% of the time in this fight. You can use our betting calculator to check what the odds mean in percentage terms.


To break even betting on an outcome that is predicted to hit at a 60% rate you need to be getting odds of -150. If you’re getting better odds, i.e., -150 to a positive number (+100), then it’s a +EV bet to make, and you should place the bet.

We’re going to explain how to read the three different types of betting odds below, so make sure you check out both the American and Decimal formats if you don’t know how to read them yet.

American Betting Odds Explained

  • Jon Jones -205 vs. Mauricio Rua +165

American odds are shown using whole numbers above 100, and they can have a positive or negative value. When the odds have a negative value, the odds will be presented with a (-) in front of the number whereas when the odds have a positive value they will have a (+) sign in front of the odds.

To understand how much you can make you need to remember one rule. When the odds are positive (+), the number reflects how much you’ll make on a $100 wager whereas if the odds are negative (-), the number reflects how much you need to bet to win $100 profit.

If you bet on Jones at -205 you need to risk $205 to win $100 profit and if you bet on Rua to win you’d win $165 profit for every $100 you bet.

The fighter with the negative value is ‘usually’ considered the favorite, and if both fighters have a negative value, then the fighter with the higher number is the favorite.


  • Fighter A: -105
  • Fighter B: -109

Fighter B is considered the favorite in this matchup.

It’s rare for two fighters in MMA to both have negative value odds, but it does happen when two extremely evenly matched fighters fight against each other.

Decimal Betting Odds Explained

  • Jon Jones 1.49 vs. Mauricio Rua 2.65

Decimal odds are used in most countries outside of North America, so we include decimal odds on our site for punters. Decimal odds are also known as European odds.

To understand decimal odds you always need to remember that your stake and profit are included in the odds. For instance, Jon Jones is favored to win the fight at 1.49 odds. If you bet $100 on Jones at 1.49, you’d win $149 back, which includes your stake and profits.

You’d win your $100 back plus make $49 profit.

If you bet on the underdog Rua in the fight for $100 at odds of 2.65 you’d win back $265, which includes your $100 stake plus $165 in profit.

To find out how much you can win using decimal odds you multiply the odds by how much you want to bet.

Fractional Betting Odds Explained


Betting Odds Calculator

  • Jon Jones 49/100 vs. Mauricio Rua 33/20

We want to say that we believe fractional odds are going to become less used, and therefore we don’t recommend using them unless you’re betting on horses.

If you’re betting on MMA, you should use Decimal odds, as every bookie offers Decimal odds and they’re easy to use when trying to figure out your profit.

If you need to be able to read fraction odds, they’re simple. The 1st number in the fraction is how much you’re paid out based on the 2nd number, which is how much you need to stake.

Football Betting Odds Explained

For instance, if you bet on Jones at 49/100 odds you need to calculate 49/100 x “Wager Amount” to come up with how much you’ll make. If you bet $100 (49/100 x $100 = $49) you’d make $49 plus receive your $100 stake back.