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How do negative odds work in betting? | Negative odds explained

How do negative odds work in betting? This is a pretty common question among gamblers. First you need to understand how moneyline betting works and also what are positive and negative odds. In this post we will address them in detail.

Beyond defining them, we will tell you the amount of profit you can make and show you how to read the negative odds

So, stick to this page for details.

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How do negative betting odds work? 🤔

Betting odds explainedA negative number in odds usually represents the amount of money you need to stake to win $100. It specifies the risk to win $100. Remember, a minus sign is usually found in American Moneyline odds and is reserved for the favorite on a betting line. Therefore, this type of odds denotes the favored team.

For instance, -220 odds mean that you need a $220 bet to get a profit of $100.

Moneyline odds also come with a positive sign; thus, positive Moneyline odds. These odds are reserved for the underdog, i.e., a team not favored to win, and they represent the money you could win if you staked $100.  Unlike the negative odds, you can make more money with the positive odds, but your chances of winning a bet are lower.

For example, a $100 bet on +220 odds returns a profit of $220.

Let’s explain betting odds and how do negative and positive odds work with a quick and simple example:

If you wager $100 in a match, Tennessee Titans (+185) vs. New England Patriots (-215), use the formula (100/Odds) x Bet Size to find your winnings. Here are the profits you could make:

How to identify a good moneyline bet with negative odds 👨🏻‍🏫

Identifying a good Moneyline bet will help you have a long winning streak. For starters, it is essential to note that more excellent value in Moneyline bets is achieved when you bet on the underdogs. So, recognizing the right opportunity can help you win big. 

Here are a few opportunities you can exploit to boost your chances of winning when wagering negative odds.

Select Teams Carefully

Two scenarios can help you succeed:

  • Identify games where the underdog has a chance of winning 
  • Bet on the favorite if it is not costly 

Nevertheless, take a few more chances if you are wagering on several games simultaneously. These tactics will help you find the best value. Remember, while spread bets in soccer leave you with many opportunities to win wagers even when you don’t understand the game, Moneyline stakes demand that you be picky regarding the games you want to play.

Don't Neglect Favorites

Bet on favorites, but think about giving away some points. This will increase your payouts and slightly minimize the gap between reward and risk. 

It is true; favorites can be risky. It is recommended that you avoid favorites in the -250 to -300 range. This is the spot where upsets are possible. Therefore, it is not worth making a bet where you are likely to return only a third of your cash.

Finding Undervalued Moneyline Bets

Undervalued Moneyline bets are usually in low-profile games. For instance, all high-profile games in the NFL will attract much betting interest. This is also reflected in the game’s odds and payouts. 

So, to get an undervalued favorite, you will need to settle on teams that do not have a high enough profile. You can only achieve this by deeply researching and assessing the Moneyline market. If a match has a famous team as the underdog, it makes a great betting opportunity and can get you the maximum value when betting on sports.

Consider Specific Match Ups

Check a team’s consistency and how it measures up, not its popularity only. Also, consider how the team plays under different circumstances and their weaknesses and strengths. With this information, you can place a bet safely. 

Place a Moneyline bet when you aren’t convinced that the favored team will cover the spread, but you feel they’ll carry the day. When they win, you also win. The tradeoff is lower odds and payout.

How to calculate the implied probability of Negative odds 👩🏻‍💻

Implied probability represents the chances of an outcome happening, and you calculate this probability by dividing one by the given odds and converting it to percentages. Here is the formula for implied probability:

Implied Probability = [Denominator / (Denominator + Numerator)] x 100%

For instance, with odds of 2/1 you will have: 1 ÷ (1 + 2) * 100 = 33.3%

Here is how you can calculate implied probability for American Odds:

Positive American Odds: 

Implied probability = 100 / (positive American odds + 100) x 100%

So, if you have Aston Villa (+650) win, the implied probability is: 100 / (650 + 100) x 100% = 13.3%

Negative American Odds: 

Implied probability = [Negative American odds / (Negative American odds + 100)] x 100

So, if you have Leicester win (-238), your implied probability will be: [238/ (238+100)] x 100% = 70.4%

Implied probability is critical in assessing attractive opportunities in bet. You can determine whether the chance is higher than the implied probability reflected in the odds.

The -110 line in sports betting and its odds 📉

A -110 line in sports betting stands for the odds a sportsbook needs to guarantee a 10% commission provided the betting public is betting evenly. Remember, -110 is the most common betting line in sports betting, and you will come across it on most point spread lines and under/over lines.

As stated earlier, when you wager on a -110-point spread line, you will be staking $110 to win $100. The oddsmakers want equal action on the same sides. If they can do that, they reduce the risk of losses and guarantee profits. The value a sportsbook earns from -110 is called vigorish or juice. You can learn more in our how do bookies set odds article.

The pros and cons of betting on negative odds 👍 & 👎


  • Suitable for calculating payouts quickly, particularly for a flat $100 wager
  • An excellent option for single-game betting and parlay betting
  • Easier to place bets because you do not have to worry about winning the game by a certain margin of victory
  • Less variance


  • You'll rely on fractional odds to calculate an implied winning probability
  • Tough to win consistently

Other frequently asked questions about negative odds 🙋‍♀️

In American betting, negative odds do not impact your chances of winning. The minus sign shows the amount of money to bet for every $100 you want to win. The nature of the game and team strengths impact your odds of winning.

Negative odds mean that the outcome is more likely to happen and placing a bet on that outcome pays less than the wagered amount. So, while there is a chance you will win, the amount is minimal. Therefore, relying on this will not give you the best payouts.

Yes, you can make money with negative odds. However, the profit is much less than you would make with positive odds.

Negative odds represent the favorite, indicating the money you need to stake to win $100. While positive odds represent the underdog, and it represents the money you will win if you stake $100.

When you make a bet with -200 odds it means that you need to pay $200 on the bet to get a profit of $100. If the bet is successful, you will receive $300.

A "minus" (-) before the number indicates the team is a favorite, and you must wager an amount indicated by the number to win $100. A "plus" (+) before the number indicates the team is an underdog, which means you will receive the amount equivalent to the odd value of a successful $100 wager.

Are potential payouts at negative odds any good?

While the payout is relatively low compared to the positive odds, the chances of winning negative odds bets are higher. However, you can significantly increase your chances of betting by finding value in all the bets you place. That means you need to deeply research every game before placing a bet.

Most importantly, play at best odds bookmakers. Since odds determine your payout, playing at bookies that offer the best odds can increase your payouts. This online betting guide can be the best place to start.

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