Beginner

How do odds work?

Odds indicate the probability of an event occurring. This will, in turn, allow you to work out how much you can win if your bet comes through. Odds are the backbone of sports betting as it sets the value of each sports bet.

How do odds work

How do American odds work?

American odds focus on indicating your potential return based on 100 units. American odds, or money odds as they are also known, will follow this format.

  • plus (+) odds
  • minus (-) odds

If a number has a plus in front of it then you know that you will win that amount for ever $100 you wager.

If a number has a minus in front of it then you know that you have to wager that amount to win a $100.

At bettingscanner.com we are all self-proclaimed sports betting geeks, so we have equations we use to work out odds.

Frequently asked questions about sports odds

What do odds of +200 mean?

Yes. It is now legal to bet on sports online in the US. However, each state still needs to decide whether to allow sports betting. Currently, New Jersey, Nevada and Pennsylvania have legalised sports betting and have sportsbook ready to receive your bets.

What do odds of +800 mean?

The plus means that they are favourites but the high number indicates that the sportsbook does not see this as a sure thing. You can work out what your potential winnings would be by using the plus odds equation (your stake x 800) / 100. So a $20 stake would get you (20 x 800) / 100 = $160.

How do odds work in football?

Odds work in football just like any other sport. The plus and minus will indicate the favorite/underdog and the number will indicate how much you will win. You can check out our guide on betting on the NFL to know more.

How do odds work in NFL?

There are a number of different forms of betting that are popular with the NFL. These include moneylines, points spreads and teasers. To understand and find the best value in NFL odds, you can look at our page about sports betting on the NFL in the US.

How do odds work in NBA?

The NBA is a popular league to bet on. To understand and find the best value in NBA odds, you can check out our guide to the best sportsbooks in the US for betting on the NBA.

How do odds work in horse racing?

Betting on horse racing is almost as old as the sport itself. The odds for horse racing work just as with other sports in the US. The plus and minus will indicate the favorite/underdog and the number will indicate how much you will win.

How do odds work in UFC?

Betting on the UFC is becoming increasingly popular as the sport goes from strength to strength. IN a UFC fight the plus and minus will indicate which player is the favorite/underdog and the number will indicate the return you will get.

Do you say odds, vigs or Juice?

Odds are effectively a probability that indicates how much you will stand to win by backing an outcome. It is a general term that can also just be used in English to express probabilities outside of the gambling world. Juice and Vigs refer to the commission or cut that a bookmaker takes from your wager.

Calculating Odds

To calculate minus moneylines you can follow this formula:

Winnings = (your stake / minus moneyline odds) x 100

So let’s turn this into an example.

You want to place a sports bet on an NBA game: Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Miami Heat are strong favorites. However, you have followed the Philadelphia 76ers and they are in form. Miami Heat have also picked up a couple of injuries. You sportsbook is offering the following juice:

  • Miami Heat +200
  • Philadelphia 76ers -200

You see value in placing a $20 moneyline bet on the 76ers at odds of -200. They go ahead and win, this is how you can work out how much you will get:

  1. Winnings = ($20 / 200 ) x 100
  2. Winnings = (0.1) x100
  3. Winnings = $10
How to calculate plus moneyline odds
Winnings = (your stake x plus moneyline odds) /100

Let’s use the same example as earlier for this one, but this time you want to back the favorites, Miami Heat at odds of +200. You place the same wager of $20. Miami Heat do what was expected of them and beat the 76ers, this is how you can work out how much you will get:

  1. Winnings = ($20 x 200) /100
  2. Winnings = 4000 / 100
  3. Winnings = $40

Understanding betting lines

Now we have learnt how to calculate betting lines and how they work. It is important that you understand what they mean to you as a sports bettor. They set the price so it is essential that you have a proper grasp of what the numbers entail.

To understand betting lines you must first have decided how much you want to wager. When you know this amount, you will able to work out potential winnings when you look at the lines. Once you know this you need to research the event you want to bet on. Once, you have got a good grasp of all the variables, you can start trying to find value in the lines.

When you find value in betting lines, you feel that the potential winnings you can get from your stake is worth the risk of betting at those odds.

The most important thing to remember when looking at betting lines are the following points:

  • A negative indicates that a team or player is the underdog
  • A positive indicates that a team or player is the favorite
  • The lower the number next to a negative odds, the more you will win
  • The higher the number next to the positive odds, the more you will win

Points spread betting odds explained

Don’t be put off by the complicated name, if you have mastered moneyline bets then you should be fine with points spread betting. To start off they will use the same base of assigning a plus and minus. That’s the good news, then things get a little more complicated…

Once a favourite has been decided by the sportsbook, so a plus, they will give them a handicap. This handicap will reflect to what extent they expect them to win by, or how many points, hence the name.

If we use the same example as above. Your sportsbook could give Miami Heat a 5 point handicap meaning the odds could look like this:

Miami Heat +5 (-100) Philadelphia 76ers -5 (+100).

The advantage to these odds is that it can reduce the win/loss expectation and provide a more level playing field. So, placing a wager on the favorite will offer you better juice.

The good thing about points spread betting odds, is that it provides a third outcome, a draw. With a straight up moneyline bet, you also face a slight disadvantage, like with the green in roulette, where you lose even if it is a draw.

Let us say you back Miami Heat to win at points spread of +5(-100) and a wager of $10

  1. Miami Heat win by more than 5 points. You win $10.
  2. Miami Heat win by 5 points. Your $10 is returned.
  3. Miami Heat win by less than 5 points or lose. You lose you $10 wager.
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