How to Read Sports Betting Odds

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Understanding Sports Betting Odds on Stake - Betting Odds Explained

Before you start betting on sports at Stake Sportsbook , you’ll need to know how sports betting odds work and how to read them.

We’ve created this guide to explain everything you need to know, ensuring you can place bets pre-match or live bets with confidence and have more fun at Stake.com .

What Are Sports Betting Odds?

When you use online sportsbooks like Stake to place bets, you’ll notice that every betting option has numbers next to it. These numbers are known as the odds, and they tell you how much you’ll win from your bet based on the amount you wager.

Aside from showing you how much money you could potentially win, betting odds indicate the likelihood of an outcome. They reveal the implied probability of a match outcome, something occurring within the match, known as a prop bet or the outright result at the end of the season. Less probable outcomes have higher odds, rewarding bettors with larger payouts if they win, while those that are more likely will have shorter odds, offering lower payouts to winning bettors.

Betting is all about risk vs reward. It’s important to balance that risk carefully when choosing your bets and to calculate your potential payout before deciding on your stake. It’s important to choose your bet sizes responsibly, and you can find more information in our responsible gambling guide . The way you calculate your potential profits will vary depending on the type of odds you choose to use.

What Are Different Types of Betting Odds?

Here at Stake, you can choose to display your betting odds in the format you prefer. The odds work the same whether you’re betting pre-match or placing live bets . There are lots of different ways to show the odds for a sports bet, each showing you how much you can win from a certain stake. However, they all look very different, and the calculation you need to use will depend on the type of odds you’re using. Here are the three main types of betting odds:

American/Moneyline Odds

American sports betting odds, also known as moneyline or Vegas odds, are most popular with American bettors. The system looks confusing at first, but it’s fairly simple once you know how it works. It operates using positive and negative numbers, and the + and - signs are used to differentiate them.

We outline all of the rules of a moneyline bets in our dedicated guide. Here are the basic rules:

Moneyline bets are where you pick a winner between two teams, there’s almost always a favourite and an underdog. The favourite team is displayed with a negative sign in front of the odds. For example, Boston Celtics -200

This tells you that the Celtics are favoured in their upcoming NBA game . However, it also tells you how much you’d need to bet in order to win $100 profit if the Celtics win:

  1. The number of the odds is how much you need to bet to win $100 profit.

  2. So -200 odds means you’d make a $100 profit if you bet $200 and the bet wins.

Teams that have a positive sign in front of their odds are the underdogs. They have a lower chance of winning, which also means bigger potential returns if you place a moneyline bet on them.

  1. For example, the Mavericks are +200 to win their upcoming game.

  2. You’d win $200 in profit if you bet $100 on them and they win.

  3. Of course, you don’t have to bet $100. Simply calculate your returns from the stake you want to place.

  4. For example, if you placed a $10 original wager on +200 odds, you’d win $20 in profit if it wins.

These odds can be used for any betting market, including spreads and totals. However, these markets are designed so that the odds are even. You can find out more about betting on spreads and over/under betting in our other guides too.

British/Fractional Odds

While American odds are popular to use and easy to understand, they’re not the only way to view the odds. In the UK and other parts of the world, fractional odds are used. These display the odds as a fraction, meaning you’ll have to think back to your school maths class.

A fraction is formed of two parts: the numerator and the denominator. The numerator is the number on the top or left of the line, and the denominator is the number below or to the right. For example, in a fraction of 7/2, the seven is the numerator, and the two is the denominator.

When looking at odds and working out your payout, the numerator is the profit you’d make from a winning bet if you bet the denominator as the stake:

  1. If you’re betting on soccer and place $2 on a team to win at odds of 7/2, you’d win $7 in profit if your team wins.

  2. You can calculate returns based on your initial stake with some simple maths.

  3. If you want to bet $10 on 7/2 odds, the denominator goes into your stake five times.

  4. Therefore, you multiply the numerator by five to work out your profit, which would be $35.

  5. Use this same betting calculator method for any sports you’re betting on.

European/Decimal Odds

Outside of the UK and USA, decimal odds are among the most popular formats for sports bettors. While the other two types of odds show you how much profit you’ll make from a winning bet, decimal odds tell you the total amount you’ll get back, including your stake.

Decimal odds are displayed as a number with up to two decimal places. For example, odds of 1.55 on the New Zealand cricket team to win their next match. It’s really simple to work out your payout from a winning bet, as you simply multiply your stake by the number:

  1. Let’s say you place a $10 bet at odds of 1.55.

  2. If your bet wins, you’ll receive back $15.50.

  3. That’s $10 of your initial wager and $5.50 in profit.

  4. Remember, if you’re using a sports betting promotion such as a free bet, your stake isn’t returned.

The larger the number, the higher the odds are. This means more risk and a lower probability of success, but bigger rewards if your bet wins. Read our full sports betting guide for more information on how to place bets and betting strategies.

Sports Betting Odds FAQ

What Does Plus and Minus Mean in Sports Betting?

The plus (+) and minus (-) signs are used in sports betting when using American betting odds. These tell you whether a pick is a favourite or the underdog and help you calculate your profits. Numbers with the minus sign are favourites and tell you how much you’ll need to bet to win $100. Odds with a plus sign are less likely and show you your profits if you bet $100.

What Does it Mean When Odds are Positive or Negative?

If you’re using American odds, the odds will have either a positive (+) or negative (-) sign in front of them. These are used to show the relative probability and help you calculate your potential profit. Positive odds are less likely and offer bigger payouts compared to negative odds. The negative odds are for the betting favourites.

How Do Odds Impact Payout?

There are many factors that will affect a payout from the vig to the the type of bet placed. The odds are key to knowing how much you’ll win from a bet. Higher odds mean a higher payout if your prediction is correct. By looking at the odds, you can calculate the profit you’ll make from your winning bet, though it will depend on the type of odds you’re using. You can increase the odds and potential payout of your bet by adding more selections, creating a parlay or a same-game multibet . I

If you're looking to learn more about potential payouts, use our guide to Expected Values and learn how to calculate the EV.

Responsible Betting & Stake VIP Program

No matter how you place bets on Stake Sportsbook, we have different wagering & terminology guides to help you out. We also encourage our community to utilise our Stake Smart resources like our Gambling Calculator , to help you remain in control.

If you’re a regular bettor at Stake, learn about the exclusive rewards you can access via the Stake VIP Club . VIPs have access to a dedicated host to enhance the online betting experience, as well as several other benefits like rakeback and reload bonuses .