Decimal, fractional and American odds

Sports-Betting-Odds

  1. Decimal odds
  2. Fractional odds
  3. American odds

For a side by side numeric comparison see our our odd conversion table with probability.

The first thing to understand is the difference between payout and profit. When you put a bet on you give your stake to the sportsbook. If you win the sportsbook will give you your stake back and pay you your profit. You can’t count getting your stake back as profit because it was yours to begin with.

If you bet 1 mBTC at even money and the bet wins

Stake 1
Profit 1
Payout 2

stake + profit = payout

Decimal odds

Decimal odds are the most common odds format in the modern online era. Decimal odds are great because they are simple and let you do calculations easily. Think of it like the metric system, it is superior but some old timers and Americans stubbornly refuse to use it.

The odds will be your payout for every unit you stake. If the odds are 1.32 you will get back 1.32 mBTC for every 1 mBTC you stake. This payout includes your stake of 1 mBTC and profit of 32 mBTC. Here are a couple of examples.

Decimal odds 1.32
Stake 1
Profit .32
Payout 1.32
Decimal odds 12
Stake 1
Profit 11
Payout 12

Odds of 2.00 are “even money” because if you bet 1 mBTC you will either lose 1 mBTC or win 1 mBTC.

The two other main odds formats are inferior and less common than decimal odds; they are fractional odds and American odds. These odds types are outdated and sportsbooks that show one of these odds types will also have the option to displaying decimal odds instead.

Fractional odds

Fractional odds are expressed as two numbers with a / in between like a fraction. Think of it as winnings/stake. The first number is the amount you will win if you stake the second number. This could also be expressed as the second number is the amount you would need to stake to win the first number. If you add both numbers up that is the payout you would get by staking the second number.

For example fractional odds of 4/6 means you would win 4 mBTC by staking 6 mBTC, so if you stake 6 mBTC and win your payout will be 10 mBTC. This is made up of your 6 mBTC stake and 4 mBTC winnings.

Fractional odds 4/6
Stake 6
Profit 4
Payout 10

Even money would be written as 1/1 but instead is called “evens”.

American odds

American odds are either expressed as a negative (-) number or a positive (+) number.

Negative (-) numbers are used for bets of less than even money, such as a favourite to win in a two outcome market. A negative (-) number is how much you would have to stake to win 100 mBTC. Odds of -220 means you would have to stake 220 mBTC to win 100 mBTC. So if you staked 220 mBTC and won, your payout would be 320 mBTC, made up of your 220 mBTC stake and 100 mBTC winnings.

American odds -220
Stake 220
Profit 100
Payout 320

Positive (+) numbers are used for bets at greater than even money such as for an underdog to win. Positive (+) numbers are how much you will win if you stake 100 mBTC. Odds of +480 means that if you stake 100 mBTC and win, you will win 480 mBTC so your payout would be 580 mBTC made up of your 100 stake and 480 mBTC winnings.

American odds +480
Stake 100
Profit 480
Payout 580

Even money could be written as +100 or -100.

Further reading

For a more in depth look at odds and if you are getting good value from your sportsbooks see our article Understand odds as probability with overround.

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2 Comments

  1. Luke 10 months ago

    What makes decimal odds superior to American? I can calculate all three after years of practice but there is something very soothing about the presence of the + in front of my number. While that be a silly childhood blanket attachment on my part, what makes it inferior? What advantage does decimal pricing come with for the book or the player?

    • Author
      James Canning 10 months ago

      Decimal odds are simpler and therefore easier to understand and bet with. Try explaining both to a n00b, they will get decimal odds almost straight away, it will take a lot longer for them to get American odds.

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