April 17, 2019
You may have heard about matched betting through friends or family and how it can be a great source of income but may be put off due to never having placed a bet before or not knowing anything about betting in general. If you’re not familiar with betting then seeing odds in various formats may be confusing. This matched betting guide will explain how odds work in betting and what you need to know about them when matched betting.
What are odds?
Odds are a way bookmakers and betting exchanges use to display the probability of something happening. Probability is the likelihood of something happening. For example, if you flip a coin, there are two possible outcomes – heads or tails. Each outcome has an equal chance of occurring or if you give these chances a percentage, 50% each.
Odds are used to tell us how money much we will win if our bet wins and as percentages don’t help with that, bookmakers use either fractional odds or decimal odds instead.
Even if you’ve never placed a bet before, it’s more likely that you’ve come across fractional odds as opposed to decimal odds. Fractional odds are more common and are generally used in any advertisements you’ll see from bookmakers.
Examples of fractional odds may be:
- 2/1 for Arsenal to beat Liverpool
- 10/1 for Red Rum to win the Grand National
- 8/1 for Andy Murray to win Wimbledon
So, what do these fractional odds mean when betting?
It’s pretty easy to work out how much you’re going to win with fractional odds. If you place a bet with the number on the right of the odds, your profit will be the number on the left.
For example, if a horse had odds of 5/1 to win a race and you placed a £1 bet on it, you would make a £5 profit. You also receive your £1 stake back so from your £1 bet, you would receive back £6 from the bookmaker if your bet won.
If your stake isn’t the number on the right, you can simply multiply it by the number on the left. For example, if you were to place a £5 bet on a horse at odds of 5/1, you would make £25 profit (5 x 5) and would receive your £5 stake back.
Decimal odds work slightly differently to fractional odds in that they show you your total return from a winning bet with your original stake included rather than just your profit.
Examples of decimal odds may be:
- 3.0 for Arsenal to beat Liverpool
- 11.0 for Red Rum to win the Grand National
- 9.0 for Andy Murray to win Wimbledon
When using decimal odds, you simply multiply your stake by the odds and that will give you your returns.
For example, if you placed a £10 bet at odds of 6.0, you would get back £60 if it won. £50 profit + your £10 stake. If you placed a £10 bet at odds of 9.2, you would receive back £92. £82 profit + your £10 stake.
Odds format when matched betting
When matched betting, you need to use decimal odds when inputting your bet details into a matched betting calculator. We use decimal odds as both bookmakers and betting exchanges use decimal odds whereas only bookmakers have the option of fractional odds. Decimal odds are also generally easier determine which are higher or lower than each other which is useful when comparing the back odds at a bookmaker to the lay odds on a betting exchange.
For example, look at the following set of odds and see which set takes you less time to determine which are greater.
- 5/4 or 4/3
- 2.25 or 2.33
In fact, both sets of odds are the same.
- 5/4 = 2.25
- 4/3 = 2.33
However, 2.33 is obviously greater than 2.25 but it is not so easy to determine that 4/3 is greater than 5/4.
How to convert fractional odds to decimal
Occasionally, you may need to convert fractional odds to decimal when matched betting. You may need to do this if you are unsure how to change the odds format on a bookmaker website.
Thankfully, converting fractional odds to decimal is relatively easy.
Simply divide the fractional odds and then add one.
The fractional odds 5/2 would be 3.5 in decimal odds ((5 ÷ 2) + 1)
The fractional odds 8/5 would be 2.6 in decimal odds ((8 ÷ 5) + 1)