How to Read Sports Betting Odds

How to Read Betting Odds
How to Read Sports Betting Odds: Everything You Need To Know To Read Betting Odds

So, you’ve entered the world of sports betting and finally started to see why millions around the world are doing it. You are now feeling the energy in the air while betting on your favourite team. There’s one tiny problem, though. You might be feeling overwhelmed by understanding the betting odds.

Don’t worry. You’ve come to the right place because Mister Betting are here to help. By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll be an expert in reading betting odds. You will learn exactly how to read the sports betting odds and how you can find the best price. Plus, we will give you some useful tips that can boost your betting experience and win you a lot of money.

Let’s begin our journey into the exciting world of sports betting and turn those confusing odds into your new best friends.

Betting Odds Explained

Sports betting is more than just placing a bet on your favourite team. It’s like a thrilling roller-coaster ride, where the highs are exhilarating, and the lows make you eager for the next high. But to enjoy this ride and make the most of your bets, you need to understand the language of sports betting: the odds.

How Do Betting Odds Work

Imagine betting odds as the numbers that tell us about the likelihood of an event in a game and how much money you could make from a bet.

This likelihood is also known as the ‘implied probability’. Now you might be wondering why it is so important to understand the implied probability. It’s simple. You should place a bet only when you believe that something is more likely to happen than what the odds suggest.

We know that you might be feeling confused, so here’s an example to make things clearer. 

Let’s say there’s an NFL game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles. The Chiefs have odds of -130 to cover the betting line of -4.5 points, which translates to an implied probability of 56.5%. After thorough research, you conclude that the Chiefs have a 62% chance to cover the -4.5 points betting line. Because 62% is greater than 56.5%, you’ve identified a ‘value bet’, and it’s a smart decision to bet on the Chiefs.

But suppose your research suggested that the Chiefs only have a 50% chance to cover the betting line. Here, the implied probability of the odds is higher than your calculated probability. This isn’t a value bet, so betting on the Chiefs is not a smart decision.

So, betting odds are more than just numbers. They’re a way to calculate how much you could win from a bet. For example, if the odds are +500, for every $1 you bet, you could win $5. This scenario has a 20% chance of occurring.

Types Of Odds

When you first look at betting odds, it’s easy to be confused by the numbers and symbols. So, let’s break them down to understand them better.

There are three types of odds – American, Decimal and Fractional.

These odds are used to:

  • Show the chance of the outcome happening. 
  • Tell you the amount of money you could get if you bet on this outcome and win.

The American Way: Moneyline Odds

American odds, or Moneyline odds, show you how much you need to bet to win a certain amount or how much you could win from a specific bet. The odds are based on a $100 bet and can be positive or negative. The “+” and “-” in sports betting give you key information about potential winnings and who the favoured team is.

If there’s a “-” before the number, that team is the favourite. The number shows how much money you need to bet to profit $100.

A “+” before the number means that the team is the underdog. In this case, the number tells you how much you will earn if you place a $100 bet and it wins.

For example, odds of +200 mean that if you bet $100, you could win $200. If the odds are -200, you would need to bet $200 to win $100. 

How to Read American Odds

Understanding American odds is straightforward with this simple formula:

Potential Profit = (Bet Amount x Odds) / 100

So, if you place a £60 bet on a +200 underdog and they pull off the win, your potential earnings would look like this:

Potential Profit = (£60 x 200) / 100 = £120

Now, suppose the odds show a -200 favourite. In this scenario, you’d need to put down £200 to achieve a total return of £300. This total includes your initial £200 bet and an added profit of £100.

Fractional Odds Explained  

The British love their fractions, and they use them in betting odds too! These odds look just like fractions. For example, odds of 5/1 mean that you could win $5 for every $1 you bet. It’s that simple!

They represent the potential return on your stake. Fractions help you determine whether a bet offers good value or not.

Understanding how to read fractions is crucial for your betting game. So, how do you read fractional odds?

How To Read Fractional Odds

Understanding how to calculate your potential winnings using fractions is a crucial skill in the world of sports betting.

Here’s how you do it:

To determine your total payout using fractional odds, use this formula:

((Stake / denominator) x numerator) + stake = total payout

Sounds more difficult than it actually is. Let’s illustrate this with an example to make things easier. Suppose you place a bet of £20 on odds of 5/2.

Here’s how your calculation would unfold:

((£20 / 2) x 5) + £20 = £70

In this case, if your bet turns out to be successful, you will receive a total of £70. This sum includes your original stake of £20 and winnings of £50.

Decimal Odds Explained

Europe, Canada, and Australia prefer their odds in decimals. Decimals are the preferred odds format as they are easier to understand. With decimals, the need for mathematical calculations is removed, making it easier for bettors to compare odds.

If the decimal odds are 3.00, your $ 100 bet would return $300. This figure includes your original bet, which makes it easy to understand how much you could win.

How To Read Decimal Odds

Decimal betting odds have earned their place as a popular choice among punters for their simplicity and ease of understanding. The larger the decimal number, the higher your potential return. That’s it!

To calculate your potential winnings with decimal odds, you can use this formula:

Potential Winnings = Stake x Odds

Let’s put this into practice with a practical example. If you place a bet of £15 at odds of 2.50, you can calculate your potential total payout like so:

£15 x 2.50 = £37.50

In this case, if your bet is successful, you’ll receive a total of £37.50. This total includes your initial stake of £15 and your winnings of £22.50.

Betting on the Total Score: Over/Under Betting

We already mentioned the three main odds and how to read them but our guide won’t be complete if we don’t mention over/under betting.

In over/under betting, you don’t bet on who will win. Instead, you bet on whether the total points scored in the game will be over or under a certain number. This way, you can win your bet even if your team doesn’t!

Let’s make this crystal clear with an example. Imagine a basketball game between the Lakers and the Bulls. The bookmakers set the Over/Under score at 205.5 points as the final score for the game. Your task? You have to predict whether the total points scored by both teams combined will be over or under that score.

Now, you decide to bet on ‘over.’ If the Lakers and Bulls put on an offensive show and score a combined total of 206 points or more, you win the bet. Simple, isn’t it?

How To Read Point Spreads Odds

Point spreads, another popular form of sports betting, tend to be a bit more challenging to understand than Over/Under bets. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize they add an interesting twist to sports betting.

Suppose we have an NBA showdown between the Miami Heat and the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets are favoured to win the game, and the point spread is set at 6 points.

If you bet on the Nets, they need to win the game by more than 6 points for you to win the bet. 

If you bet on the Heat, they need to either win the game outright or lose by less than 6 points for your bet to be successful.

Sometimes, the favourite team wins exactly by the spread. Using the previous example, imagine the Nets win by exactly 6 points. This scenario is known as a ‘push,’ and all bets are refunded. It’s like hitting the reset button on a game of betting.

To make the ‘push’ scenario impossible, bookmakers often set half-point spreads, such as 6.5 points. This way, the outcome will always be clear, as teams can’t score half a point in basketball.

When the point spread is small, it might be a good idea to consider money line bets. Why? Because a small spread usually means that there’s no significant underdog. This makes predicting the outright winner a less risky move than betting on the spread.

How are betting odds calculated?

You can consider yourself an expert in sports betting once you learn to read odds. But to be a real pro, you have to learn how the sports odds are calculated.

Calculating the odds is more like creating a masterpiece than a mathematical puzzle. It’s all about the rules, a little guesswork, and a whole lot of understanding of the game.

Let’s first start by saying that the odds are set by the bookmaker. Imagine you’re planning to bet on an NFL sporting event between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Miami Dolphins. The bookie starts by deciding how good each team is compared to an average team. They give every team a rating based on this.

Let’s say they think the Eagles are seven points better than an average team and the Dolphins are three points worse. So, they set the odds that the Dolphins have the chance to win the game. They also take into account where the game is being played. This might lead to a starting betting line of Eagles -10.

Setting the odds is the easiest part and just the beginning. Now, the sportsbook start to think about other things that could affect the game. A big one is injuries. If the Eagles’ top player is out with an injury, the betting line might move up to a full touchdown. If the Dolphins are missing several starters on defence, that could also affect the betting line.

Professional bettors also have a big impact. If a bunch of sharp bettors are betting on the Dolphins, the sportsbooks might think they’ve got the line wrong and change it.

Other things that can affect the betting line include:

  • How far do the teams have to travel for the game;
  • Upcoming Fixtures;
  • The number of games played;
  • The weather.

The betting line can change right up until the game starts. So, if you can place your bet before the line moves, you’ve got a better chance of winning. It might not always work out in a single game, but if you keep at it, you should come out ahead in the long run!

How to Use Betting Odds To Your Advantage

Understanding betting odds is just the starting point. To make successful bets, you need to use this knowledge wisely. Here are some tips you can use in order to win more.

Research is Your Best Friend

Yes, we know. It’s boring, and no one wants to do the good old research. But understand this. Without proper research, you are doomed to failure. 

Before placing a bet, spend some time researching the teams, the players, and their recent performances. Looking at past data can reveal trends and patterns that can help you make an informed bet. 

Just take 10 minutes, and it will make a huge difference in your game.

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

Just like in investing, it’s a good idea to diversify your bets. Spread your bets across different games and different bet types. that way, you will not only manage your risk but you’ll increase your chances of winning.

Keep Your Emotions in Check

When it comes to betting, your heart can sometimes lead you astray. Just because a team is your favourite doesn’t mean they’re the best bet. Successful betting requires rational decision-making, not emotional decisions.

Practice Makes Perfect

The more you bet, the more you’ll understand about betting odds and how to use them to your advantage. Use different odds converters to convert from American to decimal odds and vice versa.

Over time, you’ll get better at making predictions and placing successful bets.


Understanding sports betting odds might seem challenging at first, but it’s not as complicated as it looks. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll find that it adds a whole new dimension to watching sports. You’ll not just be a fan but also an informed bettor who can make the most of your sports knowledge. We tested and created the best sportsbook reviews and make a slection of betting sites with best odds.


What are betting odds?

Betting odds are numbers that tell you the likelihood of an event happening in a sports game and how much you can win from a bet.

What’s the difference between American, Fractional, and Decimal odds?

American odds are based on a £100 bet, fractional odds are represented as fractions, and decimal odds show you your potential winnings, including your original bet.

What are the favourite and the underdog in sports betting?

The favourite is the team or player expected to win a game, while the underdog is expected to lose.

What is over/under betting?

In over/under betting, you bet on whether the total points scored in a game will be over or under a certain number.

Top Rated Bookies








Vegas Mobile Casino


Betting Sites Not on GamStop
© Copyright 2024 - 100% Safe Betting Sites | All rights reserved | Supported By Skynet.Media