Arguably, one of the most important things you need to understand in online betting is the value of odds. You can not underestimate the importance of knowing how to use odds correctly. We guide you through what odds are, what they mean and how to find and use the best odds.
Betting odds are there to tell you the likelihood of an event happening; they tell you how much you stand to win. They may seem confusing at first but once you get to know them, it will make your betting life much easier – and much more profitable. Here, at BettingOnline.co.uk we will go into some depth about how to best use betting odds to bring value to your bets.
Betting, at the very basic level, is all about your ability to predict what is going to happen in a certain sporting event. If you can correctly predict the outcome, then you will win your money. Any sporting event has a number of possible outcomes. If you roll a die, then there are six outcomes possible. As such, if you bet on one specific number being rolled, then there is a 16.66% chance of winning (100 / 6). Betting odds are designed to represent the likelihood of the event happening. Generally, in the UK, they are represented as fractions, although you can access them as decimals.
When you see fractional odds, you can use these numbers to calculate the probability of an event happening according to the bookmaker. To explain the calculation, we’ll use the letters A and B for A/B. The probability is calculated with the following formula: Probability (%) = B/(A+B).
8/1 works out to be 1/(8+1) = 0.11 – which means that there is an 11% chance that it will happen.
4/1 works out to be 1/(4+1) = 0.20 – which means that there is a 20% chance that it will happen.
1/1 works out to be 1/(1+1) = 0.50 – which means that there is a 50% chance that it will happen.
1/9 works out to be 9/(1+9) = 0.90 – which means that there is a 90% chance that it will happen.
However, the more you know the sports you are betting on, the more you will understand whether the odds offered by the bookmaker represent what you think the probability is.
If you think a football team has a 50% chance of winning but is given odds of 2/3, then the bookie is stating that they are paying out for the probability of 3/(2+3): 60%, which means it is not a value bet. However, if the bookie is offering odds of 2/3, then they are paying out for the probability of 2/(3+2): 40%, which makes it a value bet, that you should snap up.
Once you have established whether the odds on offer represent a value bet, you can then establish what you will win if you take up the bet. This really is very simple to work out and you don’t need to be a maths genius to work out your potential winnings. Let’s again use A/B to represent odds. The way to work it out is that for every B you bet, you stand to win A, as well as getting your original stake back.
8/1 – every £1 you bet means you will get £8 plus your original stake
4/1 – every £1 you bet means you will get £4 plus your original stake
1/1 – every £1 you bet means you will get £1 plus your original stake.
1/4 – every £4 you bet means you will get £1 plus your original stake
If you want to bet on exchanges or more European betting sites, then you may find that the odds are generally represented by decimals. Some people prefer decimal odds, and as such, many sites give you the option to view all odds in decimals if that is your preference. Many people actually find these easier to work out than fractional. As such, they are also very important to understand. The calculation is as follows: winnings = (odds x stake) – stake. Here are some examples of how decimal odds work.
8.0 works out to be (8.0 x £10 stake) – £10 stake = £80 – £10 = £70
4.0 works out to be (4.0 x £10 stake) – £10 stake = £40 – £10 = £30
2.5 works out to be (2.5 x £10 stake) – £10 stake = £25 – £10 = £15
1.25 works out to be (1.25 x £10 stake) – £10 stake = £12.50 – £10 = £2.50
What is better very much depends on what you are used to – and one really isn’t better than the other. Fractional odds are more traditional than decimal odds, but decimal odds are coming more into fashion. Fractional odds were originally used in the UK, most predominantly at the race tracks and in high street bookmakers. There are a couple of differences between them. Most beginners and people new to betting find decimal odds easier to understand. Because of this more UK high street bookies have made them more available to their punters to attract more punters. They are also widely available on online betting sites. When you go to any major horse racing event, including Cheltenham, in the past, you would only be able to access odds in fractions. Now, you can generally see them available in fractions.
Another difference is that fractional odds represent the winnings only, whereas decimal odds represent the winnings plus the stake you get on return. Because of these differences, we’re generally finding that more sites and bookies are transitioning to decimals. Decimals are generally used in betting exchanges also, which are becoming more popular with punters. Also, when odds decrease or increase slightly, this is easier to represent in decimals as fractional odds tend to have very high number fractions involved, which make calculations harder for the punter.
When you understand odds, you need to make sure that you get the best odds available for your particular bet. The odds offered at different bookies represent what is going on in their market for that event. As such, these can vary from bookie to bookie. If there are too many people making a bet on one outcome, then bookmakers will change odds to lure punters to bet on a different outcome. As such, this could lead to a skew of good value and bad value odds. Therefore, you can either look through all different online bookies to check out where the best odds lie, or you can use our odds comparison site to help you. Taking time to compare odds yourself can be very time consuming, so getting a helping hand makes it much easier. You can find the best tips and the best odds for your bets here on our site.
Betting odds are the most important thing you need to understand when it comes to online betting so you can understand values and winnings. As soon as you get the hang of the odds, you can understand the likelihood of an event happening – and how much you stand to win if it does happen. Getting good value odds and the best odds is a major part of successful betting.