Beginners Guide On How To Read Sports Odds

how to read sports odds

Learning how to read sports odds will enable you to know the bets worth taking. Betting odds come in different formats, but you can easily understand them. These bets will then allow you to calculate the implied probability of some results in sports betting. If you want to be strong in betting, make sure you understand how to read sports. Knowing how to read sports odds will allow you to know how much to wager and the value bet. To understand sports odds read this comprehensive article on sports odds.

Sports Odds

Sports Odds come in three different formats. These forms are decimal, fractional, and American odds and serve two purposes. First, they signal the possibility of the result they are fixed to. And lastly, they show the amount of money you could win if you bet on that outcome.

Ensure that you are always careful when you depend on odds alone during the evaluation of the event to take place. The reason for this is that many factors influence the outcome of the match. 

The betting site that you use to bet can interfere with the odds. This will incentivize the bet on a specific side, and the total probabilities for one event will pass 100 percent because the betting site takes a cut backed directly into the odds. 

The odds will also tell you the amount of money that the book charges to take your bet. Bettors call these amounts juice, vig, or cut.

American Odds Explained

American odds have plus or minus signs. If you see a number like +150, – 230, know that they are American odds. These signs on sports betting lines show your payout and whether you are betting on the favorite or underdog. 

The number with a minus sign in the betting line shows the favorite. It shows the amount that you will need to bet so that you can win $100. Then if the number has a positive sign, this is an underdog. It also shows the amount of money that you will win if you bet $100.

Decimal Odds Explained

Compared to the three types of odds, decimal odds are easy to understand. It is also direct to determine the payout with these odds. You will need to multiply the bets with the odds in the team that you are betting on. Then subtract the original bet from the payout so that you can find the winning.

Fractional Odds Explained

The last type of sports odds is fractional. These odds are mainly used in the UK and horse racing events. Fractional odds look funny, like 9/5 or ½. If you want to say them aloud, you can say nine to five or one to two. Usually, nine, the number on the left, tells how many times the books want the bet to fail. However, the number on the right means the number of times the match is expected to win.

Fractional Odds in Action

For instance, let us assume that Gennady Golovkin, a famous boxer, gets 8/13 in an upcoming game with Canelo Alvarez. The odds show that if the match happened 21 times, Gennady would lose eight bouts and win 13. To determine the probability of Gennady winning the fight, you will have to take the number that he is expected to win and then divide it by the total number of trials. And so, Gennady has a 61.9 chance of winning the fight.

To determine the probability of Alvarez winning the match, you will do the same thing. If the odds are 11/8, the fight happened 19 times, which is 11 added by 8. The probability of Alvarez winning the match is 42. 1 %.

Note as we had said earlier regarding the juice or vig. It usually does not go away because the oddsmakers displayed their odds in different ways. We have also not shown the probability if there is a draw. In the above example, the sum is already more than 100%.

Because it 61.9 added by 42.1 which results to 104 percent

The implied probabilities of all outcomes summed up will be more than 100 no matter the type of odds format that you use. When you are betting on Alvarez to win, the underdog, the winnings will be more significant. If you bet on the underdog in any sporting event, you will risk less money to win more. 

It would help if you also remembered that there is a reason as to why they are the underdog. It is a rookie season, or there has been an injury.


This is not related to the odds but can significantly affect your payout. Before you place your first bet on sport, ensure that you are aware of a push. A push is a tie in simple terms. If you are betting on Moneyline, you will not experience a push. 

If a sport enables a match to finish in a link, that is an outcome that you can bet on. Consider the possibility of a push if you are betting on totals or the spread. If the match results in a tie, your money gets refunded because it will not count as a win or loss.

Final Thought

You are now sports betting expert if you have read the above article regarding reading sports odds. Now it is time to find your favorite site and place your first bet. Note that you always need to be informed about winning your bets. 

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