Betting Odds
For those sports bettors interested in wagering on NFL teams and matchups, need to know even the most basic aspect of betting, the odds. The odds are the chances that the sportsbook, oddsmakers, or even the public perception, gives each team of scoring and winning. Learning to understand the odds can drastically help a bettor when making a wagering decision, whether they are going for the Favorite or the Underdog; a “sure” bet vs. a larger payout.
Types of Odds
There are three basic types of odds, American, Decimal, and Fractional.
American Odds
American odds are represented by whole number, usually in the hundreds.
Indianapolis Colts +125
Decimal Odds
Decimal odds are just that, decimal numbers.
New England Patriots -1.25
Fractional Odds
As the name implies, these odds are given as a fraction.
Green Bay Packers 3/2
Understanding the Odds
The odds given to a bettor on any online sportsbook represent the chances that NFL team has of winning the match or championship.
American and Decimal Odds
Seeing that the American/Decimal odds are given as a single number, the bettor must take into account the symbol in front of the value. The + symbol represents the Underdog, the team that does not have as good chances of winning. The – symbol represents the Favorite, the team that is expected to win the match. The numeric value in front of these symbols, represent the level or degree of chance the team has of winning; also used to determine the payout.
For American odds, the higher, furthest from 100, the number is in front of the + symbol, means that the chances of that team, the Underdog, winning are low; the chances decrease as the number increases. As for the value in front of the – symbol, the opposite effect happens. The chances of the team, the Favorite, of winning increases as the number increases.
For Decimal odds, the Favorite and Underdog symbols are used just to inform the bettor of that relationship. The numbers are a separate entity. If the number is closest to 0, that means the chances of winning are higher, while the number gets further from 0, the chances of winning decrease.
Fractional Odds
Fractional odds do not need any symbols to inform the bettor of which team is the Favorite and which team is the Underdog, the numbers do that. When there is a NFL matchup between two teams, the team that has a fraction closest to 1, or larger than 1, is the Favorite, while the other team is the Underdog. The chances of a team winning increase as the fraction gets closer or larger than 1 (3/2 is better than 2/3), and when the fraction gets further from 1, the chances of winning decrease.
Calculating the Payout
Determining how much a bettor will win based on the odds is very a very simple process to calculate. All the bettor needs to do is pick which type of odds they want to use. For the purpose of this, we will use all three types of odds.
American Odds
When going to an online sportsbook and looking up the NFL match, the bettor will see something similar to this:
Green Bay Packers -110
Chicago Bears +180
Based on the values, the Packers are the Favorite and the Bears are the Underdogs. The Packers have a (-110), making it very close to 100, which means they are given very good chances of winning. The Bears, on the other hand, are given a (+180), which is pretty far from 100, making their chances of winning much lower.
To calculate the payout, the bettor needs to realize that the method is different concerning the favorite and the underdog.
Team |
Odds |
Amount to Wager |
Payout |
Green Bay Packers |
-110 |
$110 |
$100 |
Chicago Bears |
+180 |
$100 |
$180 |
Simply take the number is front of the Favorite, and that is how much money the bettor needs to wager in order to win $100. The bettor just needs to wager $100, in order to win the value the Underdog is showing. There is a difference in calculation, but as long as the bettor remembers this conversion is should be easy.
Decimal Odds
Decimal odds are much easier to calculate, they may require a calculator if using obscure numbers.
Green Bay Packers -1.25
Chicago Bears +3.75
Team |
Odds |
Amount Wagered |
Calculation |
Payout |
Green Bay Packers |
-1.25 |
$125 |
($100 * 1.25) = Amount needed to wager |
$100 |
Chicago Bears |
+3.75 |
$100 |
$100 * 3.75 |
$375 |
With decimal odds, in order to figure out how much is needed to be wagered to win $100 on the Favorite, the bettor would multiply the payout amount by the odds, and that would be the amount the bettor needs to wager. The Underdog calculation is easier, simply multiply the amount wagered by the odds, and that is the payout.
Note: Favorite calculation, $1.25 need to be wagered to win $1. Underdog calculation, for every $1 wagered the bettor wins $3.75.
Fractional Odds
This would have to be the easiest type of odds to calculate a payout, as it the fraction determines the payout for both the Favorite and the Underdog in the same way.
Team |
Odds |
Amount Wagered |
Calculation |
Payout |
Green Bay Packers |
3/2 |
$120 |
$120 * 2 / 3 |
$80 |
Chicago Bears |
1/5 |
$100 |
$100 * 5 / 1 |
$500 |
To find the payout of either teams, simply take the denominator (number on the bottom) and multiply by the amount wagered, and then divide by the numerator (number on top), that is how you get the payout.
Note: Using 3/2 means, for every $3 wagered, $2 are won. Simply put, the fraction means (Amount wagered)/(Amount won).
Example of Sportsbook Odds
This is just an example of how the odds would look like at any of the online sportsbooks there are on the internet. For this particular case, we will be using the odds found at the Bovada Sportsbook and be using American odds.
Time |
Team |
Odds (Money Line) |
7:30 PM |
New England Patriots | -310 |
Tampa Bay Buccaneers | +260 | |
8:00 PM |
Chicago Bears | +140 |
New York Giants | -160 | |
8:00 PM |
Seattle Seahawks | -160 |
Kansas City Chiefs | +140 |
The regular odds of teams winning or losing are under the Money Line bet. Bettors should also learn more about the different types of bets as it will increase their chances of winning a bet and getting a bigger payout.
For more odds and betting lines visit Bovada.lv
“Sure” Bet vs. Bigger Payout
The bettor would determine, from calculating the odds and payout for each team and matchup, whether they want to go with less risk, less reward or more risk, more reward. As you can see the payout is much larger if the Underdogs win, but the chances of them winning are much less. It works in the opposite manner for the Favorite. They have much better chances of winning, but the payout is much less; the investment is also higher.
It all depends on how confident the bettor is, based on their research and analysis. The only question the bettor has to make themselves after the match is over is, “Would you do the same thing again if you were given a second chance?” The answer may reflect how confident they were on their decision; it also influences the bettor’s satisfaction in their decision.