The secret to successful betting is in identifying where ‘value’ odds are present, and taking advantage of these opportunities.
Understanding odds is essential, as is recognizing the different formats that exist between countries and bookmakers. In the UK fractional odds are used, European bookmakers tend to use a decimal format, while American-based betting companies have their own system.
Let’s take a look at each:
Fractions are used to depict the odds available. You will typically see numbers like 6/4 or 8/13 on your betting coupons, and where the first number of the fraction is greater than the second then this is an ‘odds against’ occurrence. Where the second number is greater, this is considered an ‘odds on’ selection; e.g. it has a greater chance of happening.
Calculating how much you will win is straightforward enough. The first half of the fraction represents profit, while the second half reveals your stake amount. So if the odds are 1/2, then you will win 0.5 of your stake as profit. If you placed a bet of 10€ on a 1/2 shot, you would win 5€ (plus get your 10€ stake back).
Now that you have an understanding of how fractional betting odds work, it is easy enough to understand how decimal odds work.
So, you will be presented with odds like 1.50 or 4.00. These work along the same lines as fractional odds, with 2.00 (or evens as it is known fractionally) the middle point where your stake returns the same amount in winnings. Anything below 2.00 is an odds on chance and anything above is considered odds against.
Working out your bets is easy enough:
Chelsea (1.33), West Ham (6.50), The Draw (2.75)
The bigger the number, the more money you win. So a 1 unit stake on Chelsea would return 0.33 as profit. A 1 unit stake on West Ham would return 5.50 profit (plus the 1.00 stake). The draw would return 1.75 profit plus your stake return.
So if we take Chelsea as our example, we would return 13.30€ in total for a 10€ stake (3.30€ profit and 10.00€ stake return).
In American betting markets they have what is known as the ‘money line’, which determines how much you will need to wager to make $100 profit (where you see a negative number), or how much profit you will make from a $100 wager (positive number).
For example, a -120 money line dictates that if you bet $120 you would win $100 (and various other relevant denominations). A +110 bet, meanwhile, would mean that you win $110 for every $100 wagered (or $11 for every $10, $5.50 for every $5 and so on).