Betting Odds Explained – The Beginner Guide for South African Bettors!

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When you’re getting into online sports betting for the first time, it can be a little difficult to understand the terms and types of odds. So, we’ve prepared a beginner’s guide to sports betting terms with the betting odds explained.

Betting Odds Explained – Detailed Guide

Sports betting is an activity that requires the bettor to have a sound understanding of all the sports betting terms and mathematical calculations related to sports betting. Of course, we’re not saying that you absolutely have to understand the mathematical aspect of it, but it sure helps.

Among the betting terms, sports betting odds and understanding the types should be your primary focus. There are usually three types of odds that are commonly used at most offline or online sportsbooks. And we’re going to be discussing those for this article.

We also gave some in-depth analysis on how to understand the kinds of odds, how to read them and what each of them means. Not all sportsbooks use the same odds format, and sometimes it can get complicated trying to understand what the odds mean while simultaneously placing a bet.

Betting Odds Explained

Fractional Odds Explained

Fractional is not the most commonly used odds format. However, most online sportsbooks will give you the option to change the default odds to fractional odds. These odds have been used for a long time, and if you’re going to bet on sports, we suggest you take the time to learn about them.

Reading Fractional Odds

These odds are written in the format of a proper or improper fraction. For example, if your odds are 3/2, where 3 is the numerator, and 2 is the denominator.

The numerator is the amount you can potentially win, and the denominator is the amount you bet or stake. So, if your stake is 10, your winnings will be (10 x (3/2)) = 15. To break it down, your initial stake was 10, and your profit was 5, bringing your total winnings to 15.

You can use a fractional odds calculator to calculate your winnings in case you’re confused.

Underdog/ Favourite

Any sportsbook will give you two sets of odds for a matchup. One set is for the underdog, and one is for the favourite to win.

To understand it better, let’s take a look at an example. Let’s assume a La Liga matchup is to take place this season between clubs Real Madrid CF and RCD Mallorca. The underdog and the favourite in this situation would be predicted based on the clubs’ recent performance, whose home ground the match is taking place in, and other external or internal factors.

So, the sportsbook will do the calculations based on that and give you odds. Let’s assume the odds for Real Madrid CF 4/6 are, and RCD Mallorca are 6/5. The underdog here is RCD Mallorca. The simplest way to look at it is Profit/ Stake.

If your profit is greater than the stake, that means you’re betting on the underdog. This is because the underdog is less likely to win the matchup, so bookmakers aren’t expecting to lose on that front.

betting odds

Decimal Odds Explained

Decimal odds are probably the most commonly used odds format. These are used all over European countries, some Asian countries and are just the default when it comes to most online sportsbooks. Most seasoned punters would already know how to read these odds, but we’ll still give you a small overview.

Reading Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are basically like a multiplier for your stake. Winning with the selection you make would award you your stake multiplied by the odds for the selection.

So, if the odds were 2.5 for a bet, and your stake was 10, then your total winnings would be (2.5 x 10) = 25. The winnings include your initial stake of 10 and your profit of 15 and combine the two to give you 25.

These odds will never be an integer less than one and there are usually two decimal places after the integer. If the odds are decimals greater than 2, then generally the outcome is less likely to occur.

There are plenty of online decimal odds calculators you can use to work out your total winnings. But these odds are pretty easy to calculate, so you shouldn’t have much of an issue.

Underdog/ Favourite

Again, for any match, the sportsbook will give you two sets of odds. If a draw is possible in the match, there may be an additional set of odds in that case.

However, we are going to be looking at an example where a draw is not possible. Let’s take a look at the Champions League Knockout stage between Manchester City and FC Barcelona. The odds, in this case, will depend on which leg of the match it is and which team won the first leg (assuming it happened). There are external factors as well.

Taking that all into consideration, the sportsbook has given you odds of 1.66 for Manchester City and 2.20 for FC Barcelona. Here, FC Barcelona are the underdogs since they have the higher odds. Again, these odds would have a greater payout since FC Barcelona is not expected to win in this instance.

Percentage Odds Explained

Percentage odds aren’t as commonly used as some of the other odds formats on our list. These are shown in the form of a percentage or as a decimal that is below 1.

You won’t find percentage odds at most sportsbooks. Although, they are pretty easy to understand if you have some basic knowledge about math. Also, you can use a percentage odds calculator.

Reading Percentage Odds

Percentage odds are shown in a format exactly how the name implies; in the form of a percentage. The percentage shows the probability of an outcome occurring.

Percentages aren’t actually odds. They are more similar to converting your odds into a percentage form to understand them better. So, if you have odds of 2/1, converting that into a percentage would look like this (1/ (2+1)) = 0.33 or 33%.

Percentage odds will only give you the probability of an event occurring. A lot of punters will make use of probabilities to figure out their exact chances of winning with a selection. However, with percentages, you will not be able to work out your exact amount of winnings.

Underdog/ Favourite

As we said, percentages only give you the probability or potential for an outcome to occur. It’s not a generally accepted odds format. Therefore, there is no significant data about which odds would indicate a favourite or an underdog in a match.

Percentages are great if you want to mathematically calculate your own odds of winning. But they will not give you any concrete information about your profit unless you use a fractional, decimal, or some other odds format.

betting odds explained

Money Line Odds Explained

Money Line odds are usually exclusive to America. You won’t find these at the majority of sports betting sites other than the American ones. But most sportsbooks will allow you to change the odds format from the default to American odds or Money Line odds. These are probably the hardest odds to understand, but we’ll try our best to explain them.

To sum it up, Money Line odds are pretty exclusive to America, and these are written as numbers with a sign in front of it. All of that has some meaning, and in the next sections, we’re going to be discussing what those mean. Again, for those who are struggling, the money line odds calculator is the way to go.

Reading Money Line Odds

There are two components to Money Line Odds. One is the number, and the other one is the sign in front of the number. There might be a plus (+) or a minus (-) sign in front of the odds which indicates the underdog and favourite. If there isn’t a sign, it’s still considered to be a plus (+). We’ll discuss more on that in a bit.

One thing to keep in mind is that Money Line odds are always calculated against a base of $100. The calculations will give you a projection of your profits.

So, if you have odds of +123, that means you need to wager $100 on the market to win $123. The profit here is $23, and the total winnings are $123. If you have odds of -150, it means you have to bet $150 to win $100.

Underdog/ Favourite

Money line odds will come in a set of two, just like all the other odds. One of the outcomes will have a minus (-) in front of the number, and one of them will have a plus (+) or no sign at all.

Here, the plus (+) indicates the underdog in the match and the minus (-) indicates the favourite to win. Let’s look at the last example for today.

Let’s assume there is a match happening between the Utah Warrior and the Toronto Arrows in Major League Rugby. The sportsbook has given the Utah Warriors an odds of -185 and the Toronto Arrows an odds of 265. Here, the Toronto Arrows would be considered the underdogs.

Betting Odds FAQs

Finally, we have FAQs about sports betting odds that will hopefully clear any further questions.

How to calculate betting odds?

Here’s what you need to know about calculating when it comes to sports betting odds explained. This is something that the sportsbook normally does. You yourself can use those odds to calculate the probability that you will win or lose in any of your selections.

How to read betting odds?

Reading sports betting odds depends on which odds you are reading. For fractional odds, 2/1 means that 1 is your stake and 2 is your winnings. For decimal odds, 2.5 is a multiplier and winning would multiply your stake by 2.5.
Finally, for money line odds, +123 means wagering $100 to win $123, and -150 means wagering $150 to win $100.

Are negative or positive odds better?

We wouldn’t exactly say either are better. While events with positive odds are less likely to occur, the payout is much higher. Events with negative odds are more likely to occur, but the payout will be on the lower side.

What are the best odds in soccer?

The best odds to bet on in soccer are the odds that are lower, since those indicate the favourite to win, and that is likely to happen.

What are the best odds in basketball?

If using the Money Line odds format, the best odds to bet in basketball are probably the ones with the minus (-) sign since that event is more likely to happen.

What are the best odds in horse racing?

Oddly enough, the favourite in horse racing does not win as often as expected. So, the better odds would be betting on the underdog.

18+ | Play responsibly | Terms and Conditions apply | Commercial Content