An Explanation of Sport Betting Odds


An Explanation of Sport Betting Odds

Some people like to refer to sports bets by high odds, or low odds. However, there is a lot of confusion between various English speakers on both sides of the pond as to the correct usage of these terms.

Some will say that higher odds offering you larger sums of cash for your bet, but with a lower chance of winning. Whilst they also say that lower odds offer you less cash for your money, but have a higher chance of success. Then you have people who insist that the terms are based on the odds of success, not the amount you can win. It is not difficult to understand why people are confused. Rather than preach to you about which is the correct usage, you can explain sports betting odds using two other terms which ensures that there is no confusion.

Short odds

Most professional sports betting fans will use the term short odds to describe any bet that is likely to happen. For instance, if you have odds on a football match, and Team A is 2:1 to beat Team B, then you would say that Team A has short odds to win. Basically, the odds offered on Team A are in agreement with Team A being more likely to win.

Long odds

Using the same example as above, if Team B has odds of 10:1, then you would say that they are long odds. This means that Team B doesn’t have much chance of success. By using these two terms instead of the low/high odds terms, you can save any confusion in the sports betting world.

Other vocabulary

As for the other terms, Odds-On doesn’t necessarily mean the favourite, but simply something that is more likely to win than not with odds less than evens. Evens is another term you may wish to know, and it simply means any bet that is placed at 1/1 (or 2.00). Lastly, if something is an Outsider, or an Outside-Bet, it is a bet that experts don’t generally think will win, but a lot of interest is being drawn to it. Sometimes outsiders may be referred to as dark horses.

A few other terms may be useful when speaking about odds. Each Way for instance, is a type of bet in horse racing, which can see you win a prize even if your horse does not necessarily win the race. Sometimes this is known as a Placed Bet. Totes are pooled bets (dividends), and they need a lot of looking up before you decide to wager on them. Very basically, they involve betting into a pot (totalisator) and sharing up the winnings between the winning tickets. Think of Totes as being run like a lottery, and you’re good to go. On the Nose is another horse racing betting term, and it means to wager on a horse to win.

Fractional or Decimal?

Another common problem with sports betting odds is whether to use fractional or decimal odds. In the United Kingdom, most sportsbooks prefer fractional odds, but you often get a choice as to which you want to use. Fractional odds appear as fractions, for instance 2/1. Decimal odds appear like this 2.00. A lot of people prefer decimalised odds, because they are always displayed to the pound. It is somewhat trickier to work what you’ll receive, when betting on an event with fractional odds of 8/3, or instance.

Most sportsbooks will actually allow you to choose between both major formats, so it really is a case of whichever your preference is.

At the end of the day…

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether you prefer decimalised or fractional odds. Nor does it matter if you use the terms high/low odds, or short/long odds. Most sportsbooks refrain from using those names, anyway. All that matters is that you know what you are referring to, and you know how much you can win when you place a bet.

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