Odds and probabilities in sports betting

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Odds are numbers associated with the probabilities of the outcome of a sporting event. Online sports betting is fundamentally sustained upon odds.   

We’ll discuss this question further since it is essential not only to understanding sports betting but also to making money from sports betting.

But we already know that betting equals managing your exposure to risk.

One thing to keep in mind is that you should never bet on a particular team.

For instance: when you state that “today, I’m betting on Manchester City”, you are actually saying that you’ll bet on the interesting probabilities of team A winning a given sporting event in a particular context.

This line of reasoning is quite relevant since it will uncover the topic we are about to discuss in this article: odds and probabilities in sports betting.

Odds are nothing more than the probabilities bookies bestow upon the risk associated with the outcome of a sporting event.

All odds released by bookies are attached to particular probabilities, which are calculated in accordance with the risk of said outcome.

Practical example of how betting ODDS are calculated

In order to make this more understandable, let’s take a look at the following match: Manchester City x Sunderland (Premier League):


Best Odds Bet365

Manchester City should win the match, right?

Manchester City odds are 1.20.

But, mathematically speaking, what do these mean? It’s simple. All you have to do is divide 1 by the odds released by a particular bookmaker – 1:1.20=0,83.

These odds say that the probability of Manchester City winning the match is 83%.

It’s the same with draws – 1:7=0,142.

The bookie is saying there’s a 14,2% chance that the match will end in a draw.

Here, Sunderland is clearly the underdog, having odds of 13 – using the same formula, 1:13=0,076.

That is, Sunderland have only a 7,6% chance of winning.

Now, you should be asking: “But if all probabilities have been taken into consideration, shouldn’t the final result be 100%?” The answer is: yes.

But then you also have to take into account the commissions charged by the bookmakers.

Since the possible return offered by bookies does not equal 100%, they will always profit, no matter what.

Rate of Return

Regarding the rate of return, the multiplication involved is also very simple.

If you bet €1 on 1.20, all you have to do is multiply that amount by the given odds and find the potential rate of return of your bet (in the above-mentioned case, €1,20).

If the match ends in a draw, 1×7: you’ll get a €7 rate.

And, in case Sunderland win, if you bet €1, your potential rate will be 1×13: €13.

Keep in mind that your rate of return depends on how risky an outcome is.

Since Manchester City are favourites, the odds associated with their victory are much smaller than those given to Sunderland.

Analysis in how do betting odds work

With probabilities in mind, we enter now the analytical stage.

With all information at your disposal, do you believe that City odds are fair?

And draw? And, who knows, Sunderland?

This line of reasoning can be used on all available lines: goals, corner kicks, double result, etc. And it can be applied to all sports.

Would be considered best betting choosing a certain tennis player would it be worth a shot, given the probabilities offered by the bookies?

So, we say it again: when you bet, you’re betting on probabilities within a particular context and not exactly on a team/athlete.

Betting on a certain team may be a good strategy today, but not tomorrow.

Odds don’t exist “per se”, they always depend on possible outcomes.

The different types of betting odds explained

It’s worthing noting that we’re talking about decimal odds, also known as European odds ones, which are the most commonly used by bookmakers.

But there are two other types of odds that can be found on the market.

Remember: notation may be variable, but it’s the same principle.

Fractional or English

These are presented like fractions, like ¾ or 9/5, and are mostly found among English bookmakers. They may seem hard to understand, but they are not.

You just have to multiply your stake by the result of the fraction.

For instance, if you bet €10 on 13/10 odds – 10 x (13/10) – 10 x 1.30 – you may make €13.

Another example: you’ve decided to bet €50 on 12/5 – 50 x (12/5) – 50 x 2,4 – so, in case you win, you’ll make €120.


Fractional Odds Bet365


As the name says, these odds are commonly used by American bookmakers and focus primarily on local sports.

In this case, probabilities are always connected either to a negative (-) or a positive (+) sign.

Here, it all comes down to a 100-unit base.

Regarding negative odds, they will show you how much you need to bet in order for your return to equal 100 units.

Likewise, positive lines will indicate the return of 100-unit bets.

For instance, let’s take a look at the below example.

Betting on Man United means that, with a 100-unit stake, you’ll make 150 units (+150).

The same applies to draws: with a 100-unit stake, you can make 230 units.


American Odds Bet365

Remember for best betting is always advised to take a look at the probabilities and check all information available in the event you want to bet. If you want to win the bookie gather all information and used it wisely.

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