Skip to main content

Betting Odds Explained

So you’ve opened a betting account, and you’ve logged in. While the teams and names might look familiar to you, all those weird numbers around them are confusing. Below we’ll explain what they mean.

Sports Betting Odds

There are three main ways they are presented: American, fractional, and decimal. Each style is slightly different, so let’s delve into them to understand better.


When you’re looking at American odds, the first thing you’ll want to notice is the sign in front of the odds, as that denotes two very different things.

A minus sign in front of the odds – or a negative number – indicates the amount of money you’d have to bet to win $100. If there is a plus sign, that shows how much money you’d win if you bet $100.

For example:
• New York Yankees -140
• Boston Red Sox +120

In this case scenario, a $140 on the Yankees would pay you $100 if it won. As for the Red Sox, a $100 bet would net you $120 if it won. Of course, you don’t have to bet in exactly $100 increments, as shown above. Once you understand the ratios, you can plug in whatever numbers you want.

When you’re looking at your matchup, the option with the smallest negative number is the favorite for the event. The option that has the larger number is the underdog.

Fractional Odds

Fractional odds appear as – you guessed it – fractions. That can mean numbers like 10/1 or 9/2, or 15/1. 

To calculate your payout with these odds, it’s pretty simple: your stake is the denominator, and the payout is the numerator. So if you want to bet $50 on a bet where the payout is 15/1, you would plug in 50 on the bottom.

 Then you would need to multiply the top part by 50 to get your potential payout, which in this case is $750. Fractional odds are often associated with futures, such as the odds to win the Super Bowl, horse racing, golf, and racing events.

Decimal Odds

The third option most commonly used to display the odds is decimal form. In this case, we’re essentially changing the fractions to decimals. If you remember your Grade 6 math, it shouldn’t be a problem for you. With decimals, calculating your payout is quite simple: just multiple your stake by the decimal odds to get your total payout. It’s the most straightforward way to calculate odds.

With decimal odds, the team or option with the smallest decimal number is the favorite, whereas the choice with the largest number is the underdog. As the numbers grow more prominent, those selections are more significant underdogs.

If you’re interested in converting American odds to decimal, you can use this equation when you’re dealing with a negative number. If a team is -110, you would take 100 and divide it by 110 (the odds). Then you add one to that number to get the decimal. In this case, you would get 0.909090, and then it would be 1.909090 after adding one.

Decimal odds are more prevalent in non-American markets. Many of the sportsbooks in the United Kingdom use decimals odds, as do the Asian markets. In North America, the American style of odds is the standard.