Everything You Need to Know About Betting Odds [and More]


When betting, the most important thing you need to understand is the odds. If you want to try your luck at betting, but you have no experience in the field, you can easily read about what betting odds are and how they work. In this article, we took the time to write out betting odds explained in a detailed, yet simple way. We also provide answers to some of the biggest questions inexperienced people ask! 

What Are Betting Odds?

Odds represent the chances of something happening. Betting odds are posted by bookmakers and determine the chances of winning a bet, as well as how much money you receive if you win. Betting odds can be applied to all types of sports – football, basketball, horse racing, golf – as well as to politics and other world events.  

So, what do betting odds mean?

If you’re new to the world of betting, the concept of odds may seem intimidating; once you get the hang of it, you’ll see that it’s nothing too complicated! The first thing you need to remember about betting odds is that they’re counter-intuitivelow odds signify that the bet is likely to be successful, while high odds imply that the bet is unlikely to win

When you place a bet, you can choose between two teams: the team that’s expected to win is referred to as the favourite, while the team that’s expected to lose is the underdog. Understanding betting odds means that you must also know the different types of odds – but don’t be alarmed just yet. These are merely different ways of presenting the same possible outcome and there are no differences in terms of possible payouts. You can also place an each-way bet – you can read more about how each-way betting works here.

Odds can be represented as a fraction (fractional odds), or a decimal (decimal odds). There’s also another way of presenting odds – the Moneyline or American way, where numbers have a plus or a minus sign in front of them. 

DID YOU KNOW? The United Kingdom is the world leader in sports betting. The industry turns a 20 billion euros profit yearly!

How Do Betting Odds Work?

Before you place your first bet, you need to understand exactly how betting odds work so you can be aware of the objective chances of winning. That’s exactly why we decided to explain, in detail, the two most common ways of displaying odds. 

Fractional Odds

Fractional odds, also known as British odds or traditional odds, are a popular way of displaying betting odds among Irish and British bookies. These odds are written with a slash (/), or hyphen (-), for example, 5/1 or 5-1, and they’re pronounced as five-to-one

How exactly do odds work in betting? Keep in mind that with fractional odds, never forget the amount you initially wagered! This is best illustrated with an example – if the odds were listed as 5/1, it means that you would win £5 for every £1 you’ve bet, plus the initial bet amount. If you bet only £1 at 5/1 odds, the total payout would amount to £6 – if you were wondering how much will my bet win, that’s your answer. The number depicted on the left side of the fraction, in our example 5, is the amount you’ll win if you bet the amount shown on the right side – 1 in the example. These odds tell you how much you stand to win in relation to your stake. 

Another important thing to note about fractional odds – they must always be whole numbers. If potential winnings aren’t divisible by the number 1, the numbers will increase to the closest value that can be easily divided.  If you’re thinking about how to work out a bet when the odds amount to something like 4.5/1 – you don’t! The numbers increase in value; what used to be 4.5/1 will be represented as 9/2.

In some cases the odds are not as straightforward, so they are not always in your favour. 

  • Odds-on – If you hear this expression, you should be aware that for each unit you bet, you’ll receive less than one unit back as winnings. So, if you want betting odds explained at 8/13 (eight-to thirteen), you’ll have to bet £13 for every £8 you want to win. In these cases, the stake is higher than the potential payout, which results in smaller winnings. 
  • Even odds – In case you see something like 1/1, it means that the odds are equal to the stake, meaning you’ll receive a payout in the same amount as the bet you’ve placed. This is often referred to as evens or even odds

If you want to have betting odds explained in the UK, you’ll only be explained fractional odds – this is the most popular type of displaying odds in Britain (and other parts of Europe) along with horse racing.

DID YOU KNOW? 78% of the adult population in the UK engages in some form of gambling, including those who participate in the national lottery. Without counting lottery players, the number drops down to 56% – people enjoy other lottery games, scratch cards, slots, and bets on horse racing

Decimal Odds

Even if you understand fractional odds, you may have wondered at some point how to understand betting odds if they’re expressed as decimal numbers. There’s no need for concern since these odds are generally considered to be easier to understand and play with. 

Decimal odds have several other names – they are referred to as European odds, continental odds, or digital odds, and are popular in Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Breaking down some betting odds explained, the number displayed represents the amount the victor wins for each £1 wagered. The decimal number represents the total payout, including the initial stake, not just the profits from the bet; this is exactly why this odds system is considered easier to work with.

‘But how do I work out my bet with decimals?’ The first thing to remember is that the underdog is always the higher number, while the favourite has the lower. After gaining this knowledge, the only thing you need to do is multiply the decimal numbers listed as odds by the amount of your stake; the number you get is the total amount of your potential winnings.

For example, if you have 5.0 decimal odds (that’s 4/1 in fractions) and you stake £1, you’ll receive £5 in winnings (5×1=5) You still have a profit of £4, but the odds express the total payout sum. In case you were wondering how to calculate betting odds, this is the way – quick and simple. 

DID YOU KNOW? Christmas Eve is the most popular day for bet-placing in the UK. The most common bet is whether or not it’ll be a White Christmas

Key Takeaways

Betting odds determine the chance of winning a bet and are posited by bookmakers.
The two most encountered types of odds are fractional and decimal.
Fractional odds display how much you are bound to win in relation to the initial stake.
Decimal odds represent the total amount of potential winnings, including the initial stake.
Fractional odds can be easily converted into decimal odds, which are generally considered simpler.

Betting Fractions to Decimals

Once you learn what betting odds are and how they work, and you can differentiate between fractional and decimal odds, then you can also try to convert the odds written in one system into another. Although there are numerous online tools available that can make the conversion for you (some betting sites let you choose the type of odds you want to be displayed) the process is simple. With practice, you can easily do it yourself.

How Do Betting Odds Work in the UK, and How to Convert Them

In the UK, you will encounter fractional odds, as they are the traditional way of presenting betting odds. However, the decimal odds system is becoming increasingly popular around the world, and many people are making the shift from fractions to decimals

If you are accustomed to fractional odds, it’s a good idea to learn how to convert fractions to decimals since they are everywhere. As we’ve already stated, the decimal odds consider the stake and include it in the final sum, so make sure you don’t forget that when converting. 

How Do Betting Odds Work When Converted?

The conversion process is best illustrated with an example, so we decided to convert the fractional odds 9/1 into decimal odds so you can see first-hand how the process goes. 

  • Division – The first thing you need to do is divide the fractional number on the left  (9) with the number on the right side (1).
    • 9 ÷ 1 = 9
  • Addition – Then you need to take the result from the division (9) and add the number that accounts for the stake (1).
    • 9 + 1 = 10
  • End result – The number you get from adding (10) is the value of the decimal odd (10.00).

To sum up, the decimal odd is equal to the decimal value of the fractional odd + one (1).

DID YOU KNOW? Men gamble more than women – 75% of men are gambling in opposition to 71% of women. However, women are more successful and they have 5% more in winnings for every bet placed.

How to Read Betting Odds

To bet successfully, you need to understand the odds and how to read them to make an informed decision about your bet placement. If you read the odds correctly, you can calculate potential winnings and see if your bet makes sense. It’s also important to remember that odds don’t change – regardless of the amount you bet, the percentage of possible winnings remains the same.

Since the two most popular types of odds are fractional and decimal, we will go into detail and explain how to correctly read them. 

How Odds Are Calculated in Betting

  • Fractional odds – The easiest way to explain fractional odds is how much you win/how much you stake. If you see something like 7/2, this means if you bet £2, you will win £7 and receive your initial bet of £2 – the total payout will amount to £9. These are known as odds-against.  If you see the odds in the other way around, like 2/7, you’ll be facing odds-on. In this case, you would have to bet £7 in order to win £2 – these odds appear when there’s an obvious favourite for the win. 
  • Decimal odds – These odds are easier to understand for the inexperienced. If you’re wondering, for example, how do odds work in football – it’s fairly simple. If the odds for a given game are 4.5 and you want to bet £10, the only thing you need to do is multiply 4.5×10 to see that the potential winnings amount to £45. With decimal odds, the stake is included in the calculated payout and you don’t have to add it after – and you can never see odds lower than 1.00!

Even though the outcome of a bet is sometimes influenced by luck or chance, if you understand how betting odds work overall, it is probable that you will make a sound decision and increase your chances of winning!

DID YOU KNOW? The majority of gamblers are quite youngthose between 25 to 34 are most likely to gamble, with 40% of people in this age group partaking on a regular basis.


Betting can be intricate and complex, so that’s why it’s important to understand all types of odds. You can bet on various things, but make sure that you have sports betting odds explained and understand it’s one of the most popular betting sectors. Once you can remember all of these things, you can begin betting with a good chance of winning! 

Disclaimer: Enjoy betting, but always practice betting responsibly.


What does a 20 to 1 odds mean?

Understanding 20 to 1 betting odds is simple – these odds signify that you will win £20 for each £1 you wager.

What do odds of +200 mean?

Odds that have a + sign in front of them are known as Moneyline or American odds; odds of +200 mean that you will make a profit of £200 for each £100 you bet. This is the equivalent of ½ in fractional odds and 1.5 in decimal

What does +500 mean in betting odds?

Odds of +500 signify that you will win £500 for each £100 you’ve wagered on a game.

What does 1.5 odds mean in betting?

If you want 1.5 betting odds explained, this simplest way would be with an example –  if you stake £1 you will receive a total payout of £1.5.

18+ Gambling



Alex is an IT wizz gone SEO gone fire-juggler. We’re not even joking. When he isn’t researching why one personal loan is better than the other and which piece of hardware you should buy next, he’s rollerblading or selling homes (because he does that, too, the smarty-pants).

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