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What Do Betting Odds Do?

Simply put, betting odds have three purposes. One is they tell you which team or player has a greater probability of winning. The second is that they give you an idea of what the sportsbooks think about who the winner or winning team will be. And finally, they also tell you just how much you stand to win by betting on one outcome or another. You can look at the odds as being there to help you make an informed betting decision. To see how they function in reality, head over to 22Bet Sportsbook. They have a great explainer on the different odds and how to make real money bets on all types of sports.

But one important consideration to keep in mind when it comes to sportsbook betting odds is that they are really just the sportsbook’s own opinion. This is based on some complex algorithms that they used to calculate probabilities. As a direct result, the odds will never favour the punter, only the sportsbook. If you’re going to be betting on sports, to try and win the jackpot online, then you need to be a lot more cynical about the business of betting. And you’ll need a logical head in order to find expected value.  

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The Three Different Betting Odds Formats

When it comes to the formats that you’ll see the odds displayed in, then there are three major ones which include American Odds, Decimal Odds and Fractional Odds. Now which one of these odds formats appeals to you is simply down to personal taste. We suggest that you find one and stick with it. Whatever you do, as part of your jackpot winning strategies, don’t mix up the formats. It’s important to remember to adjust the odds within the format you’re going to be betting with. All bets will have implied probabilities. 

Watch Out For The Vig

On top of this, the sportsbook will add its own percentage which is known as the “vigorish,” the “vig” or the “cut.” This is the way the sportsbook makes money, whether you win or lose. It’s the fee that they charge that you pay on top of each bet and this keeps the sportsbooks profitable. Many sports gamblers forget about this, even though it has a huge effect on the player’s betting odds, profits and bankroll. So it’s important to factor in this amount when you’re going to be calculating the potential profits from any betting activities using sportsbooks. Let’s have a look at these different betting formats to understand the differences between them. As well as which one might be more suitable for your betting style.

The Basics Of American Betting Odds


American odds are given out as 3-digit numbers. Each one will be preceded by a plus (+) or minus (-). These will indicate whether you’re betting on the “favourites” or the “underdog.”  The whole bet is expressed in terms of how much you need to wager in order to win $100. 

The plus will indicate the underdog. So if you’re going to be betting on the Miami Heat to win at +102 against the Milwaukee Bucks at -121, then you’re going to be backing the underdogs. Looking at this from another way, you’ll see that the Bucks are posting -121. This shows that they are more likely to win. But if you pick them, then you’re going to risk more. That’s because the equation says you’ll need to put down $121 in order to win back $100. 

Potential Winnings With American Odds

It’s easy to calculate your potential winnings when using American betting odds. The formula is very simple in itself. You’ll find that the betting slip will usually convert the numbers for you automatically. Nevertheless, today let’s have a look at what’s going on in the background. First off, let’s consider the following example:

  • Los Angeles Lakers (-300)
  • Phoenix Suns (+250)

To understand how the formula works, we’re going to bet on both teams. Let’s say we place a $20 wager on the Lakers at -300. The betting amounts would look like the following:

  • 300/100 = 20/x
  • Multiply to get 300x = 2000
  • Carryover the 300 to get x= 2000/300 x = $6.67

Put another way, if you were to back the Lakers on (-300) with a $20 wager, then you’ll end up receiving $20 + $6.67 or $26.67. 

Now let’s say that you choose to place a $20 wager on the Phoenix Suns (+250). Your equation will change slightly:

  • 100/250 = 20/x
  • Multiply to get 100x = 5000
  • Carryover the 100 to get x = 5000/100 x = $50

So your wager will give you a $50 win + $20 bet, which totals to a $70 payout.

The Implied Probability For American Odds


In the same manner, as calculating your potential winnings, you’ll find there are a couple of formulas for calculating the implied probability. By using these for both positive and negative American betting odds, you’ll be able to see the probability of a specific outcome coming to pass. Let’s reuse the Lakers versus Suns example.

The formulas must be used for positive and negative American odds, as they will allow you to see what the chance of a specific outcome happening is going to be. Let’s use the Lakers vs. Suns example again:

  • Los Angeles Lakers (-300)
  • Phoenix Suns (+250)

Probability for Negative American Odds 

Negative American odds / (negative American odds + 100) * 100 = implied probability

  • Based on this formula, if betting on the Los Angeles Lakers is 300/ (300+100) *100 = 300/400*100 or 75.00%.
  • Probability for Positive American Odds
  • 100 / (positive American odds + 100) * 100 = implied probability
  • Now if you’re betting on the Suns, then adjust the numbers: 100/ (250+100) *100 = 100/350 *100 = 28.57%.

By understanding the implied probability you can help to identify valuable betting opportunities where sportsbooks may have underestimated a team. This gives you a good opening to win the jackpot online.

The Basics Of Decimal Betting Odds

betting odds

Crossing the grey Atlantic over to Europe, then we’re going to be dealing with the decimal system as opposed to the American Imperial one. Using the decimal system to place wagers is more or less the same as using American odds. Just a lot simpler! Let’s have a look at the same example as before, but substitute them with decimal odds.

  • Los Angeles Lakers +1.33 
  • Phoenix Suns +3.50

All decimal betting options are going to be a much simpler calculation. Nevertheless, you’ll notice that the information given is exactly the same. It’s just a different form of representation between the rather backwards US and the rest of the world.

Decimal betting odds show that for each $1 bet on the Lakers, you can win a grand total of $1.33. But remember this includes your own wager +$0.33 profit. 

In the same manner, the +3.50 odds say that for each wager you put on the Suns, you can profit $1 + $2.50 profit. 

The Implied Probability For Decimal Odds

Now let’s have a look to see if the implied probability remains the same across different representations. By running the numbers again, but using the simpler formula of decimal betting odds, we can say that they are identical in the outcome.

100/decimal odds = implied probability

  • 100/1.33 for the Los Angeles Lakers = 75.18%
  • 100/3.50 for the Phoenix Suns = 28.57%

As you can see it’s just the same numbers but represented differently. Personally, and not just because we’re European, we prefer to use decimal odds. They’re much faster to navigate and understand. Especially if you’re going to be betting under pressure. By quickly understanding the rapidly changing odds, you’ll increase your jackpot winning chances.

The Basics Of Fractional Betting Odds

basketball odds

Finally, we come to the rather strange looking fractional betting odds. Once again, these are actually a much simpler representation than their American counterparts. Using the same examples as above, let’s see how fractional odds can be represented:

  • Los Angeles Lakers 33/100
  • Phoenix Suns 5/2

The main fractional odds takeaway here is that the left number will show you how much you stand to win if you wagered the amount represented by the right number. In some ways, we can see that fractional odds make a lot of sense. Even better, we can see the potential results of our wagers straight away.

Let’s Calculate The Implied Probability For Fractional Odds

To capture the implied probability using fractional betting odds is very simple. Once again let’s use the same selection as before:

  • Los Angeles Lakers 33/100
  • Phoenix Suns 5/2

The first thing to note is that the right number is called the “denominator” and the left number is called the “numerator.” With this in mind, then the formula for probability will look as follows:

denominator / (denominator + numerator) * 100 = implied probability

  • Now translating this for the Phoenix Suns, then we would get 2/ (2+5) *100 = 28.57%, which is exactly as before. 
  • Doing the same with the Los Angeles Lakers 33/100 as follows = 100/ (100+33) *100 = 75.18%. 

If you head over to our favourite online sportsbook, 22Bet Sportsbook, you’ll find all these types of odds listed for a huge number of sports and jackpot games. Look through all the betting options and try to understand the odds requirements. Keep in mind that this sportsbook will give all new players a generous welcome bonus of 122% up to €100 to get you started.

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