Betting Odds Explained & Odds Table - Ultimate Guide (2018 Update)

  • Last Updated: 1st June 2018
Betting Odds Explained + Odds Conversion Table & Calculator

In this article we explain all you need to know about betting odds including exactly what they are and what they represent, the various formats they can be displayed (decimal, fractional and american), an odds conversion calculator, an at a glance odds conversion table, commonly used terminology and more.

Betting Odds Explained & Odds Conversion Table

Understanding betting odds is extremely important and is one of the first things you should master when entering the gambling world, even before you learn how to place a bet online.

By doing so, not only will you be able to identify how likely an outcome is to happen, but also how to calculate the return value for a given stake.

Understanding Betting Odds

So, how to betting odds work?

What Are Betting Odds?

Betting odds are used to express the likelihood of a given outcome occurring and allow you to determine the expected return from your stake should the predicted outcome become a reality.

It is important to know however, that in almost all cases, the odds provided by bookmakers do not reflect the true probabilities, but rather what they are prepared to pay out on the event happening – or not. This is because when constructing odds, bookmakers include a profit margin (referred to as their ‘edge’ or ‘overround’ – read more about that here), which in its simplest terms, means that the potential payout to a successful bettor is less than that represented by the true odds of the event happening.

What Are Betting Odds?

There are three different ways that betting odds can be displayed.

Fractional Odds Explained

Fractional odds quote the amount that will be paid out (the numerator), should the bet win, relative to the stake (the denominator). For example, with odds of 2/1, for every £1 you place, you will make a profit of £2 (should the bet win) meaning the total return would be £3.

They are expressed in the form of ‘X’ to ‘Y’ where X and Y are numbers. The word ‘to’ is most commonly replaced by either a slash (/) or hyphen (-) although occasionally you may see a colon (:). For example, 2/1, 2-1 and 2:1 are all interchangeable.

Also referred to as British Odds, UK Odds and Traditional Odds, fractional odds are favoured by bookmakers in the UK and Ireland and most commonly used within horse racing.

Fractional Odds Explained

Decimal Odds Explained

Decimal odds represent the ratio of the potential returns, including the original stake, relative to the stake itself. This is done by multiplying the stake by the decimal shown. For example, with odds of 5.0, for every £1 you place, you will receive a total return of £5 (5.0 x £1).

Favoured by bookmakers in continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, decimal odds are most common on betting exchanges and are popular with many punters because they are easier to work out manually.

Decimal Odds Explained

American Odds Explained

A negative number shows how much you have to stake in order to achieve a profit of $100 while a positive number shows how much profit you will make if you stake $100. For example, for odds of -150, you would have to stake $150 to get a $100 profit. For odds of +150, if you staked $100 then you make $150 profit.

American odds are also referred to as ‘money lines’ and are favoured by American bookmakers.

American Odds Explained

Fractional Odds v Decimal Odds

The key difference between fractional odds and decimal odds is that decimal odds account for your returned stake to give you your ‘total winnings’, whereas fractional odds do not and only give you your potential profit.

Although there is no ‘right’ format to use, there has been a clear upward trend towards the use of decimal odds, for both bookmakers and punters, because they are easier to understand. Ultimately however, it comes down to individual preference and what you are more comfortable with.

You Get To Chose

It is imperative that you understand the odds you are looking at, as not only can it be the difference between a winning and losing bet, but it can also help you recognise value.

The good news is that most, if not, all betting sites nowadays allow you to select which format you’d like the odds to be displayed in. This option is usually found via settings while some bookmakers show a toggle button on every page for quick and easy access.

Chose Which Format You Want Betting Odds Displayed

Odds Conversion Calculator

If you want to convert fractional odds into decimal odds or convert decimal odds into fractional odds then you can do so using our handy odds conversion calculator below.

Simply enter the fractional or decimal odds you’d like to convert and our Odds Conversion Calculator will automatically do the work for you.


At A Glance Betting Odds Conversion Table

Below is an ‘at a glance’ odds conversion table. Use this table to convert some of the most common fractional odds, decimal odds and american odds.


Betting Odds Terminology

  • Even Money (also referred to as ‘EVENS’ or ‘EVS’) is a term used when the odds provided for a given outcome occurring are exactly 1/1. In other words, when the potential profit from a bet is the same as that of the amount staked.
  • Odds Against is a term used when the odds provided for a given outcome occurring are greater than 1/1. In other words, when the potential profit from a bet is greater than that of the amount staked.
  • Odds On is a term used when the odds provided for a given outcome are less than 1/1. In other words, when the potential profit from a bet is less than that of the amount staked.

Betting Odds Terminology


Bookmakers use betting odds (which can be displayed in either fractional, decimal or american formats) to translate the probability of a given outcome occurring into a more usable form in order to offer betting.

Grasping this concept and fully understanding how betting odds work should not only lay the foundation for your betting knowledge, but should also help you be a more successful bettor.