From reading betting odds, to using them to work out implied probability, our guide explains everything you need to know.

If you’re new to betting, an explanation into how betting odds work and how to read betting odds is the first thing you will need.

Once you have got your head around them, betting odds help you to work out how likely an outcome is to happen and to calculate your potential winnings.

Despite looking daunting to begin with, they are easy to understand with the application of some simple maths.

What are betting odds?

Betting odds are used by bookmakers as a way of presenting the likelihood of a specific outcome in an event.

They are often written as fractions (2/1) or decimals (3.0) but can also be written with a plus or a minus in front of a number (+200), referred to as moneyline or American odds.

Betting markets can often provide you with multiple different outcomes in any given event.

Let’s take football match betting, for example.

You will be presented with a choice of a home win, draw or an away win. Each of these three outcomes will be given a value based on their probability.

But betting odds can apply to anything with a set outcome and are often seen in TV, music and politics as well as sport.

As well presenting probability, betting odds also help a customer calculate their potential winnings from a bet.

How do betting odds work?

Simply put, betting odds display the probability of an outcome and are represented in a fractional or decimal form most of the time.

That representation then tells us how much we could potentially win if that particular outcome were to happen.

Fractional odds tell us our potential winnings in relation to our stake. The number on the left-hand side represents the potential profit if we stake the number on the right-hand side.

For example, a £1 bet on Team A to win at 2/1 will return £3 if successful. Of those returns, £2 is profit and the remaining £1 is the bettor’s stake.

Here are some other examples:

10/1: £10 profit for every £1 staked.

5/2: £5 profit for every £2 staked.

4/11: £4 profit for every £11 staked.

When the number on the left-hand side is smaller than the number on the right-hand side, the bet is referred to as odds-on. When the opposite is true, it is odds-against, while odds of 1/1 are referred to as evens.

Decimal odds, meanwhile, tell us our potential winnings inclusive of our stake. All that’s needed to work out the total returns, it to multiply stake by the odds.

For example, a £1 on Team A to win at 3.00 will return £3 if successful. Like the bet with fractional odds above, £2 of those returns are profit and £1 is the bettor’s stake.

Here are some other examples:

10.00: £1 bet would return £10 inclusive of stake.

2.50: £4 bet would return £10 inclusive of stake.

1.50: £2 bet would return £3 inclusive of stake.

The equivalent of 1/1 odds in a decimal is 2.00.

Finally, moneyline odds tell us the potential profit from a bet. The easiest way to understand how they work, is to use an example:

Team A +130

Team B -150

The plus sign in front of Team A’s odds denotes that they are the underdogs in the match.

A successful bet will return £130 in profit for every £100 staked. If Team A win, a £10 bet will return £23 – £13 in profit and the £10 stake.

The minus sign in front of Team B’s odds denotes that they are favourites to win the match.

The bettor will receive £100 for a successful bet with a £150 stake. A £10 stake, meanwhile, would return £16, £6 of which would be profit.

Using odds to calculate probability

We can also use betting odds to work out the implied probability of an outcome.

In simple terms longer odds mean that an outcome is less likely to happen, but it’s possible to a dive a little deeper.

The calculate probability from fractional odds, we need to divide the number on the right-hand side of the fraction by the sum of both numbers.

So, odds of 9/1 would give an implied probability of 10 per cent.

That is because 9+1=10, and 1÷10=0.1. Expressed as a percentage, 0.1 equals 10 per cent.

Here are some other examples:

5/1: 5+1=6, 1÷6=0.167 (16.7 per cent)

6/4: 6+4=10, 4÷10=0.4 (40 per cent)

2/5: 2+5=7, 5÷7=0.71 (71 per cent)

It’s a little simpler to calculate probability from decimal odds. We jut divide the number one by the decimal odds.

So, odds of 10.00 would give an implied probability of 10 per cent.

That is because 1÷10=0.1. Expressed as a percentage, 0.1 equals 10 per cent.

Here are some other examples:

6.00: 1÷6= 1÷6=0.167 (16.7 per cent)

2.50: 1÷2.50=0.4 (40 per cent)

1.40: 1÷1.40=0.71 (71 per cent)

How to convert fractional to decimal odds

Generally, you are unlikely to need to manually convert fractional odds to decimals. Instead, you will be able to select your preference on the Betway website.

But here is how it is done:

To calculate 6/1 as a decimal, we divide the number on the left-hand side by the number on the right-hand side and add one.

So 6÷1=6 and 6+1=7.00.

Here are some other examples:

10/1: 10÷1-10 and 10+1-11.00

6/4: 6÷4=1.5 and 1.5+1=2.50

2/5: 2÷5=0.4 and 0.4+1=1.40

Hopefully our guide has given you an overview of how betting odds work and how to use them. Good luck with your future online betting!

How do betting odds work and how to read them: Betting odds explained