Betting odds: How to read American Odds, Decimal odds, and Fractional odds

Betting odds format is often a question of preference. It is also about which format a bettor prefers and which is the easiest for them to read and understand.

The betting odds format often varies depending on the part of the world you live in. The three most common betting odds formats are American, decimal, and fractional. You may be wondering, what is the difference? How do you calculate returns for each format and convert one format to the other? Zcode System aims to help you learn.

American odds

American odds are most commonly used in North America. These are often seen during the NFL, NBA, or MLB seasons. Bettors from Europe or Asia can be left confused over the odds format.

American betting odds are expressed indicating a return relative to a 100 unit base figure. If there is a minus (-) you wager that amount to win a hundred dollars. If there is a plus (+) you win that amount for every hundred dollars bet. The team with a minus (-) in front of its odds is the favorite. The team with a plus (+0) in front of its odds is the underdog.

Example: Kansas City Chiefs (-100) vs. Denver Broncos (+300)

The Chiefs are the favorites in this example, meaning you need to wager $100 to win $100 back. In contrast, a $100 wager on the Broncos would return $300.

Decimal odds

Decimals odds are used just as widely as American odds. One of the advantages of decimal odds, especially when compared to fractional odds, is that you can instantly tell which team has the higher or lower odds.

Due to the simplicity of decimal odds, many bettors prefer to use them rather than American or fractional odds.

Example: New York Mets (1.82) vs. Atlanta Braves (2.75)

The Mets are the favorite in this example and your $100 bet would lead to a profit of $82. A breakdown of the bet looks like this: Original bet $100 x Decimal odds 1.82 = Potential Winnings $182 (net profit $82)

If you back the underdog Braves to win, your $100 bet at odds of 2.75 would lead to a profit of $275 for an Atalanta win

Original Bet $100 x Decimal Odds 2.75 = Potential Winnings $275 (net profit $175)

When using decimal odds, note that your original stake is calculated into the potential winnings. To get the profit, just subtract the original stake from the return.

Fractional odds

Fractional odds are often used when describing the odds on sports but may be more commonly used by European sports betters. Odds in the fractional format are very simple to calculate because they are in fraction form.

The denominator or bottom/the second number is the amount you stake. The numerator or top/first number is the amount that your wager will win if successful.

Example: LA Lakes 10/15 vs. NY Knicks 5/1

In this example, if you are betting on the Lakers, then for every $150 wagered, the potential net profit is $100. If you win the bet, your original stake will also be returned, which amounts to $250 ($150 wager plus $100 in profit).

A wager on the Knicks (the underdog) of $100 would lead to a potential return of $500 in winnings. In total, the bookie would pay you back $600 ($100 wager plus $500 in profit).

Betting, odds, and more

Typically speaking, the team with the lowest betting odds has the highest win rate. Sportsbooks offer lower odds on the teams that are more likely to win which keeps them from paying out more money to winning bettors. Most bettors will wager on the team with lower odds as they are more likely to win. Shopping around for betting odds and using aggregator websites give you the chance to hunt for competitive odds and get the best value.

What is a value bet? It is a bet in which you believe the chances of the outcome are better than the odds produced by the sportsbook. If you can consistently make value bets then you will make a profit.

How to convert betting odds into probability

Zcode System’s odds converter allows you to convert odds from American to decimal to fractional with ease. The Zcode System odds converter also allows you to discover the implied probability of winning the bet. This is a great tool to use to help you decide on whether a bet is likely to come off or not.

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