If you are new to sports betting, you may be overwhelmed by the countless options that greet you when you visit a bookmaker’s website. There are dozens of sports, each with a handful of betting options. But perhaps the odds are the most confusing for the newcomer, especially because 12bet and other bookies display them in at least three different formats: decimal, fractional, and moneyline. These all look completely different – but in fact, all of them express the exact same thing, only in a different way. Decimal odds express the total amount you’ll get if your bet is successful, fractional odds express how much you win against your wager, and money line odds express how much you have to bet to win a set amount. Here, let us explain.
Decimal odds, often called European or continental odds, express how much money you will get if your wager is successful. Note that this type of odds refers to the total amount – this means both the money you wagered and the amount you won.
For example, if the odds displayed by the bookmaker are 1.3, and you win, you will pocket 1.3 times the amount you wagered. For example, if you bet $100 on the Green Bay Packers and they win, you get $130 back – the $100 you originally wagered, and the $30 that represents the profits you made.
A look at the odds posted by the bookmaker also indicates the probability of each outcome for an event – the higher the odds, the riskier the bet. For example, if the Green Bay Packers have odds of 1.3 and the New York Jets have odds of 2.5, it’s obvious that the Packers are the favorite (the less risky option).
Fractional odds, also known as British or traditional odds, are usually used by British and Irish bookmakers, especially on horse racing. They are usually displayed as fractions (e.g. 5/1) or with dashes (e.g. 5-1). Fractional odds express the ratio of payouts compared to your stake.
For example, if the odds are 5/1, and your wager is successful, your winning will be composed of the profits (5 times your stake) and your stake. So, for a $100 bet, you’ll get a total of $600 ($500 is your winnings, $100 is your original stake). Also, if the odds are 5/6, the same successful $100 bet pays out $83.33 (5 divided by 6 is 0.8333) plus your stake of $100, so you’ll total will be $183.33 in this case.
The lower the amount you win against your wager, the “safer” the bet is. For example, if the Green Bay Packers have odds of 5-1, and the New York Jets have odds of 5-6, the Jets are the favorite (the less risky option for you and the bookmaker).
Moneyline odds, also known as American odds, are a bit more complicated. They can be expressed as either a negative or a positive number, and they express:
- In the case of odds with a (+), the amount you’ll win for a $100 stake
- In the case of odds with a (-), the amount you have to stake for a $100 win
For example, a bet on the Green Bay Packers at odds of +133 indicates that you can expect to win $133 for a successful bet, plus your stake of $100 for a total of $233. A bet on the Jets, in turn, at odds of -210 means that you’ll have to wager $210 to win $100 (in this case, your total will be $310). The same $100 bet at odds of -210 will only pay out $47.62 for a total of $147.62 (stake plus winnings)
These numbers also indicate the favorite and the underdog: the option with the (+) is the least likely to win, while the one with (-) is more likely.