Sports betting has been around for centuries or perhaps even millennia. It’s likely that people have made their way to a track or field and placed a bet on who they thought would win for almost as long as sport itself has existed.
However, how does betting work? What use is reading patterns when betting, and how do you know if you have a decent shot at winning? This post will dive into how odds are calculated, explain the different odds types, and how you can bet.
Odds and Probability Explained
What odds are and how they affect your bet can be cut down to a relatively simple explanation. The odds you are given are the chances the bookmaker has provided for a specific team or athlete to win.
For instance, Team A plays Team B; Team A is the stronger team between the two. Therefore they will be given odds of 1.5, for example. Team B is much weaker than Team A and will consequently be given much higher odds, 5.0, for example.
The stronger team, or the team more likely to win, will always receive lower odds as it is assumed they will win. Therefore a win for the bettor is more likely. You get much higher odds for betting on the underdog, as they are most likely to lose.
How Odds Are Created
Odds creation begins with analyzing data. Bookmakers will often have experts such as traders and data professionals analyze all possible data associated with a particular game and the players involved.
They will then use computers and data analysis to determine if certain things are happening, like most likely to win, scoring the most goals, or shooting the most three-pointers. Once the odds are confirmed for the outcomes of the given events, the cash flow is calculated next.
More algorithms are then run to determine how much cash is expected for each game and outcome. Bookmakers do this to ensure that each outcome has the correct odds, and players can’t take advantage of mistakes.
The margins are then calculated, the bookmakers combine the odds and the cash flow projections and then adjusts accordingly to ensure they have competitive odds, but they can still earn money. This is how bookmakers make their cash by adjusting the margins.
There are three different types of odds you will come across, American odds, UK or Fractional Odds, and Decimal or EU Odds. The kind you will come across when betting on American sport will obviously be American odds.
American odds are often called Moneyline odds, and they work slightly differently from the typical way of betting, which involves just picking a winner.
Moneyline bets will always have a plus or minus sign and then a number attached. The odds for the favorites will have the minus sign, and the number that follows will tell you how much you need to bet to win $100. Therefore, if the favorites are at -300, they are the overwhelming favorites to win, but that’s how much you need to bet to win $100. On the other end of the spectrum, the underdog will have a plus sign associated with their number. If the underdog has odds of +950, that’s how much you would win for every $100 you bet.
Fractional odds are seen in the world of horse racing, and they are pretty easy to understand, too, with only a level of basic maths needed. With fractional odds, the favorite will receive odds of 1/ 5 for instance.
This means that for every 5 you bet, you will win 1. In the case of the underdogs, you would get odds of 5/ 1, which means for every 1, you bet you will win 5. The only thing to remember is that the first number is the payout, and the second number is what you must bet to win.
European odds are widespread across Europe, Australia, Canada, Africa, and the rest of the world. These are the odds you are more than likely to come across if you aren’t betting on American sports.
Euro odds are much easier to understand, and the favorite in the game will have much lower odds compared to the underdog. For instance, if Manchester City is playing against a tiny club, they will get odds of 1.1. Meaning, you take what you bet, multiply it by 1.1, and that is how much you would win if City wins. The underdog, in this case, the severe underdog, would receive much higher odds, for example, 7.5. The equation is the same; multiply your bet by 7.5, which is what you will win if the team wins.
While you can bet on single events, you can conjoin bets together in something known as an accumulator. An accumulator is simply placing one bet on the outcomes of multiple events. You bet $50 on six teams you have chosen to win their games; if they all win, you win; if one loses, you lose the bet.
Accumulators are popular due to the almost unbelievable odds you can get. If you refer back to Euro odds, if you have five games where three teams have odds of 2.5, one team is at 3, and another at 6, the total odds are all those numbers combined, 16.5.
Therefore, a bet of $50 would win you $825. Accumulators may have great odds, but they are also far riskier. One wrong result will end the entire bet, but guessing right will net you a large win.
Odds work through a complex number of algorithms that take almost everything into account. The list goes on to how a team performed the week before, how each player is performing, where they are playing, etc.
It is essential to understand how odds work as it will determine when you bet, how much you bet and help you understand the risk involved in betting.