Last updated: 02/04/2024

How To Work Out Betting Odds: A Beginner’s Guide

How To Work Out Betting Odds: A Beginner’s Guide

With the invention of mobile betting sites, getting in on the action is easier than ever. Sports betting can elevate your enjoyment of the sport and enhance your sporting knowledge, and you might even earn a few pounds in the process.

However, don’t do anything if you don’t know how to work out betting odds! You must know what the odds mean before you place your first wager – and that’s where we come in. In this blog, you’ll learn how to calculate betting odds, the different types of odds, and how to place a successful bet. Ready? We are. Let’s get started. 

Understanding Odds In Betting 

The first step to placing any successful bet is understanding the odds. 

These figures show you the implied probability of an event or outcome occurring, and you can use this information to determine how risky the bet is. Probability is the likelihood of something happening based on research and past trends. For example, the probability of tossing a coin is 1/1, as there’s a 50% chance of heads and a 50% chance of tails. 

Alongside probability and risk, odds tell you how much bookies will pay if the bet wins. You weigh this up against the likelihood to see what you can potentially win if your bet succeeds. 

Odds come in three main formats: fractional odds, decimal odds, and moneyline odds. Fractional and decimal odds are the most common formats, as moneyline odds are only used in the US. 

Where Can You Find Sports Odds?

It’s all good and well to know how to work out odds in betting, but if you don’t know where to find them, you can’t get started!

You can find sports odds on online sportsbooks, offshore betting sites, in-person betting shops, dedicated odds websites, and sometimes in the sports section of newspapers and magazines. 

If you’re ready to explore the world of online betting, make sure you select a reputable sportsbook. Not all websites provide accurate odds. Look for websites with good reviews, genuine licences, and lots of betting options for a good experience.

Decimal Odds Explained

Before you learn how to calculate odds in betting, you need to know what type of odds you’re working with. 

Decimal odds are popular in Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. These odds are displayed with decimal numbers (e.g. 5.00), and the number shows how much a winning bet will return with the stake included. 

To work out your potential winnings, you must multiply your stake by the odds. For example, if you bet £1 on 5.00 odds, you’d get £5 back (including the stake) if you won.

Fractional Odds Explained

Fractional odds are another popular format. These are most often used in the UK and are associated with football and horse racing without GamStop.

As their name suggests, fractional odds are displayed as fractions using the slash symbol (/). The numerator (first number) represents the potential profit, and the denominator (second number) shows the stake. 

For example, 5/1 fractional odds show you’ll win £5 for every £1 you wager. 

How To Calculate Betting Winnings 

Once you’ve explored how betting odds work, you can calculate your potential winnings before spending any cash. This is important, as knowing potential winnings or losses helps you manage your bankroll and stops major financial losses.

Here are some general steps you can take to calculate your betting winnings:

1. Select Your Market

Don’t select any old set of odds. Examine odds across a range of betting sites to find the best deal. Some bookies offer better odds and more markets than others, so shop around before you commit to one. 

2. Examine The Odds

Next, examine the odds on offer. You need to know which type they are, as working out fractional odds differs from decimal odds. 

You should also determine whether you want to bet on odds with minimal risk or not. Higher odds can give big payouts but can also result in big losses.

3. Determine Your Stake 

After considering the probability of the odds, you should also consider how much you can spend. Examine your bankroll and consider what you can afford to lose. If you don’t want much risk, it’s best to choose lower betting odds. 

4. Calculate Potential Profit

Take the amount you want to bet and use it to calculate your winnings. 

You’ll have to multiply your stake by the figure for decimal odds. For example, for odds of 7.00, £10 x 7.00 = £70. 

For fractional odds, you need to look at the potential profit compared to the stake. E.g. 7/1 odds = £7 for every £1 wagered. So, if you wager £10, you receive a total of £80 (£70 winnings plus your original bet £10).

5 Tips For Betting Success

Calculating betting odds is a skill that you can build over time. But there are some helpful tips you can use along the way!

See our team’s favourite tips for working out odds below:

1. Learn To Convert Odds Formats 

You might find that you prefer decimal odds to fractional odds. Or perhaps you prefer reading fractions over decimals. Knowing how to convert the odds into your favourite format can help you read sportsbooks and betting sites with no GamStop quicker and find successful bets. 

You can convert fractional odds to decimal odds by dividing the numerator by the denominator. Then, you add 1 to your result. Take odds of 4/1. When you divide 4 by 1, you get 4. Then you add 1 for 5.00.

To convert decimal odds to fractional odds, you must subtract 1 from the decimal figure. Next, you use your result as a numerator over a denominator of 1. For odds of 5.00, this would involve: 5 – 1 = 4. Then, you take 4 and insert it into the fraction to get 4/1.

2. Consider Losses 

It’s only natural to want to focus on potential winnings. However, successful bettors also consider potential losses. There’s no guarantee your bet will win, so decide whether you can afford to lose your stake before you place the bet. 

If you can’t afford your bet, it might be time to step back and take some time off. Most betting websites offer self-exclusion periods, and you can also contact gambling charities for confidential advice.

3. Use The Unit System

Besides considering losses, many bettors use the unit system to divide their bankroll and make responsible bets. 

Units are small percentages of your bankroll (also known as your betting budget). Typically, a unit is 1-3% of your total bankroll. When you consider bets in terms of units, it protects you from big losses and makes your budget stretch further.

4. Start With Smaller Bets

Though it might go against your perceived image of success, many successful punters start with smaller bets. This allows them to practise their skills and build their winnings over time. Larger bets can yield big wins, but they can also result in significant losses.

5. Research Before You Wager

Finally, you should always research the sports before placing your wager. An in-depth knowledge of the game, the team dynamic, recent performances, and team rivalries will help you read the odds and analyse the possible outcomes.

You may even want to look at recent transfers, coach strategies, weather conditions, and injuries. All of these seemingly minor details can give you a huge advantage when you place your football not on GamStop wager!

Common Betting Errors You Should Know

Once you’ve covered how betting odds are calculated and memorised some helpful tips, you should also consider common betting mistakes. Our experts have collected the top mistakes they see to help you avoid them.

Top betting errors to avoid:

  • Making impulsive bets – Any bets you place should be well-researched and informed. Bets based on emotions (e.g. anger, stress, or excitement) aren’t as likely to perform well.
  • Chasing losses – After a series of losses, you might be tempted to up the stakes or place more bets to win back your money. However, his technique simply opens you up for higher losses, not bigger wins. 
  • Spending without bankroll management – Bankroll management is a strategy to protect yourself from financial harm. Betting without reviewing your budget can deplete your funds and lead to problem gambling.
  • Choosing the first sportsbook you see – Every betting site is different. Some offer high-value bonuses and generous odds, whereas others provide few betting markets and slow payouts. Read betting site reviews before signing up for one.
  • Chasing longshot bets without research – Yes, high odds can give big payouts. But they can also leave you with depleted funds. Think carefully before wagering on risky odds.

Conclusion: Start Betting With Confidence

Knowing how to work out betting odds is the first step towards an exciting sports betting experience. Practise your skills with low bets before you get started, and remember to always research the sport if you have little or no knowledge. Good luck!

Learn more about betting for beginners today. Visit the Non-GamStop Betting blog here.

Meet Our Team Of Gambling Specialists

Hello! I’m David Goldblatt, the lead author at I’m an experienced sports journalist who transitioned into making online gambling content in the mid-2010s. It’s something that fascinates me and I’ve always loved the way sports betting can make any event more exciting!

When I’m not researching the latest non-GamStop bookies, I’ll be playing football in the park or watching the local cricket club with my mates. I’m a massive advocate for responsible gambling, so feel free to message me if you need help. Other than that, I hope you enjoy my stuff and can find some trustworthy betting sites to join!