Fractional odds are most common in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and as such, can also be called Traditional, British or UK odds. Originally used in horse racing, fractional odds are now common across a whole range of sports across the globe.
Fractional odds show the amount of profit relative to your stake. The number on the left-hand side of the fraction shows how much profit you will make if you stake the amount shown on the right-hand side of the fraction. As an example, fractional odds of 3/1 (read as three-to-one) mean that you will receive 3 units of profit for every 1 unit that you stake. If 1 unit is £10.00, then you would have a return of £40 which is your £10.00 initial stake and £30.00 profit.
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With fractional odds, 1/1 is seen as evens meaning that you would make the same amount of profit as your original stake if your bet was successful – 1 unit staked would return 2 units, made up of 1 unit profit and your original 1 unit stake. If the fraction is bigger on the right-hand side, then this is known as ‘odds on’ and means that you need to wager more than you will make in profit because the bet is seen as being likely to win – for example, fractional odds of 1/2 on would see a profit of 1 unit for every 2 units staked. If the left-hand side of the fraction is bigger than the right, then the bet outcome is less likely to happen and is seen as being ‘odds against’ – for example, fractional odds of 5/2 against would see 5 units of profit made for every 2 units wagered.
Most online bookmakers have a built in feature which allows the customer to change between the different types of odds. This is usually found in your account settings or as a drop-down option when looking at the available bets. This makes it easy to select the odds format you wish to use and allow the website to convert the odds automatically rather than you needing to do the conversion manually.
Should you wish to convert fractional odds to decimal odds though, this can be done by:
Fractional odds can make it a little tricky when trying to work out your return and profit. This is particularly true if the right-hand side of the fraction – which represents the stake – is more than 1, for example, 11/8 which means 8 units staked returns 11 units of profit. As a punter is unlikely to stake the exact number on the right-hand side of the fraction – or a multiple of that number – it takes a bit more effort to work out your winnings. Similarly, calculating your return on doubles, trebles or other accumulators can be a bit of a long process unless you use the in-built winnings calculator on bookies’ websites. Calculating return manually can be done though using the formula below:
[Where L is left-hand side of fraction and R is right-hand side of fraction]
For single bets:
Stake x ((L / R) + 1) = Return
For multiple bets:
Stake x ((L / R) + 1) x ((L / R) + 1) x ((L / R) + 1) = Return
1) In football, if Liverpool are favourites at odds of 4/9 to beat Aston Villa who are the underdogs at 6/1 and you stake $50.00 on Liverpool to win:
4 / 9 = 0.44
0.44 x $50.00 stake = $22.22 profit
You would make $22.22 profit if Liverpool won, in addition to get back your initial stake of $50.00, which would make a return of $72.22.
2) In football, if Liverpool are favourites at odds of 4/9 to beat Aston Villa who are the underdogs at 6/1 and you stake €50.00 on Aston Villa to win:
6 / 1 = 6
6.00 x €50.00 stake = €300.00 profit
You would make €300.00 profit if Aston Villa won, in addition to get back your initial stake of €50.00, which would make a return of €350.00.
3) In horse racing, if horse A in race 1 has odds of 2/3, horse B in race 2 has odds of 3/1 and horse C in race 3 has odds of 7/4. You place a £15.00 treble on each horse to win their race outright (i.e. not an each way bet):
£15.00 stake x ((2 / 3) + 1) x ((3 / 1) + 1) x ((7 / 4) + 1)
£15.00 stake x 1.67 x 4.00 x 2.75 = £275.00
You would return £275.00 if all 3 horses won their races, which is made up of £260.00 profit and your initial £15.00 stake.