How to Read Odds in Sports Betting 2024

Are you attracted, but at the same time terribly confused by the world of sports betting,? We feel you. Most people who encounter such activities for the first time remain intrigued by the possibility of tracking and guessing the results of sports matches and the earnings that come from successful predictions. But also, as soon as they come in contact with a bunch of unfamiliar terms like odds, bookie, wagers, or hedging, their desire to indulge in it all slowly becomes fragile. This by no means should imply that one should give up – what matters is the will to explore deeper and develop a special kind of logic for such ways of thinking.

What are all these numbers scattered on the tables? Why are there so many of them and how do we know how to use them to make a profit? Well, here’s a mini-guide for understanding odd reading after which you should be much better acquainted with their purpose and importance.

What does this term mean?


Now that we understand that odds are an aspect that can largely determine the outcome of your betting venture, it’s time to get acquainted with the term itself and explain what it actually means.

According to SboBet, odds are the end product of complex mathematical and statistical research and estimates by bookies that represent the probability that a certain outcome will occur. A large number of factors are included in the process of their creation (tradition of mutual meetings, the form of the competition, significance of the match for an individual team, absence of key players, injuries, etc.). Each of these contributes on a certain risk scale to an appropriate extent to the final product – odds – that’s presented to the player.

Thus, we could say that they are the product of a certain type of evaluation that analysts perform in order to determine the possibilities that are more likely to bring a positive result more easily. It’s extremely similar to the notion of chance and is special for every sporting event. We’ll speak about high and low odds and their meaning is probably the opposite of what you just thought of.

When you hear the word ‘high odds’ as a complete layman, you’ll think that this also means a better chance of winning. However, the opposite is true – this means a higher risk of loss. Consequently, the lower ones have a lower risk of a bad outcome. If two teams (team no. 1 and team no. 2) play a game where it’s 1 to 3, it’ll mean that team no. 1 has a three times higher chance of winning, even though the number is lower. Do you understand the difference?

What are the types of odds?

This all together represents one term, but it is designated in several ways, depending on the location and part of the world. We mainly present them in three main ways:

  • As the decimal ones.


If your place of residence is Europe, it’s very likely that you’ll meet this type in every betting shop and even in some sportsbooks that usually show other types. Just as we emphasized when explaining the structure, if a team is predicted to have less chances to win, its decimal will be higher. This, of course, implies that you’ll be able to select a favorite by a lower decimal. The formula for calculating the potential winnings is obtained by multiplying the amount of your stake by a decimal of the chosen team.

  • As the American ones (better known as ‘moneyline).


As soon as you read the name, you can easily conclude in which part of the world these are the most popular. Apart from appearing in different locations than digital ones, they also have a different form – the decimal is converted into a number (a three-digit one) that has either a plus or a minus sign (+/-) in front of it. What do these two signs represent? Just as a smaller decimal symbolizes a higher probability of winning, so does a minus sign. If you see it in front of the number, it will indicate the special amount of money you need to invest to make a profit of $100, since the number 100 is taken as the standard, while the plus sign implies the amount of money that can become yours if you invest $100. They’re also used on Asian websites and online betting apps like – probably because of their universality.

  • As the fractional ones.


This is a traditional type that’s mostly specific to the UK and is most commonly used there. They’re presented in the form of fractions that need to be multiplied by our bet in order to get potential gains – similar to decimals. This can generally be easily calculated in the betting shop, they’re read in the same way as whole decimal odds, and will usually be applied in betting on horse races. Take for example two horses competing in the same race – Bones, with 10/1 and Honor with 7/2. You can conclude that Honor has an advantage here and then reconsider it as your potential favorite.

Should you follow odds blindly?


Nothing should be followed blindly. That’s what each and every experienced bettor knows. Just as it was said at the beginning, this is only about probability. It’s a big factor in the overall picture we can create and can significantly influence our decision, but it should by no means be the only thing we should look at. The reputation of a particular team or player can be constant and stable, but real bettors will know what are the factors that can unexpectedly unravel both the team, which can lose, and you.

For example, let’s say you expect a game and cheer for a football team that has recorded all the great results in the past who-knows-how many seasons, has amazing players and is definitely ranked high on all the top lists with low odds. However, if it happens that two, three or more players have certain obstacles related to their performance or injuries, it’s clear that the efficiency of the team will potentially decrease.

In addition, the overall performance during a specific match can be influenced by aspects such as the type of field, the personal orientation of the player on such a surface, the mood and the physical and mental condition of the player. So, it’s not all about numbers – a bunch of things related to this are based on additional research and monitoring changes. As long as you use the freedom of your personal judgment combined with odds, your ability to evaluate will improve and reading will open new doors for you and increase your chances of splendid winnings.

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