There are many different ways prices/odds can be represented.
The three most common are – decimal, fractional and moneyline odds.
1 – European Odds (decimal) eg 2.05 or 13.0
2.05 in decimal means if you bet £1.00 and your bet wins, the ‘payout’ or ‘return’ is £2.05 – this means a profit of £1.05.
Similarly if you bet £50.00 at 2.05 and your bet won, the return would be £102.50.
The return or payout should not get confused with profit. The return or payout includes your stake, where as the profit does not.
2 – British Odds (fractional) eg 3/1 or 10/3 (pronounced ten to three)
3/1 in traditional odds means if you bet £1.00 and your bet wins, your profit is £3.00 – meaning your return/payout is £4.00. It is important to remember the difference between this and decimal odds.
3 – American Odds (moneyline) eg +120 or -110
Moneyline odds are either positive or negative.
A negative moneyline number is the amount you need to bet to win $100 and a positive moneyline number indicates what you will win if you bet $100.
If you bet $150 dollars on a selection with a moneyline of -150 and it wins, you will win $100 ($100 is your profit) plus you will be returned your stake of $150 so your payout will be $150 + $100 = $250
If you bet $100 on a selection with a moneyline of +$130 and it wins, you will win $130 plus get you stake of $100 back.
It is advisable to choose an odds system that works best for you. For most beginners or people new to gambling, that is decimal. You should then adjust the settings on all your bookmaker accounts so you never get caught out. For example (as you should already know) – 7/1 is not the same as 7.0
Converting Between Different Types Of Odds
If you have followed the advice in the box above, there is no need to read this.
Decimal To Fractional –
Eg . decimal = 3.5
First minus 1, 3.5 – 1 = 2.5
Then convert to fraction, 2.5 = 5/2
So 3.5 (decimal) = 5/2 (fractional)
Fractional To Decimal
Eg fractional = 10/3
First divide the numerator by the denominator, 10÷3 = 3.33
Then add 1, 3.33 + 1 = 4.33
So 10/3 (fractional) = 4.33 (decimal)
Beginners based in the UK are advised to stay away from moneyline odds as they can get confusing. The conversions between them and decimal and fractional can be found easily on a simple google search.
Link To Probability
The theoretical probability of a bet winning is easy to calculate when in decimal form. It is simply 1 divided by the price or odds.
Eg 3.0 implies there is a 1/3.0 = 33.33% chance of the selection occurring (according to who ever priced it!)
To calculate this for fractional odds simply convert it to decimal odds and use the same method just mentioned.
Bookmakers use what is called a book over-round on any given market they offer. For example in a tennis match (no draw possible) if two players are equally likely (in the bookmakers opinion) to win the odds should be 2.0 or 1/1 (also called evens). Bookmakers will often price both players between 1.90 and 1.96. Using this method over a long period of time, the bookmaker should always generate a profit.
Arbitrage can occur when the total sum of the probabilities for an event equals less than 100%. These prices rarely last for long and bookmakers are quick to spot when their prices are out of line with the rest of the market.
Types Of Bets
Over the years more and more types of bets have become available to customers. The simplest and most common are outlined here.
1 – Single – Simply betting on one selection to win.
Eg. Betting £20.00 at 1.40 that Man Utd will beat West Brom
If Man Utd win you win, if not (West Brom win or it’s a draw) you lose £20.00
2 – Double – Betting two selections will win
Eg Betting £20.00 on Man Utd beating West Brom & Chelsea beating Arsenal.
If both selections win, your returns will be your stake times the odds of Man Utd to win times the odds of Chelsea to win. It Many Utd are 1.40 and Chelsea are 2.40 and you bet £20.00 – your return would be £20.00 x 1.40 x 2.40 = £67.20
Link to probability – In the above example the implied probability would be calculated as such: 1.40 x 2.40 = 3.36
So the implied probability of both selections winning is 1/3.36 = 29.8%
3 – Trebles & Accumulator – In principal exactly the same as a double except with a treble you are betting on three selections to all win and on an accumulator, more than three selections to all win.
With the above mentioned types of bets, it’s important to remember if any of your selections lose, your whole bet loses. Note if a selection for any reason is void, then your bet still stands but without that selection in it. So if you had a treble, it becomes a double or if you had a double, it is now a single and the odds will be adjusted accordingly.
4 – Full Cover Bets – There are many of these with lots of different names. They are in effect wagers consisting of all possible doubles, trebles and accumulators across your selections. Names include – Trixie, Yanke, Canadian, Heinz, Super Heinz & Goliath.
5 – Full Cover Bets With Singles – These are similar to Full Cover Bets but as the name implies contains singles on you selections too.
The simplest is a Patent – This is a wager on three selections and is made up of 7 bets: 3 singles, 3 doubles and 1 treble. Note here if a selection loses, your whole bet has not lost as 2 singles, and a double can still win.
Others include Lucky 15, Lucky 31, Lucky 63 and Alphabet
Bookmaker vs Exchange
A bookmaker offers customers bets in the form of backs. If you bet on something to win, you are backing it. On an exchange you can also back selections but you also have the opportunity to act as the bookmaker and lay a bet. In this scenario you are betting against something happening.
If you lay a £10.00 at 2.50 and the selection loses, your lay bet will win. Therefore you are up £10.00 (less commission). If it loses, you lose £15.00. (£10.00 x (2.50-1.00) = £15.00)
Bookmakers make their money by book over-rounds (mentioned on Introduction To Betting). Exchanges make money by charging commission on any winning bets – be it either a back or a lay. This commission rate varies and often decreases (better for you) the more you win on the exchange.
The simplest form of arbitrage occurs when you can back a selection at a bookmaker and lay if off on an exchange at a profit, even after paying commission.
Odds on exchanges are mostly displayed in Decimal form. To calculate the true odds of a back you should do the following:
Take the odds, say 5.2 and minus 1, giving 4.2. Then times by 1 minus your commission rate so say for 5%, that would be 1-0.05=0.95. Then times this number by the number from earlier so 4.2×0.95 = 3.99 and then add the 1 back on so 3.99+1.00 = 4.99
For a lay bet this is not needed as you don’t pay commission on losing bets, but if you win, you simply pay commission on the stake laid. So if you lay £10.00 and you win, you pay commission on £10.00.
Finding The Best Odds
Finding the best odds manually can be long and very unpractical. More often than not, the best odds can be found at the biggest and most reputable bookmakers. These bookmakers are listed on the tab above labeled ‘Bookmakers’. Sites such as bettingbetting and oddschecker can also be very useful.
How To Fund Your Accounts
All major bookmakers accept a variety of different payments. These include using different types of bank cards, bank transfers but most importantly online wallets. Moneybookers and Neteller are great ways of keeping your money online and available to use quickly. These online wallets can make deposits instantly and speed up how long it takes to receive your money back following a withdrawal. They can also help keep a record of how much money you have to bet and how successful you have been as opposed to using a bank account which funds other parts of your life, where all your money is together and can get mixed up.
Which online wallet to go for is dependent on a number of factors. Before deciding, be sure do a thorough online search.
Most beginners at some stage will make a mistake. This is why it is important to start of with small stakes. Try to keep calm and think of a way out of it. You cannot cancel bets once they have been placed so be careful, but for example, if you bet on the wrong tennis player, you could double up on the player you wanted to bet on initially although the odds in effect would be lower due to the amounts staked.
Betting on handicaps can be confusing and beginners often bet on the wrong side by accident. Using the example above to get out of it can be even more risky in the event that there is a draw and both sides of the bet lose. BE CAREFUL!
Avoid betting on prices that are obvious bookmaker errors as most of them have the right to void any such bet. This often outlined in their terms and conditions and ends up just being a waste of your money and their time.
Gamble Responsibly and keep records of wins and loses
Keep your usernames and passwords safe
Search around for the best prices before betting
Bet to your strengths and stick to what you know
Follow the news and do research before betting
Look for patterns in sports and look for good value bets
Have fun while betting on your own account
Look online for help when mistakes are made
Gamble with money you can’t afford to lose
Let under 18’s bet
Expect to win every bet
Bet on markets you don’t understand without research
Expect every tip you hear to be a winner
Try arbing on suspicious markets or your account will get restricted
Open accounts in other peoples names
Expect streams of sports matches either on TV or the internet to actually be live – that’s impossible