Sports Betting Odds Explained (with Examples)

Learn what betting odds mean, the main types of betting odds, and how to interpret betting odds and determine the potential payout based on your wager.

Betting Odds Defined

In simple terms, betting odds tell you the likelihood of a certain outcome (expressed in a number form), and also the potential payout you’re likely to receive based on your stake/wager (amount of money you are betting with).

Main Types of Betting Odds

There are three main types of betting odds:

  • American / Moneyline Odds
  • Fractional Odds
  • Decimal Odds

Let’s cover each one in detail with examples.

1. American / Moneyline Odds

American Odds are displayed as a three-digit number usually with a +/- sign in front of it, such as +120 or -150 Moneyline.

With the negative (-) sign representing the favorites and the positive (+) sign the underdogs.

Example

Teams Moneyline Odds
LA Lakers -150 Favorites
Miami Heats +120 Underdogs

In the above example, -150 Moneyline means you’d need to bet $150 on a Lakers win to win $100. A +120 Moneyline indicates your possible winnings if you staked $100 on a Heats win.

The formula for calculating potential payout (profit + stake) for a $10 stake;

2. Positive (+) Moneyline odd

FORMULA: [Stake X (Odds/100) + Stake]

Example 1 – Positive (+) Moneyline Odds: $10 at +120

Potential Payout: [$10 X (120/100) + $10] = $22

3. Negative (-) Moneyline odd

Fractional Odds

FORMULA: [Stake / (Odds/100) + Stake]

Example 2 – Negative (-) Moneyline Odds: $10 at -150

Potential Payout: [$10 / (150/100) + $10] = $16.66

4. Fractional Odds

As the name implies, fractional odds are expressed in a fraction form such as 3/1 (read three to one) or 7/2 (read seven to two) are commonly found in the UK’s sportsbooks.

The potential payout for fractional odds with a £10 stake:

FORMULA: [(Stake/denominator) X numerator)+stake]

When the number on the left is higher than the number on the right such as 3/1 or 7/2, it means the underdogs are tipped to win:

Match Up Underdogs Tipped to Win Fractional Odds Stake Possible Payout
Aston Villa v Liverpool Aston Villa 3/1 £10 £40
Leeds v Chelsea Leeds 7/2 £10 £45

When the number on the right is higher than the number on the left such as 1/3 or 2/7, it means the favorites are more likely to win:

Match Up Favorites Tipped to Win Fractional Odds Stake Possible Payout
Aston Villa v Liverpool Liverpool 1/3 £10 £13.33
Chelsea v Leeds Chelse 2/7 £10 £12.85

5. Decimal Odds

As the name suggests, these odds are expressed in a decimal form such as 2.90 or 1.85.

Match Up Liverpool Odds Draw Aston Villa
Liverpool v Aston Villa 1.85 2.90 3.50

Determining your potential payout in this system is straightforward: Simply multiply your stake/wager with the number corresponding to the outcome you want to select, such as this:

FORMULA: (Stake X Decimal Odds) = Potential Payout (Stake + Profit)

Here’s an example for a £10 stake:
Scenario 1 (Liverpool Win): £10 X 1.85 = £18.5

Scenario 2 (Draw): £10 X 2.90 = £29

Scenario 3 (Aston Villa Win): £10 X 3.50 = £35

Conclusion

Now that you’ve gotten familiar with the different odds options and how to calculate your potential profit, you’re confident and ready to start your sports betting journey. May it be a profitable one.