The ultimate guide: How to read odds
Betting on football is the perfect way to boost the thrill you experience while watching the beautiful game. However, it can be a daunting process for newcomers if you do not understand how to read odds and calculate your potential payout. The best sportsbooks in the business make it as easy as possible for you, but it helps to learn how to read odds and figure out how to maximize your profits.
You will often see odds quoted as fractions, such as 2/1, 9/4 and 5/2, particularly in the UK and Ireland. The first number on the left tells you how much profit you stand if you bet the amount on the right. Odds of 2/1 tell you that you will earn a profit of £2 for every £1 you stake. If you bet £10 at odds of 2/1, you will make a £20 profit. You also get your stake back when your bet is a winner, so your return would be £30 in this instance.
If you see odds of 5/2, it means you win £5 for every £2 you stake. This means a £1 stake would earn you a profit of £2.50 and a return of £3.50, while a £10 bet would earn you a profit of £25 and a return of £35. Sometimes you will see a team priced at evens, or even money, which means 1/1. This means a £20 stake would earn you a £20 profit and a £40 return if successful.
If the odds are smaller than 1/1, it is referred to as odds-on. A price of 10/11 is an example of an odds-on market. A £10 stake would earn you a £9.10 profit and a £19.10 return if successful at these odds. You do not double your money, showing the market is odds-on.
Many punters prefer to use decimal odds and they are particularly prevalent online. Decimal odds tell you the return you stand to make on a given stake. If you see odds of 1.90, it tells you that a £10 stake would give you a return of £19. If the odds are 2.00, it tells you that a £10 stake would give you a return of £20, and a £100 stake would give you a return of £200. If you see odds of 2.50, a £10 stake would yield a return of £25 and odds of 4.75 would see you get a return of £47.50 from a £10 bet.
Decimal odds include the fact that your stake is returned if your bet wins. Fractional odds of 1/2 are equivalent to 1.50, evens is 2.00, 2/1 is 3.00, 7/2 is 3.50, 100/1 is 101.00 and so on.
American odds either start with a plus or a minus. If the price starts with a plus, it tells you how much you would earn from a £100 stake. Odds of +400 would earn you a £400 profit if you stake £100. You do not have to stake £100. You could stake £10 and make a £40 profit, or you could stake £5 and make a £20 profit. Odds of +100 are equivalent to evens (1/1) and 2.00. Odds of +200 are equivalent to 2/1 and 3.00, while odds of +250 are equivalent to 5/2 and 3.50.
If the price starts with a minus, it tells you how much you need to stake in order to win £100. Odds of -120 tell you that you need to bet £120 in order to make a £100 profit. Odds of -250 tell you that you need to stake £250 in order to make a £100 profit. Odds of -250 are equivalent to 2/5 and 1.40. If a set of odds starts with a minus, it is odds-on.
Finding the Best Odds
Different bookmakers offer different odds on the same market, so you should always shop around for the most attractive prices. You can use an odds comparison service to see which bookmaker has the greatest set of odds on a particular market. For example, Bookmaker A might have 2/1 (3.00) on Arsenal beating Man Utd, while Bookmaker B might have 9/4 (3.25). You would choose Bookmaker B as you stand to make a greater profit if your bet is successful.