Understanding Sportsbook Odds | Uncustomary$

Different sportsbooks use different ways of expressing the odds on any given game but fundamentally, they all measure the same thing: how likely something is to happen and how much of a risk someone betting on a particular outcome or event is undertaking. They also serve to show you what your potential winnings might be in any given bet. Here is a quick guide on how to read and understand sportsbook odds and how to calculate your potential winnings and betting on the winning team.


Any odds expressed in a sportsbook when you gamble online are a numerical expression of probability. They’re a prediction of an outcome by the bookmakers based on the likelihood something is going to happen. Teams or athletes who are closer in skill and ability might have closer odds while those who are further apart in skill or have a lower probability of winning will have bigger odds. Most often, odds will be stipulated as a fraction or decimal representatiobettn. Ultimately, the smaller the chance of a particular outcome, the higher the stakes, and the more money you’re likely to win. Conversely, the more likely something is to happen, the lower the stakes and the smaller your potential winnings are.

What Do the Odds Mean?

Working out the predicted possibility of an outcome using the betting odds is quite easy. The basic formula to work out probability when looking at odds as a percentage is to add both together and divide the second number by the answer, and times it by 100. 

That means the formula is: Probability (%) = B / (A+B)

For example, odds of 4/1 mean a 20% chance of the event happening ((4 ÷ (4+1)) × 100) and inversely odds of 1/4 represent an 80% chance. Odds of 1/1 represent a 50% chance.

Calculating Potential Winnings

This is quite simple to work out. If you win the bet, for every multiple of the second number you wager, you’ll win the same multiple of A back, plus your initial bet. Considering our same example of 4/1; this means that for every $1 you bet, if you win, you’ll take home an additional $4. A $10 bet will mean a pay-out of $50 – your initial $10, plus winnings of $40. A bet calculator can calculate all of your potential winnings for you.

What If the Odds Are a Decimal Number?

If you’re faced with a decimal number as your odds, which are becoming more common, the calculation is made even more simple. Simply take your wager and multiply it by the decimal expressed in the bet slip. For example, stakes of 6.0 mean for every $10 you bet, you stand to win $60 from a win. Anything lower than 2.0, however, means you’ll be seeing a fraction of a return on your initial bet. Consider 1.25 as a win of just $2.50 per $10 wagered.

If you prefer the decimal option, many websites where you can gamble online give you the option of how you want to see the odds. 

Whichever way they’re expressed, the higher the multiple of money you stand to win from your initial bet, the smaller the chances of the bet being a winning one.