How to Calculate Betting Odds For Sports

September 12, 2017

Betting odds are something that can be found on any type of sports bet the world over. Basically, betting odds refer to the likelihood of one team, player or runner wining the event. No event is ever totally equal, so bookies create their own betting odds, which in turn have an effect, on how profitable your wager may be. Being able to calculate betting odds is vital in order for a long term, profitable betting experience.

Probability – The Basics

All betting odds are based on the probability of the outcome of the event. To work out all betting odds you can use the equation: Favourable outcomes / all possible outcomes. Take a coin toss for example. Assuming that your coin is not weighted, there are two, equally possible outcomes, or 1 / 2. The one is the favourable outcome, and the two is the number of outcomes. This would give us an answer of 0.5. You would have bet on one outcome, say heads. The odds of the coin landing on heads can be worked out by: 1 / probability for your chosen outcome; or 1 / 0.5 which gives us a decimal point of 2.0. 2.0 is the odds of your outcome happening, which means in bookies terms that should the coin land on heads, you would be paid $2 for every $1 wagered.

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Using this In Sports Betting

Now that you have an idea of how the decimal odds are worked out, we can apply this knowledge to the world of sports betting. Odds can be found in any event, even if there are only two possible outcomes.  Bookies will often apply odds to an event based on both public opinion and their opinion. In an NFL match, for example, ties are very rare thanks to sudden death overtime, therefore there are technically only two possible outcomes. Even so, you will rarely find the same odds offered by bookies on the same game. This is due to a number of aspects such as personal opinion or even insider knowledge being able to calculate these betting odds both before the game and at the beginning of the season is very important.

In the 2016 NFL season, for example, the Dallas Cowboys entered at 17 / 1 odds, while the patriots were 7 / 1 favourites. The patriots did in fact win, but due to the odds your wager on them would have paid out much less than a successful wager on the Cowboys.

Odds In Horse Racing

Horse racing is another sport where one has to really understand betting odds in order to make a profit. The novice punter may look only at whether they bet on the winning horse, but the seasoned punter knows that to really be successful you not only have to sometimes back the underdog, but take the losses as well. Look at it this way, if you consistently back the winning horse with odds of 1 / 4, you will only make one unit for every four that your stake. In the long term this is definitely not a sustainable way of wagering. Backing the underdog however, may see you with odds of 7 / 2; you will receive seven units for every two that you stake. Although you may not win as many times, you will win much more profit.