Betting odds are a measurement of the probability that a bet will win. They can be expressed in three different ways: fractional (British) odds, decimal (European) odds and American money line odds. Regardless of the way they are presented, odds always indicate the chance that a bet will win. They don’t however, determine the size of a payout.
Odds can change in the lead up to, and even during, a sporting event. This is due to anything from a weather delay, injury to one of the teams or even the overall popularity of a bet. If more bets are placed on a certain outcome, the odds will lengthen (shorten).
When betting on sports, odds are important to understand because they can help determine which team is a favorite or underdog. Learning how to read odds can help you find better value bets and make smarter wagers. Odds also provide a good indication of how much a bet will return if it wins.
The easiest way to work out a percentage probability from odds is by using a simple formula. Divide the odds by the total payout and you will get the probability in percentage terms. There are many online calculators available to do this for you but it’s also possible to use pen and paper if you prefer. The odds are often displayed with two numbers separated by a forward slash (/) or, if American odds are used, they can be written with a plus or minus sign in front of them.