Odds can seem a little overwhelming at first. With so much to learn about odds in betting, it almost feels like you need a university degree! But that doesn't have to be the case. American odds are relatively easy to understand once you've put in a little bit of time learning about how they work. Before we start looking at American odds a little closer, it's always useful to take a step back and look at the basics.
In sports betting, odds can be expressed in three formats: American, Decimal, and Fractional. Generally, gambling enthusiasts across the world prefer American odds due to their simplicity and ability to convey relevant information at a glance.
For any bettor looking to place bets overseas or get the best value for their money, it is important to understand the differences between each format.
Below we’ll break down how American odds work and how to read them.
American Odds Explained
American odds are the default betting lines used by American sportsbooks, as well as many offshore online sportsbooks. American odds are also known as US odds or Moneyline odds, and they are based on a $100 bet.
For example, if you see the New England Patriots listed at +155, that means you would win $155 on a $100 bet. Conversely, if you see the Indianapolis Colts listed at -155, that means you would have to wager $155 to win $100.
How Do You Read American Odds?
American odds are quite easy to read if you know the meaning behind numbers and the + and - symbols.
Odds with a plus sign (+) represent the underdog (or least likely to win), while odds with a minus sign (-) represent the favorite (or most likely to win). The favorite is always indicated by a minus sign (-) and the underdog is always indicated by a plus sign (+).
The number in front of a plus (+) represents how much you will win for a bet of $100. The number accommodating the minus sign indicates how much needs to be wagered to win $100.
Are Negative or Positive Odds Better?
As discussed above, negative numbers are reserved for the favorite on the betting line and indicate how much you need to stake to win $100. Conversely, positive numbers are attached to the underdog and refer to the amount you could win if you bet $100.
For example, let’s look at another tennis match between John Isner (+145) and Roger Federer (-180). If you were to place a $100 wager on Isner, you would earn a payout of $245 ($145 in winnings). Alternatively, a bet on Federer would require a stake of $180 to earn back $100 in winnings.
If you are certain of a winner, you stand to make more money on positive odds. When you bet on the bookies’ favorite, you generally have a better chance of winning but also get a lower payout.
How Do You Convert American Odds to Decimal Odds?
Decimal odds—favored in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada—make it easy to spot favorites and underdogs by looking at the numbers. Decimal odds represent the amount one wins for every $1 wagered.
To convert American odds into decimal numbers, follow this simple rule:
- If the American odds are positive, follow this formula: (American odds / 100 ) + 1 = decimal odds.
- If the American odds are negative, follow this formula instead: 1 - ( 100 / - American odds) = decimal odds.
How Do You Convert American Odds to Fractional?
Fractional odds are mostly used in UK and Finland. A fractional listing of 6/1 (six-to-one) odds would mean that you win $6 against every $1 you wager. In other words, this is the ratio of the amount (profit) won to the initial bet, which means that you will receive your stake ($1) in addition to the turnout ($6), resulting in a total payout of $7.
So, how do you convert American odds into fractional?
- If the American odds are positive, the formula is as follows: American odds / 100 = fractional odds.
- If the American odds are negative, the formula is as follows: -100 / - American odds = fractional odds.
With the knowledge of each betting format, it may still be hard to convert them quickly. That is why there are betting calculators available across the internet that help users quickly input their stake & odds in American, Decimal, or Fractional formats to calculate the payout for their bets.
The most common type of calculator is known as a bet return calculator. It helps you plan ahead by letting you know how much money you'll win on a certain wager based on the amount being bet and the odds associated with it.
What is Live Betting?
In the past, people could only bet on a game or event before it began. However, now that live betting has become more common, people can place bets as the game or event occurs. This has changed the way that people bet in a couple of ways.
First, it has changed the number of things that someone can bet on. For example, with the ability to place bets during the game, someone could bet on things like the halftime score or the number of fouls during a game.
Second, live betting changes the frequency with which you can bet. Because the odds are constantly changing throughout the game, it is possible for live bettors to respond to events as they happen and change their betting strategies accordingly.
Live Betting VS Pre-Match Betting
In pre-match betting, the bettor must make their bet before the event begins. Once the event has started, the bettor has to stick with it. This means that if you're watching a soccer match and you want to place a bet on a player scoring, you have to do it before the match begins.
In live betting, you can bet on that match throughout without having to get out of your chair. You can place a bet on whether or not someone will score within five minutes of the game starts, and then place another one ten minutes later if your first one doesn't come through.
You can even adjust your bets as events happen during the match itself—for example, you could increase your odds if one player scores two goals in quick succession. Live betting is more popular than pre-match because of its flexibility and ease of use.
Final Words On American Odds In Betting
Betting odds are a way for bookmakers and bettors to express the probability of one event occurring over another. Understanding odds, realizing how to convert them, and calculating which bets you should place is an important part of any wager.
Hopefully, this guide covering everything about American odds has helped you learn more about how these betting odds work.
Written by Sofi Grigoryan
Sofi Grigoryan is a content writer at Feedconstruct - the top company specialized in delivering sports data. Having a deep understanding of the sports data landscape, Sofi uses her skills to create both compelling and informative content.