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Betting Odds Explained

If you’re new to sports betting, it’s crucial that you understand betting odds properly before putting real money on the line. Surprisingly, many top sportsbooks don’t explain how to use betting odds but, thankfully, our experts have done the hard work for you.

In this easy-to-understand guide, you can learn everything you need to know about betting odds. We cover how sports betting odds work, the different odds you may come across, and how to tell good odds from bad ones.

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What Are Odds?

If you want sports betting odds explained, you’ve come to the right place. Sports betting odds are used by bookmakers to show what they think the probability of an event happening is. They also offer you a chance to gamble on that probability.

Example – Kohli to score the most runs – 2/1

Fractional odds show how much you win on the left if you bet the number on the right. In this cricket betting example, if you bet ₹1000 and Kohli does score the most runs, you win ₹2000 and get your original ₹1000 bet returned too.

Betting odds are offered by sports betting sites but it’s up to you to decide whether they are good or not. The odds offered by bookmakers are based on what they think is likely to happen, but of course sport regularly has big upsets. Just ask the people who bet on Leicester City to win the Premier League at 5000/1.

The bigger the odds, the lower the chances the sportsbook thinks that outcome will happen. This is also known as implied probability. 2/1 is a lot more likely than 20/1 so you get less profit if that bet wins.

Betting Odds Explained – Different Odds Formats

If you’ve just joined an Indian sports betting site and the numbers mean nothing to you, it can be quite daunting. That’s where we come in. Our team have put together a fool-proof guide to all the different types of sports betting odds.

Find the odds you’re interested in and visit the complete guide to learn more.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are one of the most common odds formats at betting sites around the world. They’re easy to understand and are often the default at sports betting sites.

Fractional Odds

Fractional odds are most commonly used in the UK and Ireland. They were traditionally used by bookmakers at racing tracks but are now featured on many major betting sites.

Hong Kong Odds

Hong Kong odds are similar to moneyline or American odds. They are expressed with a + or – next to the number. They are relatively rare although many bookmakers in Asia offer them.

Indonesian Odds

Indonesian odds are also similar to moneyline odds; however, they are displayed with a decimal point. Although popular in Asia, Indonesian odds are not available at all betting sites.

Malaysian Odds

Malaysian odds are based on decimal points and also use + and – symbols. As with many odds types, they are most popular in the region they are named after.

American Odds (Moneyline)

American odds are common at betting sites across the world. Also known as moneyline odds, they display favourites and underdogs by using + and – symbols.

How Do Betting Odds Work?

If you want betting odds explained, our advice is to get a good understanding decimal odds. If you learn to read decimal odds, you can make some small tweaks to understand other odds such as Indonesian odds and Hong Kong odds.

To understand how decimal odds work, you should remember that the outcome is always based on one unit of currency.

As a rule of thumb, keep in mind that the bigger the number, the better the odds. If it’s below one – think 0.25, for instance – this isn’t going to be the bet that changes your life. However, it’s got a good chance of winning.

If you see a bigger number, such as 8.00, you should instantly recognise that this is an outside bet and unlikely to land. However, you’ll see the payout is much more appealing. This is why many players prefer these types of bets using decimal odds.

How to Read Betting Odds in Sports Betting

Here are some examples of odds and potential returns using decimal.

3.00 = Win 3 times your wager

8.00 = Win 8 times your wager

0.25 = Win a quarter of your wager

Calculating Payments from Betting Odds

Online sports betting odds will usually pop up in a payslip before you confirm your bet. However, if you understand how betting odds work, you’ll be able to make more informed bets and not rely on the bookmaker to show you how much you’ll win.

When calculating your odds, it’s vital that you remember whether or not your stake is included. You can refer to this in two ways:

  • Winnings: The amount of profit you’ll make if the bet wins
  • Pay out: Your profit plus stake if you win

Don’t forget to include your stake when calculating your betting odds winnings, or you could make a major mistake.

What About Odds When Betting Each Way?

Each way (EW) betting is most commonly used in horse racing. However, it can be applied to any sports bet on a race. When you make an each way bet, you effectively make 2 separate bets. The first bet is to win, the second bet is to place.

To place means to finish in one of the top positions in the race. Bookmakers offer a different number of place positions for each way bets but they usually pay out for places 1-4. If your place bet wins, you are only usually paid out 1/5 of the original odds, not the full amount.

For example, if you bet ₹500 on Red Rum in the Grand National each way at 11.00, you effectively bet ₹1000. ₹500 for Red Rum to win and another ₹500 for Red Rum to place.

If Red Rum wins, your winnings are ₹5000 for the win and ₹1000 for the place.

If Red Rum finished 2nd, your winnings would be 1/5 of the 11.00 bet, so you would be paid 3.00. Your winnings would be ₹1000.

The Importance of Odds Comparison

If you check the betting odds across a range of bookies you will quickly notice they can vary a lot. The more you do this the more obvious it is that you can make more profit simply by placing a bet with a different sports betting site.

Joining different betting sites is advisable as you can quickly compare odds. If you have multiple accounts open you can choose the site that has the best odds for that bet.

Another good reason for comparing odds is to make the most available profit from your winning selections. Full-time gamblers understand that not every bet will be a winner, and therefore it is essential to make the most of those that are.

By making a bet comparison and choosing the bookie with the best odds your returns will be higher – even if only by a small percentage. Those small percentage points are vital because when you assess your betting record over the course of a month or a year, you will see that they add up to make a significant difference to overall profit and loss.

Why Do Odds Vary on the Same Outcome?

The amount of money that is collectively placed on each outcome affects the way a market changes – the bookies inflate or reduce odds to reflect their financial liability for each outcome. However, the amount of money gambled on the outcome in a sporting event has no bearing on the actual probability of that outcome occurring.

A good strategy used by many bettors is to estimate your own odds based on your own calculations of probability in a given match. This gives you a good ‘baseline’ from which to compare betting odds with online bookmakers and find out which are offering the best value.

Ready for the Best Sport Betting Odds?

And that’s betting odds explained! Now that you know how to read sports odds, it’s time to give those bookmakers a run for their money. Sign up at any of our top online sports betting sites in India to enjoy the best betting odds and grab a huge welcome bonus right now!

Frequently Asked Questions


How do bookmakers set their odds?

When deciding their betting odds, bookmakers consider lots of different factors. This includes what they think is the most likely outcome, but also what they expect bettors to wager on.

Why do odds change?

Odds change because sports betting sites adjust their numbers based on what bettors do and also what is happening in the sport. For example, if horse A is 6.00 but as a race approaches, most of the bets are on that horse, the bookmakers might reduce the odds to 5.00. This is to protect them paying out too much money if that horse wins.

Which odds format is best?

There is no ‘best’ odds format, there are just personal preferences. The important thing is finding a format you are comfortable with an understand. Many cricket betting sites default odds would be decimal, however US sports betting sites would offer American odds.

Why are punters at a disadvantage?

Oddsmakers set their odds based on the ‘implied probability’ of an event occurring, they can then reduce the odds slightly for each outcome, thus ensuring a profit no matter how the game or event plays out. Betting sites offer punters a chance to level the playing field by offering free bets and other promotions.

What is the money line odd?

Moneyline or American odds are a type of odds most commonly used in the USA. They give a + or – number to indicate a favourite and underdog and are based on a $100 bet.