Betting Odds Explained

Many matched bettors come from a betting background. They may place a few bets on the football at the weekend or enjoy a flutter on the horses. However, a huge number of matched bettors have never placed a bet before and have come across matched betting as a way to generate an income online in their spare time. For these people, if the process of matched betting isn’t complicated enough initially, betting odds may confuse things even more. After all, betting odds come in various formats and if you don’t know how they work, you may find yourself stuck.

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We’ll be taking a look at the two most common odds formats, fractional and decimal, and explain how they work and how you can convert one into the other.

Fractional Odds

Fractional odds are the most common format. Even people who have never placed a bet online before will have most likely come across fractional odds at some point. They are used in TV, radio and online advertisements and are how most regular punters refer to odds. 

Here are some examples of fractional odds:

  • Man Utd to beat Everton at odds of 1/1
  • Roger Federer to beat Andy Murray at odds of 3/1
  • England to win the World Cup at odds of 10/1

Sound familiar?

Even if you’ve heard or seen odds in fractional format, it doesn’t mean that you know how they work. However, they’re pretty simple.

Fractional odds are great for showing how much profit we will make if our bet wins. If we place a bet to the value of the number on the right, our profit will be the number on the left.

Let’s use the odds above as examples.

  • Man Utd to beat Everton at odds of 1/1

This means that if we place a £1 bet (the number on the right), we will make a £1 profit (the number on the left) if it wins. Therefore, our total return would be £2 from our £1 bet.

  • Roger Federer to beat Andy Murray at odds of 3/1

If we place a £1 bet on Federer and he wins, we will make a £3 profit. Our total returns would be £4.

  • England to win the World Cup at odds of 10/1

If we place a £1 bet on England and they win, we will make a £10 profit. Our total returns would be £11.

But what if we want to place a stake greater than the number on the right?

Simply multiply your stake by the number on the left and then divide it by the number on the right.

For example, if you were to place a £10 stake at odds of 7/2, you would multiply £10 by 7 (£70) and divide it by 2 (£35). £35 is the profit you would make on your bet and your total returns would be £45 (your profit + original £10 stake).

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are slightly easier to understand and thankfully, this is the format which is used in matched betting.

Some examples of decimal odds are:

  • Man Utd to beat Everton at odds of 2.0
  • Roger Federer to beat Andy Murray at odds of 4.0
  • England to win the World Cup at odds of 11.0

Calculating your returns when using decimal odds is easy. Simply multiply your stake by the odds and that is the amount you will get back if your bet wins. Be aware that this amount includes your stake and so if you want to calculate the profit you will make from your bet, simply subtract your stake from this amount.

If we placed a £10 bet at odds of 2.0, we would receive back £20 if our bet won and our profit would be £10 (£20 – our stake)

If we placed a £20 bet at odds of 4.5, we would receive back £90 if our bet won and our profit would be £70 (£70 – our stake)

Converting Fractional odds to decimal

As decimal is the odds format we use when matched betting, whether it be when entering odds into the matched betting calculator, the each way calculator or dutcher, it can be useful to know how to convert fractional odds into decimal format. All bookmakers will have an option to convert fractional odds to decimal on their website but sometimes this option can be hard to find and so you may wish to manually convert the odds of a specific bet.

To do so, you simply need to divide the fractional odds and add one.

For example, if we needed to convert odds of 9/2 into decimal odds, we would divide 9 by 2 and add 1. (9 ÷ 2) + 1 = 5.5

If we needed to convert odds of 15/4 into decimal odds, we would divide 15 by 4 and add 1. (15 ÷ 4) + 1 = 4.75

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