How to Understand Odds in Sports Betting?

Feb 9th, 2024 11:21am / Last edit Feb 19th, 2024 06:51pm

One of the vital components of sports betting is odds. They can promise you higher rewards, make your predictions more successful, and add more excitement to your sessions. If you seek a better understanding of the odds, you are in the right place. In the article prepared by our professional editorial team, we can provide you with some basics of the odds.

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What Are Bookmakers Odds?

What Are Bookmakers Odds

Many famous and popular bookmakers offer various coefficients on sporting tournaments and competitions. They can be lower or higher, and that depends on many aspects. First of all, every bookmaker makes an analysis of a particular event, taking into account such parameters as statistics of previous matches, players’ shape, and others.

Punters cannot influence the chances in a way that they can only choose. But it is also possible to compare different bookies and see what they offer for the exact same match. Moreover, there is a way to increase the odds if you build more complicated predictions. Such options as accumulator or chain bets promise bigger odds. Experienced bettors always use this trick skillfully because it has its benefits and drawbacks, such as high risks.

How Do Coefficients Work?

So, how do you understand the odds in betting? Coefficients reflect the chances for particular outcomes a bookmaker places. They can be expressed differently because various countries prefer to calculate them in separate mathematical systems. So, if you choose a game, the first thing you need to do is to observe the coefficients offered on the game you wish to place your lucky predictions on. Once you make a choice, the bookmaker platform will show you the probability of the winnings. 

What is Probability?

What is Probability

The higher the odds, the less the probability of this outcome or event happening. So, if you notice that some bookmakers offer lower coefficients for some events, you should know that the chances of this event happening are very high. Bookmakers calculate the chances for various outcomes, and experts analyze the game or a tournament and appoint their prognosis. Then, bookmakers add a bit of a service fee to the chances, and that is how the final coefficients are formed.

Three Coefficients Types

The prevailing number of eminent bookmakers uses three types of odds. It also allows bettors to choose any type they like and change it for convenience. They all have their differences and similarities. However, it is vital to understand the benefits and drawbacks of each of them to make a good choice. In the following parts of our article, you will learn how to read betting chances. We will describe every type and show how it works with examples.

Explaining Sports Betting Odds: American Coefficients

Explaining Sports Betting Odds: American Coefficients

One of the most widespread types of odds punters prefer to use is American. However, they are the most complicated to understand. One of the specifics of the American odds is that they can be positive and negative. It makes the whole betting process a lot easier because you can clearly see who the favorite is in this game.

Spoiler: Another name for American odds is Moneyline.

Calculation of Winnings Based on American Odds

The calculation here is not that tricky. If you see a plus before the number, it reflects the profit you can get if your bet wins. And it also works the opposite way if you see a minus in front of the number. You can lose this sum if your bet fails. However, the minus sign always means a favorite of the game based on the bookmaker’s analysis. All the underdogs and other not-very-popular choices are marked with pluses.

Therefore, to estimate your winning chances, punters can use some of the integrated calculators. Every bookmaker has this technology that can automatically show you the results of how much you can win.

Example Observation

To show you more clearly, let’s hypothetically consider teams A and B. The first one has +115, which means it is the underdog, and the second one has -125, which tells us that it is the favorite of this match.

The basics of American odds is a 100. The coefficient with the minus shows you how much you would bet to win a 100. The plus shows you the wager size that equals this 100 bet. We need to stake 125 to receive a 100% win if we bet on the favorite team B.

Calculating Implied Probability with American Odds

Let’s stick with the probability. Based on our current example, we can understand that to earn 100 with the underdog team, we need to bet 100. However, with the stronger B team, you need to stake 125 to win 225.

Explaining Sports Betting Odds: Decimal Coefficients

Another excellent odds type is decimal coefficients, which are also known as European. As you can guess from the name, they are also popular in Australia. Many punters find them very convenient because it is easier to calculate your winnings. This type of odds is the most preferred among the bettors who only start placing sports predictions.

How to Calculate Sports Betting Odds with Decimal Coefficients

Decimal odds are easy to calculate. You need to multiply your bet amount by the decimal odds to see the potential maximum win. The calculations are pretty easy here, and that is one of the reasons many punters prefer this type of chances.

Example Observation

Here, you can calculate the percentage of wins if you need to take 100 and divide it by the odds rate. The result will be the percentage the bookmaker provides for a match. For example, if team A has 1,52 odds for a win, it means that the bookmaker gives this team victory a 66% prediction.

Explaining Sports Betting Odds: Fractional Odds

Explaining Sports Betting Odds: Fractional Odds

The last type is extremely popular in the UK. It is close to decimal odds but has its specifics. First of all, you can notice that they look different. You can meet these odds mainly on many UK betting websites. However, any reputable online bookmaker can offer you various types of coefficients, including fractional odds.

How to Calculate Odds in Sports Betting with Fractional Coefficients

The main principle is based on the ratio between the amount of the stake and how much you can win. So, if you have fractional chances of 2/11 for a team to win, it means that you need to bet 11 to win. It all looks simple but can be clearer if we show it using an example.

Example Observation

Let’s choose between the two teams that promise us some fractional odds for various match outcomes. If we take the classic 1×2 market, we can get the following coefficients: 3/5 for team A, ⅔ for team B, and ⅓ for a draw. The fractionals show you how much you need to bet to receive the profit. So, it can be 5 or 3 depending on the choice, and you will receive 1 or 3 of pure profit.

How to Calculate +/- Odds?

How to Calculate +/- Odds

If we return to American odds, the interesting question here is how you can understand the odds calculation here. Positive coefficients are usually given to the underdogs.

Formula with Positive Odds

If you prefer to bet on the odds that have a plus sign, it means that you are betting on the underdog to win, and when you bet on the potential winner based on the bookmaker’s analysis, the odds will be with a minus sign.

Example Observation

To help you get it better, let’s observe an example. With such chances, punters can usually make a prediction on a winner. The choice stands between the plus and minus signs only. For example, you see that your favorite team has -350, and you plan to bet on it this time to win maximum. Therefore, you should bet this exact number to win a 100.

What is the Difference between Negative Odds?

The negative or minus sign odds reflect the prevailing and the strongest team or a player, depending on the game type, that should win, according to the bookmaker’s analysis. They also point out the possibility of some outcomes to happen. They usually state that this particular event has fewer chances of happening rather than not.

What is Push?

A push is a situation when the outcome determined by the bookmaker is a total match with the real result. It is a rare case. However, it can happen. Such situations can be considered a draw because you do not win or lose the same as the bookmaker. It means that your betted money will be returned to your balance.

Are Higher or Lower Odds Better?

You should read sports betting odds to know which outcome is more profitable. The higher odds in decimal and fractional types are better. Punters can receive bigger winnings if they make a stake in the events where a bookmaker offers these high coefficients. However, be prepared that higher chances can indicate increased risks. It means that the probability of this event to happen is extremely low.

Lower chances usually mean that the probability of the outcome is higher and can happen in about 90% of cases. So be prepared for these aspects when you study odds in betting.

Comparing Sports Betting Coefficients

Comparing Sports Betting Coefficients

How do you choose odds in betting? Different bookmakers make their own analysis of all the games and, based on the results, offer the odds of various types. Different betting platforms offer various coefficients on the same events because of several reasons.

One of them is the percentage margin every bookmaker takes. The more it takes, the lower the coefficient, and the higher the chances, the lower the margin the bookie receives. This tool serves to keep the bookmaker’s profit regardless of the match outcome.

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Choose famous and popular bookmakers and see what odds are the best. They usually offer highly competitive coefficients on many major events. Therefore, Kenyan bettors have many gambling platforms to try.

More About Sports Betting

Sports betting is a highly competitive sphere, so bet using odds wisely. Many eminent bookmakers gained the majority of fans’ attention. For instance, 1xBet is famous for the high odds it offers in many major tournaments. Since it is one of the most vital components of successful betting, players strive to seek bigger chances to win when they place singles. To learn more about the process, check out our How to Bet article via a link.



Summing up the facts and information we provided in the article, it is evident that coefficients are formed based on various factors. It can be challenging to understand how bookmakers establish the odds, but it is vital to understand how they work and which types punters can choose.

One thing you should know is that every reputable betting platform offers a choice of bet odds. Punters can select the type and observe all coefficients as they please. Also, if you think you understand how to increase the chances by placing more complicated stakes, then you have more chances to win bigger monetary prizes.


Which sports have fixed odds?
Usually, bookmakers have them on some major US games and tournaments.
What do betting odds mean?
The odds mean the probability of the outcome and the amount a player should place to win the 100%.
What happens if you bet on negative odds?
The number behind the negative sign shows how much you need to bet to win the next 100.
Can you lose money on a winning bet?
It mainly depends on the chances and the game outcome. There are cases when the bookmaker’s odds and the match result are even. In that case, the bet is winning, but you can only return your staked amount.

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