A Guide To Understanding Betting Odds

If you plan to make a successful career in betting, you must first take the time to learn and understand how betting odds work. Doing so is critical as it allows you to gauge the likelihood of an event and, therefore, your winning potential.

Although betting odds may seem perplexing at first, it doesn’t require too much math or complex explanations. Read this guide to equip yourself with the necessary knowledge and skills to make an informed decision when setting a wager.

What Are Betting Odds?

A bookmaker, or a bookie, is an individual or an organization that decides betting odds. These betting odds represent what the bookies believe is the probability of an event or event happening.

People can make bets on various occasions ranging from sports events like horse racing or football, to even politics and TV specials. It is typical to display betting odds as a fraction (2/1) or a decimal (3.0) in the UK and several European countries. However, the American way has a plus or minus sign in front of the number to represent the betting odds (+200).

For any given event, there are multiple possible outcomes. For example, in a football match, you will choose a draw, an away win, or a home win. A bookmaker will assign a value based on the winning probability for each of these outcomes.

Online betting sites like BookiesReviews are among the best platforms for helping clients choose odds with the highest chances of winning. A novice, such as yourself, or even a professional bettor can both benefit from this website and earn successfully.

What Is Probability?

Understanding betting odds means predicting probabilities or chances of a particular outcome from occurring. When you predict correctly, you win money. It’s that simple. But what exactly do we mean by probability?

Probability refers to the extent to which an event is likely to occur. If a bookie predicts an outcome to have a high probability, there is a good chance it will happen. Similarly, if a particular result has a poor probability, it is less likely to occur. This concept is crucial in betting because it’s all about playing the odds and predicting your winning chances.

UK bookmakers often represent a probability as a fraction where a forward slash separates two numbers. These are known as fractional odds. Let’s take the event of a coin toss as an example. We know there are two possible outcomes: heads or tails. The likelihood of getting tails is a one in two chance. And so we can represent this as odds of 1/1. To calculate its probability, we divide the number on the right with the sum of both numbers. In this case:

1/1 becomes 1/(1+1) = 0.50 or 50% chance of the event happening.

A few other examples are:

• 4/1 becomes 1/(4+1) = 0.20 or 20% chance of the event happening
• 9/1 becomes 1/(9+1) = 0.10 or 10% chance of the event happening
• 1/4 becomes 4/(1+4) = 0.80 0r 80% chance of the event happening

In some countries, bookies write odds in the decimal form. And while decimals may seem daunting for some people, it’s easier to calculate probability from this form of odds. Regardless of the odds value, all you have to do is divide the number 1 by the decimal odds. So, for instance, an odds of 10.00 will give a probability of 1/10 = 0.10 or a 10% chance of winning.

Other examples include:

• 1.40 becomes 1/1.40 = 0.71 or 71%
• 2.50 becomes 1/2.50 = 0.40 or 40%
• 6.00 becomes 1/6.00 = 0.167 or 16.7%

Converting Fractional Odds To Decimal Odds

Betting websites allow you to choose your preference on displaying the betting odds, so it’s unlikely you’ll ever have to convert them manually. But, if you wish to understand how to convert them, this is how you do it.

Divide the number on the left-hand side of a fraction by the one on the right-hand side, then add one. For example, a fractional odd of 6/1 becomes (6/1) + 1 = 7.00.


• 2/5 becomes (2/5) + 1 = 1.40
• 10/1 becomes (10/1) + 1 = 11.00
• 6/5 becomes (6/5) + 1 = 2.20

Reading Betting Odds

Now that you know what betting odds are and how likely you’re going to win a bet, let’s figure out how much money you can win from these odds.

First, we’ll try to read the fractional odds. Although there are several ways to understand them, the simplest is to see these fractions as how much you win vs. how much you stake. So, for example, a 10/1 odd means that if you gamble for £1, you will win £10.

Remember, this is just your profit; you will also receive your pound back. Since the first number is bigger than the second one in this example, this type of betting odds is called odds against. A few other examples include:

• 2/1 means a £2 profit for a stake of £1
• 8/3 means an £8 profit for a stake of £3
• 5/2 means a £5 profit for a stake of £2

In cases like 4/11 or 1/10, the odds appear to be the wrong way round. These betting odds are known as “Odds-On,” meaning you’ll have to stake £11 to win £4.

When you calculate the probability of both these odds, you’ll see odds-on events are more likely to happen than odds against events. Therefore, you’re more likely to see odds-on selections when a solid favorite team plays, making better chances for winning.

Next, let’s take a look at how to read decimal odds.

When it comes to decimal odds, your stake gets automatically included in your potential winnings. So, all you need to do is multiply the stake by the odds. Let’s illustrate this with some examples.

• 1.25 odds with £10 stake mean 1.25 x 10 = £12.5 returns including stake
• 11.00 odds with a £1 stake mean 11.00 x 1 = £11.0 returns including stake
• 9.0 odds with a £10 stake mean 9.0 x 10 = £90 returns including stake

The equivalent of 1/1 fractional odds in decimal form is 2.0. So, a decimal odd of 2.0 means even money, while anything less than that is an odds-on bet.


Betting may seem like easy money, but it’s essential to know what you’re doing (and the odds against you!). With this guide, you can better understand what betting odds are, how they work, and the chances of you winning them. Once you have all this knowledge under your belt, you’re ready to place bets.