How to Read Sports Odds: Fractional, Decimal and Moneyline


What are fractional odds? How do I calculate money-line odds? Threat not, for we look at how to read sports odds in this article. Like you, many would-be punters who are new to online sports gambling may have browsed a few sports betting sites and seen long lists of cryptic numbers. The more timid may be thinking a career in rocket science seems rather inviting right now.

Introduction: How To Read Sports Odds

Three different conventions have been developed between the United Kingdom, continental Europe, and the Americas. As readers browse and wager at internet sports books, they will come across all three, but have no fear. These numbers are not as complicated as they appear at first. JackpotFinder is here to help bettors understand and wager with confidence.

Fractional Odds or British Odds

fractional odds

Bet365 uses Fractional odds, also known as “British odds”. This is the preferred notation in Great Britain and Ireland. (For whatever it is worth, this is also preferred by your present author.) This is what the reader sees when Bet365 states, for example, “20/21”.

The fractional odds are relative to the stake of the punter. If the odds are 20/1 (expressed “twenty-to-one” or “twenty-to-one against”), this asserts that the punter will win $2,000 profit on a $100 stake. Note that the winning punter always receives back the initial stake, so if the odds are 20/1, the punter should receive back $2,100.

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Conversely, if the odds are 1/20 (“one-to-twenty” or “one-to-twenty on”), the better will only make $5 on the $100 stake. The bettor would then receive back $105.

When the odds are one-to-one, that’s also known as “evens” or “even money”. In fractional odds, this is expressed 1/1, and the winner of a $100 bet will receive $200 (including the return of his stake). If still confused, you may want to look at our brief explanation of jackpot terms instead.

Decimal Odds or European Odds

decimal odds

Bodog uses Decimal odds, also known as “European odds” or sometimes “continental odds”, which are preferred in Canada, Europe, and Australia.

Whereas Fractional odds make it easy to calculate how much the winning punter will win, the Decimal odds system makes it easier for the punter to calculate how much the winning punter will receive. The difference? The punter has already paid out his stake, and when he wins, he gets it back, so the amount received is the winning plus the stake.

Conversion is relatively simple. Just use division to convert the fraction and then add one (1).

So, if the fractional odds are 20/1, the decimal odds are 21.0. If the fractional odds are 1/20, the decimal odds are 1.05. When the odds are even money, they are quoted as 2.

Converting from Fractional odds to Decimal odds

For the sake of comparison and to illustrate conversion, readers will recall Bet365’s money-line bet on the Colts is expressed as 20/31. We can convert this in three steps:

  1. Divide 20 by 31. (20 ÷ 31 = 0.64516129)
  2. Round 0.64516129 down to two significant digits. (0.65)
  3. Add 1 to 0.95. (1 + 0.65 = 1.65)

Thus Bet365’s 20/31 in decimal odds notation is 1.65. If you compare it with Bodog’s Money Line bet, you’ll notice that Bet365 has slightly better odds.

Money-line Odds or American Odds

moneyline odds

By default, BetUS uses “Money-line odds”, also known as “American odds”. For convenience, users of this site can also toggle this, but Jackpot Finder will briefly explain it so when readers find it on other online sports books, they have an idea of what they are looking at.

Money-line odds are typically (but not necessarily) used for Money-line betting.

When the number is positive, it refers to the amount of money which will be won on a $100 wager. In the above example, a winning bet of $100 on the Titans, will result in a $100 win for the punter. Thus, fractional odds of 20/1 would be expressed as +2000.

When the number is negative, it refers to the amount which must be wagered to win $100. Thus, when the fractional odds are 1/20, it would be expressed as -2000.

Even odds can be expressed as either +100 or -100. The bet on the Titans above is in fact even odds.

We will convert both of Bet365’s Money Line bets to demonstrate how to read sports odds.

Converting from Fractional odds to a Negative Moneyline odds

Again, remember Bet365’s money-line bet on the Colts is listed as 20/31.

Because the Colts are expected to lose, we already know this number will be a negative. Therefore, we will follow these four steps:

  1. Multiply the numerator (20) by 100. (20 × 100 = 2000)
  2. Divide the product by the denominator (31) (2000 ÷ 31 = 64.516129)
  3. Round down to two significant digits (65)
  4. Take the negative (-65)

Thus Bet365’s 20/31 in money-line odds notation is -65.

Converting from Fractional odds to a Positive Money-line odds

Now, let’s look at Bet365’s Money-Line on the Titans, shown as 27/20

Because the Titans are favored to win, we know this number will be a positive. Therefore we follow these simple steps:

  1. Multiply the denominator (20) by 100. (20 × 100 = 2000)
  2. Divide the product by the numerator (27) (2000 ÷ 27 = 74.0740741)
  3. Round down to two significant digits (74)
  4. Sign as positive (+74)

Thus Bet365’s 27/20 in money-line odds notation is +74.

How to Read Sports Odds Explained

Observant readers will have noticed that the sports betting lines at different online sports books varied (check our latest sports betting odds for all major events). Not so much for it to really matter on a small bet, but enough for it to matter when large enough bets are made over time.

Smart bettors take advantage of this by hedging bets at different bookies. At this point, punters are no longer gamblers, but investors.The laws regarding personal income tax will even vary because the successful use of arbitrage assures profit and therefore the income is no longer covered by gambling law. As mentioned before, the best jackpot strategies can be found here at JackpotFinder to help you win that massive prize.