Change your location

{{ c.title }}

Betting odds explained | A guide for beginners [2024]

Classic and online betting revolves around odds, which reflect the balance between the risk and reward. In this guide, we have the betting odds explained and teach you how do sports lines work.

Keep reading to learn how are sports odds calculated and have other betting numbers explained before placing the first wagers on sports. Understanding gambling odds is the first and most important step to succeed in the highly competitive sports betting industry.

Top Bookmakers with the Best Odds in 16 June 2024 – Updated List

Safe & Trusted
Get Started
Exclusive 10% Rakeback
Rating 9.99 out of 10
100% up to 500 €/$/£
Rating 9.95 out of 10
Welcome bonus on your 1st deposit up to 100 EUR
Rating 9.93 out of 10
Exclusive: 130% up to €143
Rating 9.90 out of 10
100% bonus up to €122
Rating 9.80 out of 10
100% up to €100
Rating 9.65 out of 10
Exclusive: 100% up to €130
Use Promocode: JUDGE
Rating 9.52 out of 10
Exclusive: 100% up to €130 Use Promocode: GJBET
Rating 9.26 out of 10
100% up to 500 USDT
Rating 9.18 out of 10
Welcome Package 100% Up to 100EUR
Rating 9.12 out of 10

Betting odds explained for beginners

In order to have sports betting odds explained, we must understand what these numbers stand for. Odds are among the most common betting terms and learning how to read soccer odds is the first thing for prospective punters. The bet odds can be expressed in different formats, but they all reflect the ratio between the risk and reward. Understanding odds in sports is simple, as high odds reflect greater risks and bigger potential winnings. The low odds vs high odds analysis will convince risk-averse punters to stick to low odds, while those who hunt bigger profits will take the chance of bigger odds.

How do betting odds work?

The best way to have the odds explained in betting is to simply use an example. Whether you bet on single events or use betting accumulators, you must start by understanding sports betting odds. This begins with answering the question of how does betting work and what’s the odds meaning. Before we dwell deeper on how do odds work in betting, let’s look at these five simple steps.

  1. Choose a single bet, ACCA, tricast bet or a sports betting system like lucky 15 or lucky 63 bet
  2. Pick a sport and choose American odds or fractional odds
  3. Select a mainstream or niche betting market
  4. Decide the amount you want to bet on the event
  5. Place the bet and wait for the match to be settled.

Quick glance at usual betting odds

Now that you have the basic notions on how to understand betting odds, we can move a step further. It is time to look at how betting odds work and what American, fractional, decimal and Vegas odds mean. This will help you learn how to get max value when betting on sports and estimate the implied probability and EVS betting odds each time you gamble.

How fractional odds work?

If you want to have the English betting odds explained, you need to look at fractional odds. They are expressed using the “slash (/)” or a “hyphen (-)” and look like this: 5/1. In order to learn how to place a bet online using fractional odds, you should understand how profits are calculated. For this example, if you bet $10, at odds of 5/1, you will end up winning $60, out of which $50 are the profit.

How do decimal odds work?

The easiest betting odds explanation is for decimal odds, which are used the most often. These will also help you with having the Asian betting odds explained, as they are also used in this part of the world. To use a similar example, if you bet $10 at odds of 6.00, you will win $60, out of which $50 is the profit.

How American odds work? 

Having American betting odds explained is vital to understand how do Vegas odds work. That’s because this is the system used in the US, with odds for favorites implying a “-“ sign (negative odds), while betting on underdogs will have a “+” sign (positive odds). If you bet $10 at odds of +500, you will win $60 out of which the profit is $50.

How do Vegas odds work?

Once you have the American betting odds table explain, you won’t have to worry about Vegas odds. That’s because they are essentially the same, it is just that they are set by bookmakers in Vegas. The same system is used, so once you have NFL betting odds explained, you won’t have to waste more time to have the baseball betting odds explained again.

How are betting odds, payouts and probability calculated?

Understanding betting odds and simply knowing how to read betting odds are two different things. Perhaps the most important element is the ability to calculate the potential payouts and chances to win. That’s why it is time for us to have the betting odds payout explained in relation to the risks taken. As stated above, there is an indissoluble link between the size of the closing odds and risks taken. This is vital when trying to understand what is rollover betting and trying to master more complex systems.

How to calculate probability easily

Reading betting odds and having the bookies odds explained will help you calculate the chance to win. Assuming you have odds of 5/1 such as in the example above, probability to win is calculated using this formula: 1/( 5+1) = 0.1.66. This means that there is a 16% chance for the event to happen. Whether you bet on mainstream markets like money line betting or niche ones such as each team over 1 corner in each half or second half betting, odds will be calculated in the same manner.

How to calculate potential payouts

The question was answered in the paragraphs above where we looked at the betting odds definition and had sports betting odds explained. Depending on the system used, the odds are multiplied with the stakes which are then subtracted from the final number. Having the betting odds payout explained is vital to understand how do odds work. It’s worth taking the time to explain odds ratio betting regardless of what sport you bet. The payouts are calculated in the same way, so you don’t need to have the boxing betting odds explained or football betting odds explained again when switching from one sport to the other.

Choosing the best betting odds?

Having the bookmakers odds explained is important, but not sufficient to be successful. You need to know how to choose the best value, each time you place a wager. Bookmakers use odds shortening to adjust the value based on how the market moves. If many people bet on the same outcome the odds will drop, so you are asked to accept all odds movement when betting. One cool trick is to bet on favorites as soon as the odds are posted and on underdogs as close as possible to kickoff.

If you want to learn how to win football accumulators, you should master the low odds betting strategy. Each event on the betting slip must be a winner, so it’s important to keep the risks low. Instead of using an up and down bet, it’s preferable to rely more on draw no bet accumulators. If one selection lets you down, the stakes will be returned, so you are paid less rather than lose the entire amount. Always consider a total or partial cash out of accumulators, if the bookie offers decent values for cash outs.

Get a thorough understanding of the sports you’re betting on. Make sure you have the fight betting sports explained before placing a wager on boxing. Do the same for ice hockey, as the rules are slightly different and you must have the hockey betting odds explained. Understanding horse betting terms is vital when wagering on races, so you need to understand what does bar meaning betting and other specific terms. For football, the BTTS meaning and what does PK mean in betting are important concepts to grasp.

PROS and CONS of betting odds


  • Odds are displayed in multiple formats
  • Help you calculate the ratio between risk and reward
  • Enable veteran punters to extract maximum value


  • Switch often and carry a house edge

Betting odds explained FAQ

The odds are expressed in decimal, fractional and American formats regardless of the sport of choice.

Bookmakers determine the odds based on how they perceive the balance between risk and payout.

Only the format differs, with American odds of 5/1 translating into European odds of 6.00.

If the match ends undecided in a draw no bet market, the stakes are returned regardless of the odds.

A proper betting odds explanation will help you tell apart American, decimal and fractional odds.

The odds are expressed in American format, signifying that you make a profit of $100 for a $200 bet.

It is essential to have the odds explained in betting and understand them, to place successful wagers.

Understand and use betting odds like a pro

In order to have a decent chance at beating the odds, you first need to understand them. Bookmakers will always have an edge, but you can decrease it by having the sports betting odds explained clearly. The link between risks taken and potential payouts are crystal-clear. The higher the odds, the bigger the potential profits, but so are the chances taken. Risk-averse punters should stick to lower odds, while those who hunt bigger winnings would be wise to take their chance with greater betting odds.