If you are new to betting then it can sometimes be difficult to fully understand odds as they are often presented in various forms. Odds are important to understand prior to placing your bets as they tell you the probability of your bet winning as well as how much you will receive back if it wins.
In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at odds and covering the following topics:
- Odds and the various formats they are presented in
- How to calculate your winnings from the odds
- How to determine the probability of your bet winning from the odds
- How to calculate the odds of an accumulator
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If you are betting in the UK, there are two main formats which are used for odds. These are:
- Decimal Odds
- Fractional Odds
Most online bookmaker websites display odds in fractional format by default but some use decimal odds. Betting exchanges for example only use decimal odds. You can usually select the format you wish to view the odds in on most websites but it’s handy to know how both work should you not be able to find the option to change them.
If you’ve visited a bookies or placed a bet online or even seen a betting advert on TV, it’s likely that you’ve come across fractional odds.
An example of odds displayed in fractional format would be 5/1. The first number is the profit you will make if your stake was the second number.
- 2/1: If you placed a £1 bet and it won, you would receive £3 back. (£2 profit + your £1 stake)
- 5/1: If you placed a £1 bet and it won, you would receive £6 back. (£5 profit + your £1 stake)
- 7/2: If you placed a £2 bet and it won, you would receive £9 back. (£7 profit + your £2 stake)
- 7/4: If you placed a £4 bet and it won, you would receive £11 back. (£7 profit + your £4 stake)
If you are planning on using a stake which is the second number eg. a £1 stake for a 5/1 bet, then calculating your returns is easy. However, if you wanted to place a £1 bet at odds of 7/4, it can be slightly more difficult to calculate your returns quickly.
Decimal odds are used less frequently than fractional odds but are generally easier to calculate your returns.
With decimal odds, you simply multiply your stake by the odds to determine the returns should your bet win.
- 2.00: If you placed a £1 bet and it won, you would receive £2 back.
- 3.00: If you placed a £1 bet and it won, you would receive £3 back.
- 5.50: If you placed a £1 bet and it won, you would receive £5.50 back.
- 6.75: If you placed a £1 bet and it won, you would receive £6.75 back.
It’s important to remember that with decimal odds, by multiplying the odds by your stake, it is the returns (profit + stake) you are calculating and not your profit.
Converting Fractional Odds to Decimal Odds
Sometimes you may wish to convert fractional odds into decimal odds to help to calculate the returns from your bet. This is easier than it may sound.
Simply divide the fraction and add one.
Here are some examples:
- 2/1 Fractional Odds = 3.0 Decimal Odds ((2 ÷ 1) + 1)
- 5/1 Fractional Odds = 6.0 Decimal Odds ((6 ÷ 1) + 1)
- 7/2 Fractional Odds = 4.5 Decimal Odds ((7 ÷ 2) + 1)
- 13/2 Fractional Odds = 7.5 Decimal Odds ((13 ÷ 2) + 1)
The Probability Of Your Bet Winning Based On The Odds
By looking at the odds, we’re able to determine how likely our bet is to win. The higher the odds, the less likely our bet is to come in and the lower the odds, the more likely it is to come in.
For example, a bet at odds of 2/1 is more likely to come in than a bet at odds of 20/1.
Assuming that the odds you are offered are the true, or close to the true odds, then we can simply use the decimal version of the odds to determine the probability of a bet winning.
- A bet at odds of 2.0 will win once every 2 times on average
- A bet at odds of 5.0 will win once every 5 times on average
- A bet at odds of 6.5 will win once every 6 and a half times on average (2 of every 13 times).
Calculating Accumulator Odds
An accumulator is a number of individual bets bundled into one. Each of these individual bets have their own odds but when compiled together, give one overall odds.
To calculate the combined odds of an accumulator, the easiest way is to first convert all of the individual odds into decimal format if they are not already.
For example, let’s say that we want to place an accumulator containing the following selections:
- Arsenal to win: 2/1
- Man Utd to win: 3/4
- Real Madrid to win: 6/4
- Burnley to win: 4/1
We would then convert the odds into decimal format by dividing the fractions and adding 1.
- Arsenal to win: 3.00
- Man Utd to win: 1.75
- Real Madrid to win: 2.50
- Burnley to win: 5.00
Then, to calculate the combined odds for our accumulator, we simply need to multiply all of the odds together.
3.00 x 1.75 x 2.50 x 5.00 = 65.63
This means that if we placed a £1 bet on this accumulator and all four selections won, we would receive back £65.63 and have a profit of £64.63.
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Calculating Winnings From Other Types Of Bets
As well as single bets and accumulator bets, there are various other types of bets you can place. Some examples are:
- Super Heinz
- Lucky 15
- Lucky 31
- Lucky 63
It can be a lot more difficult to manually calculate the returns from these types of bets and so the use of a betting calculator is recommended. There are many betting calculators available to use for free including here at WhichBookie.