How to Understand Betting Odds and Improve Your Betting Strategy
It doesn’t matter which sport you are betting on, you will need to understand how betting odds work or you won’t have an idea of how much money you could win.
Some people find everything about betting odds to be complicated, but there really is no need because it is all very straightforward, not to mention great fun as you can then easily work out how much money you could end up winning if all of your selections are correct.
If you are interested to find out even more about bookies odds, you will come across what is known as ‘value,’ and this is what many professional punters use to decide whether they should place a bet or not.
The way that value works is that a punter will calculate what they think the bookies’ odds of a selection should be and then compare their odds with the bookie’s odds.
If their odds are shorter than the bookie’s odds, it will be classed as a value bet, i.e., the sportsbook is offering generous odds, so the train of thought is that if a punter places bets of value over a period of time they will end up in profit.
Anyway, let’s take a look at how to understand betting odds and how you can profit from them.
Betting odds basically sum up the bookie’s opinion of the probability of an event happening, if they think that an event is unlikely to happen, the odds will be larger than those odds of an event that is unlikely to happen.
That is the theory behind betting odds so let’s take a look at the different types of odds that you are likely to come across.
Betting Odds in Fractions
If you have spent your formative years placing bets in the high street bookies up and down the UK, you will be more than familiar with fractional odds.
Just in case you are not familiar with fractional odds, it might be a good idea if we look at an example in the case of a Premier League football match between Manchester City and Cardiff City.
Manchester City are in a completely different class at the moment whilst Cardiff City are wondering where their next win will come from so that is reflected in the bookies’ odds for this match.
The odds on Manchester City are 2/5 (massive favourites), the draw is 5/1, and the bookies’ odds on Cardiff are a massive 12/1.
If you put a £10 bet on Cardiff to win and they obliged, your return would be 12 x £10 plus your £10 stake so a total return of £130 which would be a profit of £120.
If you placed a £10 bet on the draw your return would be 5 x £10 plus your £10 stake which would result in a total return of £60 which would be a profit of £50.
If Manchester City win, the calculation looks a little trickier to work out at first sight, but it really is very simple.
For Manchester City’s odds of 2/5, all you have to do is divide 2 by 5 which equals 0.4.
All you then need to do is multiply that figure, 0.4 by your stake which is £10 so if Manchester City win, the match you will see a profit of £4.
Betting Odds in Decimals
When you log into your sportsbook of choice there will be an option of which format to use in terms of the type of betting odds and whilst some punters prefer their odds in fractions, others would much rather use decimal odds so let’s take a close look at how decimal odds work.
The best way to describe decimal odds is to use the same example that we used earlier, a premiership football match between Manchester City and Cardiff.
The odds-on Manchester City are 1.40 (massive favourites), the draw is 6.0, and the bookies’ odds on Cardiff are a massive 13.0.
The returns are exactly the same as with fractional odds, and as you can see, both types of odds are extremely straightforward.
Why Bookmakers Odds Change
If you have been placing bets for any length of time, you will have experienced odds changing during the build-up to the event.
This happens with all sporting events but is especially noticeable when betting on horse racing because it is not unusual for the bookies’ odds on a fancied horse to literally halve before the race even starts.
The reason that betting sites odds will shorten on a selection is that of the weight of money that has been bet on that particular selection.
Again, another example will explain this point perfectly.
Let’s say that a horse called ‘Lightning Flash’ is running in the 2.30 race at Ascot and the bookies odds for this horse is 6/1.
On the morning of the race, connections to ‘Lightning Flash’ start to place large bets on the horse because it has been performing well in training and has been specially prepared for this race.
These bets don’t go unnoticed by the bookies, and they realise that their liability on this hose is getting larger than they would like so they shorten the odds to 4/1.
The reduction in price doesn’t stop punters from piling in, so the bookies’ odds are reduced even further down to 2/1.
As you can see from this example, the reason why odds on any selections get smaller is that of the weight of money that is placed on it.
If the odds of a selection start to lengthen it is usually because the selection is not fancied and the bookies’ odds are increased in an attempt by the betting operators to attract punters to bet on it.
It should be mentioned that some punters, especially in the horse racing markets and in the greyhound betting markets, solely place their bets by concentrating on horses and dogs whose odds are reducing in the belief that they must be fancied by their connections.
Differences with Bookies Odds
We will talk at length about the differences between bookies odds another time, but you will usually find that odds vary between bookies depending on the amount on money which they have taken on different selections.
Strong sportsbooks such as Bet365 are not afraid to change their odds depending on the weight of money, so this opens up arbitrage opportunities whereby bets can be placed which takes advantage of the odds differences between sportsbooks.
The lesson to be learnt from this is that it is worth your while to look at the different bookies’ odds which are on offer for any selections that you are going to place a bet on.
Many punters just can’t be bothered to take these extra steps and accept the odds that are offered to them by their favourite sportsbook instead of looking around at other sportsbooks but if you are placing £10 bet on a selection which is 5/1 with your usual sportsbook but it is available elsewhere at 10/1, it is not exactly rocket science as to what odds you should place you bet at.
How to Work out Accumulator Bet Odds
Some people may think that working out accumulator bets is a little bit on the complicated side but there are calculators online which mean that working out accumulator bets is very easy. Working out accumulator bets is actually very exciting because the returns if a bet of this type of bet is successful, will quite literally take your breath away because of the profit potential.
Let’s take a look at a £10 four selection accumulator, and for simplicities sake, each selection has odds of 4/1. The way the accumulator is calculated is as follows.
£10 goes on the first selection at odds of 4/1 so if this wins the stake on the second selection will be £50 (£40 profit plus £10 stake)
£50 on the second selection will return £250 (£200 profit plus £50 stake)
This means that £250 goes onto the third selection which if successful will mean that £1250 will go on the fourth and final selection (£1000 profit and £250 stake)
£1250 on the last selection will mean that if it wins, the accumulator will pay out a total of £6250 so as you can see, that amount is not to be sniffed at from a £10 stake, so it is of little wonder why accumulator bets are so very successful with punters.
If you have ever wondered how to work out accumulator bet odds on one of the most popular types of accumulator bet, the Yankee, there is a very easy way to calculate these kinds of bets.
A Yankee consists of eleven bets which consist of six doubles, four trebles, and one fourfold accumulator.
We will use an example similar to the accumulator bet that we spoke about earlier and say that all of the selections in the Yankee have odds of 4/1.
All you need to do is add 2 to each selection and multiply them.
So, in the case of our example, the calculation will be 6 x 6 x 6 x 6 and then subtract 1 from the final figure so that is 1296 – 1 = 1295
Then, multiply that figure by your stake so if you have places a 10p Yankee at a total cost of £1.10 you will see a return of, £129.50.
Not bad at all, don’t you agree.
Take Advantage of the Best Bookmakers Odds with the Top Bookies
You will often find that some of the smaller sportsbooks and those sportsbooks which are just jumping on the bandwagon just toe the line in terms of the bookies odds which they offer. Instead of setting up their own odds they simply scan the other sportsbooks and copy the odds that they offer.
This is common practice but by using these sportsbooks you will rarely be able to take advantage of higher bookies odds because they usually air on the side of caution and offer the lower end of the range of odds that are on offer.
However, if you opt to do business with the larger sportsbooks such as Bet365, William Hill and Paddy Power you will see that if they have an opinion, they will reflect this opinion in the odds that they offer.
This is what being bookie is all about and you will end up making much more money from your betting activities if you choose bookmakers like these as opposed to those sportsbooks which are renowned for offering lower odds.
Read More Detailed Betting Guides:
- Kelly Criterion
- Betting Exchange in the UK
- Expected Value
- Over/Under Betting
- Monty Hall Problem
- Confirmation Bias
- Moneyline Bet
- Parlay Betting
- Staking Plans
- Arbitrage Betting
- Asian Handicap Betting
- Each Way Betting
- Spread Betting
- Pari Mutuel Guide
Easy Odds and How to Get Them
Before you decide on which sportsbook you are going to place a particular bet on it is always worth taking a look at the odds which are on offer from your favourite betting exchange.
You will often find that these easy odds are usually bigger than those on offer at the sportsbooks, but you have to take into consideration that when you place a bet at a betting exchange, there will be a commission charge to pay.
The commission charge at Betfair will be different depending on what level commission you on, but you will need to take this charge into account because it can mean that the value will swing back to placing a bet with the sportsbook instead of the exchange.
When it comes to understanding betting odds, as you can see, they are not particularly difficult to understand, and once you know how to work out betting odds, it should mean that your future online betting experiences will be more profitable and exciting as they might otherwise have been.
You will no longer have to even think about how do horse betting odds work because it will just come naturally to you and you will be able to instantly tell if a selection is worth getting involved with or not.