Betting odds are a numerical representation of the probability of something happening. They are created by bookmakers who make a book of betting odds for each potential outcome of an event. The simplest illustration to explain betting odds is the toss of a coin. There are only two possible outcomes: heads or tails and there is an even chance for both to land. Bookmaker’s betting odds are slightly less than even money because they have an in-built edge. The most common betting odds for two even chances are 10/11 and 10/11 which includes the bookmaker’s theoretical profit margin. Here is a list of the best betting odds sites:
How do betting odds work?
In any event, each outcome has betting odds. The fixed odds bookmaker tries to attract business on each outcome to make a profit regardless of the outcome. Each price has a percentage value and if the total of these percentages comes to more than 100, the bookmaker has created a winning book in theory. Odds fluctuate due to weight of money. However, if one set of odds shorten others will increase to maintain the percentage. This is basically how betting odds work.
How betting odds work?
Each way bets are in effect two bets: the win element and place element. It is popular on horse racing and the outright winner of a football league or Cup competition. These bets are settled in line with place terms. In horse racing, the place terms are one quarter or one fifth the odds for 2, 3 or 4 places. Each way football betting odds are generally one half the odds for 2 places or one fifth the odds for 3 places. Bookmakers sometimes offer extra places for a horse race or football competition to increase betting and promote the bookmaking brand.
How to understand betting odds?
The player, team or horse with the lowest odds is the favourite, the player, team or horse with the next lowest odds is the second favourite. Options that are expressed in big odds are known as underdogs or outsiders. Bettors look at the odds for each potential outcome and place bets accordingly. Odds of even money represent an even chance of an outcome, odds-on means a less than even chance for an outcome and odds-against means more than an even chance of an outcome.
How to work out betting odds?
Bookmakers take bets at betting odds for a stake unit. Returns from winning bets are calculated from the stake and the odds. The bookmaker tries to take more bets in stakes than the payout. If a favourite or well-backed outcome transpires, the bookmaker could payout more winnings than the total stakes. In this instance, it is a losing book because the bookmaker has lost money. The bookmaker is more likely to win when an outsider wins an event.
How to calculate betting odds?
You can use a betting odds calculator to work out the returns from winning bets or do this manually. Some odds are simple but others are more complex. However, the calculation is the same. In other words, you add the numerator to the denominator and divide the total by the denominator and multiply by the stake to find the return for a bet.
Here is a basic example at evens:
£10 at 1/1 = ((1 + 1) / 1) x £10 = £20.
But this is a more complex example at odds-against:
£10 at 13/8 = ((13 + 8) / 8 x £10 = £26.25.
And finally, a slightly more difficult calculation at odds-on:
£10 at 8/11 = ((8 + 11) / 11 x £10 = £17.20.
What do odds mean in betting?
Bookmakers provide the platform for customers to place bets on the outcome of sporting events. Each potential result has a probability and bookmakers express the probabilities in the form of betting odds or prices. The more likely that something will happen, the lower the odds. The less likely that something will happen, the greater the odds.
T&Cs: New UK members only | Min. dep.: £10 | Wagering: 1x free bet | Odds: 2.0 for the qualifying deposit and 1.8 for the free bet | Max. bonus: £10 | Valid: 14 days | Full T&Cs apply | 18+ | BeGambleAware.org
Which betting site has the best odds?
Some bookmakers compete on welcome bonuses and promotions, the range of sports and markets or the value in the betting odds. There are only small variances in the odds which the recreational bettor may not notice. However, big-staking professionals monitor price differences and will place bets with the betting sites that offer the best value which includes these:
William Hill is one of the most trusted and established UK betting brands. Customers can select from over 30 sports for betting odds. The odds value is slightly better than average, especially in some markets. New customers can claim a welcome bonus and the betting odds standout for a number of sports and leagues. Cash out and live betting enhance the gaming experience.
New UK members only | Min. bet: £10 | Wagering: 1x | Odds: ½ or bigger | Max. bonus: 2x £15 free bets | Valid: 30 days | Full T&Cs apply | 18+ | BeGambleAware.org
Betway is a popular betting brand for bettors in the UK and other parts of Europe. The site features a full range of betting odds in pre-match and in-play markets. Customers can also bet on the outright winner of major competitions across a number of sports. There is some value in the betting odds, especially in several select sports and markets.
New UK members only | 1st deposit matched up to £10 | 1 x 1.75+ odds unlock free bet | Min Dep: £10 | PayPal/Debit Card Deposits Only | Full T&Cs apply | 18+ | BeGambleAware.org
Betting odds formats
The worked examples are for fractional betting odd which is one of the four odds formats in which betting markets are expressed:
Odds are expressed in fractions with a numerator and denominator. So, when the probability of something happening is two times it not happening the odds are 2/1.
Odd is expressed in fractions to two decimal places and include the stake unit. So odds of 2/1 in fractions appear as 3.00 in decimals.
American odds are slightly different in that they are expressed in hundreds and do not include the stake. So odds of 2/1 in American format are 200.
Asian odds can be Malay, Hong Kong and Indonesian.
Betting odds categories
Bookmakers offer betting odds on over 50 sports. The most popular sport for betting is football, followed by horse racing and tennis. The most bet on markets are the match winner, handicaps and totals. Bookmakers offer betting odds on more exotic markets which provide the potential for a big win for a small stake. The most popular market in this category is the correct score in a number of sports. In addition to the regular sports, bettors can place wagers on Politics, Esports, TV Specials and novelty bets. Bookmakers quote betting odds for pre-match, in-play and ante post markets.
Here are four of the most popular betting odds categories:
There are more bets placed on football games than any other sport. Bookmakers publish odds for over 200 leagues and Cup competitions. The most popular leagues for betting are the Premier League in England and the Champions League. Bookmakers display the Premier League betting odds for the match winner after 90 minutes and a link to additional markets. These betting options appear under the headings of main, handicaps, totals, players, goals, corners and bookings. More exotic markets include the correct score and first, last and anytime scorer.
Football is the most popular in-play betting sport. Bookmakers update football games odds during an event. Bettors can cash out bets to guarantee a profit or limit the loss by closing a bet that has not reached expiry. There is live streaming of football with some bookmakers but others provide an animation of the progress of play and live match data which complement the betting odds. Overall, football today is huge for betting.
Political betting odds are a growth market and millions are staked on elections, especially in the UK and the United States. Experts who would not normally bet use their expertise to win money with big bets on events that could be predicted and opinion polls help.
Horse racing today is still a very popular sport for betting odds in the UK. Online bookmakers have become more sports-orientated but there is still interest in the latest horse racing betting odds. The biggest betting meetings are the Cheltenham Festival and Royal Ascot. The most popular individual races for betting are the Grand National and the Derby. Bookmakers publish ante post betting odds for the major festivals and races in the UK and Ireland. They also offer horse racing betting odds on major overseas races and international fixtures. Some bookmakers complement horse racing betting odds with the live streaming of meetings in Britain.
The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the most popular events for novelty betting odds. It is shown live on television and there is plenty of media interest. The UK song is usually prominent in the betting odds but it has performed poorly in recent years. Bookmakers issue Eurovision betting odds.