Understanding Odds

There is one principle common to all forms of gambling that you’ll need to understand, and be fairly comfortable with, if you are to be successful. That principle is the wonderful world of ‘Odds’.

By using a very simple calculation (see below), the odds will help you calculate how much money you will receive should your bet win.

Odds are generally displayed in one of two ways:

  1. Fractional Odds
  2. Decimal Odds

Fractional Odds

In the UK we tend to express odds in the form of fractions e.g. 6/4 (pronounced ‘six to four’ or ‘six to four against’). 6/4 means for every £4 the punter bets, the Bookie bets £6 – the winner collecting all £10. The amount collected after a win is known as the returns.

Calculating the returns off any bet for any stake is done as follows:

  1. Divide the number before the ‘/’ by the number after the ‘/’
  2. Add 1
  3. Multiple by the amount gambled i.e. your stake

Example 1

A £5 bet which wins at 7/2 is:

  1. 7 divided by 2 = 3.5
  2. 5 + 1 = 4.5
  3. 5 x £5 = £22.50

Your returns are £22.50

Example 2

A £9 bet which wins at 9/1 is:

  1. 9 divided by 1 = 9
  2. 9 + 1 = 10
  3. 10 x £1 = £10

Your returns are £10.

Sometimes the odds mean you are required to risk more than the Bookie e.g. 1/2 (pronounced ‘one to two’, or ‘two to one on’). This is known as odds-on (as opposed to odds against).

Calculating returns from odds-on winners is exactly the same as odds-against.

Example 3

A £3 bet which wins at 1/2 is:

  1. 1 divided by 2 = 0.5
  2. 5 + 1 = 1.5
  3. 5 x £3 = £4.50

Your returns are £4.50

Decimal Odds

In Europe, with the exception of the UK, odds tend to be expressed as decimal odds a.k.a. digital odds e.g. 4.5 (or 4.50 to 2 decimal places).

Converting from fractional to decimal odds is simple – in fact you’re already able to do it by yourself (hint: I’ve shown you how to do it in the above examples). It’s a two-step process, as follows:

  1. Divide the number before the ‘/’ by the number after the ‘/’
  2. Add 1.

See, I said you already knew how to do it!

Example 1

Fractional odds of 7/2 is:

  1. 7 divided by 2 = 3.50
  2. 5 + 1 = 4.50

Example 2

Fractional odds of 9/1 is:

  1. 9 divided by 1 = 9.00
  2. 9 + 1 = 10.00

Example 3

Fractional odds of 1/2 is:

  1. 1 divided by 2 = 0.50
  2. 5 + 1 = 1.50

Odds as Percentages

Odds can also be expressed as percentages, and represent the percentage chance of a competitor winning an event.

Converting odds to percentages is also simple. Guess what. You already know most of what you need to do (hey, are you good or what!).

Ok, here’s what you do to convert from fractional odds to percentages:

  1. Divide the number before the ‘/’ by the number after the ‘/’
  2. Add 1 (remember, the result of this is the decimal odds equivalent)
  3. Divide 100 by the result of 1 & 2.

Example 1

Fractional odds of 7/2 is:

  1. 7 divided by 2 = 3.50
  2. 5 + 1 = 4.50 (decimal equivalent of 7/2)
  3. 100 / 4.50 = 22.22%

Example 2

Fractional odds of 9/1 is:

  1. 9 divided by 1 = 9.00
  2. 9 + 1 = 10.00 (decimal equivalent of 9/1)
  3. 100 / 10.00 = 10%

Example 3

Fractional odds of 1/2 is:

  1. 1 divided by 2 = 0.50
  2. 5 + 1 = 1.50 (decimal equivalent of 1/2)
  3. 100 / 1.50 = 66.66%
 

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