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

  • Last Updated: 1st January 2018
Betting Odds Explained

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, an odds 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 net necessarily reflect the true probabilities due to their ‘edge’.

What Are Betting Odds?

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

Fractional Odds Explained

Fractional odds are also referred to as British Odds, UK Odds and Traditional Odds. Favoured by bookmakers in the UK and Ireland and most commonly used within horse racing, fractional odds quote the amount that will be paid out, should the bet win, relative to the stake.

Example: For 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.

Fractional Odds Explained

Decimal Odds Explained

Decimal odds are popular with many punters because they are easier to work out manually.

Favoured by bookmakers in continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, decimal odds quote the exact amount that will be paid out, should the bet win, including the stake.

Decimal odds are most common on betting exchanges, but all leading online betting sites allow you to view betting odds in this format.

Example: For odds of 5.0, for every £1 you place, you will receive a total return of £5 (5.0 x £1).

Decimal Odds Explained

American Odds Explained

American odds are also referred to as ‘money lines’. Favoured by American bookmakers, American Odds can be either positive (+) or negative (-) and are based on a 100 take.

  • A negative number shows how much you have to stake in order to achieve a profit of $100.

Example: For odds of -150, you would have to stake $150 to get a $100 profit.

  • A positive number shows how much profit you will make if you stake $100.

Example: For odds of +150, if you staked $100 then you make $150 profit.

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 definite upward trend towards the use of decimal odds, for both bookmakers and punters which is very likely to be 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 a 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.

Odds Conversion Calculator

If you want to convert fractional odds into decimal odds or convert decimal odds into fractional odds then you can use our 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

Odds 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, 3/1, 3-2 and 3:1 are all interchangeable.

  • Odds Against  When the probability of an outcome occurring is greater than 1/1 then this is often referred to as ‘odds against’. In other words, when the potential profit from a bet is greater than the amount staked.
  • Odds On  ‘Odds on’ is the opposite of ‘odds against. When the probability of an outcome is less than 1/1 then this is often referred to as ‘odds on’. In other words, when the potential profit from a bet is less than the amount staked.
  • Even Money When the probability of an outcome occurring is exactly 1/1 then this is often referred to as ‘Even Money’ (also known as ‘EVENS’ or ‘EVS’. In other words, when the potential profit from a bet is the same as the amount staked.

Betting Odds Terminology


Bookmakers use betting odds 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 will lay the foundation for your betting knowledge and can help you be a more successful bettor.