Betting Odds Explained For Beginners

Let’s look at how betting odds work. Essentially, odds define the projected return as a multiple of the stake when a bet is successful.

There are two main types of odds that are used in the UK and across Europe. These are known as either fractional or decimal odds. Fractional odds have been in use for much longer. Decimal odds originate from American betting systems and are gradually overtaking decimal odds, in terms of the amount of people who prefer to use them.

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How Fractional Odds Work

So, now let us look at an example of fractional odds. We want to back a horse in a race and we are informed that the odds of the horse are 3/1. What does this mean?

3/1 is a very simple price to understand. If you bet one pound, and the horse wins, then you will get back four pounds. This return comes from a combination of your winnings and your returned stake. Your winnings are three pounds and your stake was one pound, so this is why you get back four pounds and your profit is three pounds. You only get your stake back if your selection wins the race. If it doesn’t win, the bookmaker keeps your stake.

But what if the odds are 1/3? How does this work? Basically, what you are looking at here is the price of a horse that is ‘odds on’. This means that the bookmaker has decided that it is more likely that this horse will win, rather than fail to win. You would need to wager three pounds to get four pounds back in total. Your profit would only be one pound, if the horse wins. If the horse loses, your loss would be three pounds. This means you would need to be very confident that your horse would win the race.

Odds of 11/4 are a little trickier, but the same fundamentals apply. You would need to bet four pounds to get fifteen pounds back (your four pounds stake and eleven pounds winnings). The horse could also be given a price of 4/11, if it was a hot favorite. Unless you are quick in your head with numbers, old fashioned odds can be time-consuming to work out. This is why decimal odds are becoming more popular.

How Decimal Odds Work

3/1, expressed in decimal odds, would be 4.0. This is very easy to understand. If you bet one pound here you get four pounds back in total. Decimal odds also make it easier when dealing with minute changes to the odds. If a horse has a price of 2.68, you would get back two pounds and sixty eight pence, if it wins. If the price dropped to 2.65, you would now get two  pounds and sixty five pence.

Any horse that is given a price that is less than 2.0 can be considered to be ‘odds on’. 2.0 is the same as 1/1, or even money.

We hope this makes things clearer for you. RaceBets allow you to use both fractional and decimal odds. You can switch between either format, by changing your settings. Look for the settings cog icon, on any page.

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