When you are engaging in sports betting, either as an affiliate or as a casual bettor, you need to make sure that you know precisely how the odds work. These are a key part in ensuring that you have made the right bets. Online sportsbooks and traditional bookies alike will display their odds easily for customers to see. You need to fully understand how they work so you know you have made the best bet of the bunch in the hopes for a positive outcome.

What are Odds?

First of all, it would be helpful to define what odds are. Whether you are engaging in sports betting or casino gambling, odds are the likeliness that something will happen. For example, if a football team fields its star striker in the final of a league match, it is pretty low odds that that striker will attempt to score a goal at some point in the match.

Another time you often see odds in play is during political battles. Odds are advertised over the likelihood of a certain person winning. For example, right now at a popular online sports betting website, you can also find bets being taken over who will win the 2020 US Presidential Election.

Therefore, you can imagine how important it is that you understand odds when making bets, as they will dictate the likelihood of you winning the bet and what you can expect as a return if you do win.

There are three main types of bets: fractional, decimal, and moneyline. While we will go over all three, it is incredibly important that you remember that these are just three ways of presenting the same information.

Fractional Odds

Often called British or traditional odds, these are the style of odds that are most popular in the UK. They are also adopted by many bookies across the world due to their ease to understand.

They are instantly recognisable due to the slash (/) or hyphen (-) that separates the numbers. Let’s take an example of a bet that is offered at ten-to-one; it would be expressed in fractional odds as 10/1.

This means that you then win £10 for every £1 wagered on a successful bet. An easy formula for working out a fractional bet is:

  • Total Return = [Bet x (Odds)] + Bet]

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds can also be referred to as European odds and they are very popular with bookies across Europe, Canada, and Australia. They are easy for newcomers to understand and it is easy to pick out favourites and underdogs. Most betting sites will allow you to switch between the different odds, so take a look at all the ones we list here and see which one you prefer.

This style of odds shows you how much you win per £1 wagered. Therefore, it is easy to calculate how much you will get back as the takes are already included. A formula here is:

  • Total Return = Bet x Decimal Odd Number

So, if we go back to our example of 10/1 fractional odds, this would be expressed in Decimal Odds as 11.00 as we would make a total return of £11 on a £1 bet.

Moneyline Odds

Moneyline Odds are popular in America and are therefore referred to as American Odds sometimes. These help you to easily pick out favourites and underdogs. Favourites are accompanied by a minus (-) sign, and odds for the underdog have a positive (+) sign.

This is one of the styles of betting that is best described with an example. We went to a popular betting site and found a basketball game that offered moneyline odds of +137.5 and -275 for the teams. This means that those betting in favour of the underdog could win a total payout of £237.50 when risking £100. (it will return £137.5 profit + the original £100 stake). While those betting for the favourites need to place £275 stake to win £100. This style of betting is a little more complicated, but it can be great for picking out a favourite in a tight contest.


Overall, betting odds are just the same information expressed in different ways. Take a look at fractional, decimal, and moneyline odds and choose the one which is easiest for you to understand.