How do you calculate odds in football betting?

Betting is a large part of every sport, especially football, and understanding the odds is one of the fundamental parts that circle around successful betting. Betting makes watching sports like football more exciting, and at the end of the day, you can win some money. However, it is not as simple as it sounds. To become a successful football bettor, you need to dig deeper into the concept of betting and try to understand how the process works.  The first thing you need to learn is how football odds work and how to calculate odds. You can use the betting odds calculator by TwinSpires if you need assistance. 

How do Odds Work?

Most people imagine the odds of a given bet tell them it’s the probability, but that is not entirely true. Just to have a better understanding of the odds, we have to start by explaining how the odds are made.

Before bookies calculate odds, they have to take into account the probability of a certain situation happening in a sports event like the Super Bowl for example. After the probability of the outcome is analyzed by the bookies, they start to determine the odds.

The odds indicate the payout each person receives for a winning bet, and NOT the probability or true odds of it happening are. 

If the odds represented the true probability of some event, bookies would lose the majority of their profits since people would avoid bets with lower probability. For the betting process to work, the odds are set up in a way that allows both the bookmakers and players to get something out of it.

So, it is very important to understand that the betting odds and the probability of certain outcomes in a sports event are two different things. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider the odds, just because they can help you indicate other important things that can help you win more bets.

How to Calculate Odds

Before you can calculate the odds that will tell you the payout for a winning bet, first you need to understand the different odds formats. 

Odds Formats

When it comes to football, you’ll definitely encounter the Moneyline odds format, which is an American odds format used primarily in the United States. However, football odds may come in a different format depending on your region and bookie. 

The other two most popular odds formats are the Decimal and Fractional odds formats.


Since this is one of the most popular bets in football, we are going to dig a bit deeper and find out how to calculate odds. Such odds circle around the number 100, and cannot be less than 100. However, they can be positive or negative.

For example, if the odds for a football match are +200 and you want to place a $300 bet, you’ll end up winning $900. Basically, the +200 odds mean that you’ll get $200 for every $100 you wager.

On the other hand, if the odds were negative -200 and you place the same bet, you should expect a payout of $450. Odds of -200 are the same as 1.5 in decimal and ½ fractional.

To calculate your potential wins faster, you can use a formula for positive Moneyline odds, which is:

Initial Bet x (Odds/100) = Potential Profit

For all the people who don’t understand how the Moneyline odds work, they can easily convert them into Fractional or Decimal odds.

Moneyline Into Decimal

(Moneyline Odds + 100) /100 = Decimal Odds

Moneyline into Fractional Odds

Positive Moneyline odds can be transformed by putting them over 100. So, +300 odd will be 3/1. When it comes to Negative Moneyline odds the equation is inverted, for example, -300 will be 1/3.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are most common in European countries, and the system is very straightforward. Here there are no positive or negative odds, there is just a decimal number.

Decimal odds provide one of the easiest ways to calculate potential payouts, and you can do that with a simple formula.

Bet x Odds = Potential Wins

So, if you bet $100 on a 2.00 odd match, you’ll end up winning $200.

You can also convert decimal odds into standard US Moneyline format or Fractional odds by using these formulas.

Decimal to Moneyline odds

Decimal odds that are equal or lower than 2.00 result in negative Moneyline odds, so you can use this formula:

100 / (Decimal Odds – 1)

For decimal odds that are higher than 2.00 (which result in positive Moneyline odds) you can use this formula:

(Decimal odds – 1) x 100

If you want to convert decimal odds to fractional odds, you should use:

(Decimal Odds – 1) x 100, and the result should be placed over 100.

Fractional Odds

Last but not least we have fractional odds, they are most common in the United Kingdom. With that said, we’ve seen fewer bookmakers use such odds formatting nowadays. However, if you run into this format of odds, here is how to calculate them.

Fractional odds are just as the name suggests -fractions, ranging from simple 2/1 odds to more complex ones like 10/11.

Fortunately, there is a simple way to calculate fractional odds and you don’t need your old math textbook just yet.

Here is a simple formula that can help you calculate potential winnings using fractional odds. 

Bet x (Fractional Odds) – Potential Profit

For converting fractional odds into Moneyline odds, there are two equations since the odds can be positive or negative.

When fractional odds are higher than events, you can use this formula:

(Fractional Odds) x 100 and add the + sign in front of the number.

For converting Fractional odds into negative Moneyline odds, you’ll need this formula:

100 / (Fractional Odds) and add the – sign at the beginning.

Betting Calculator

If this sounds too complicated for you, you can always use a betting calculator that can calculate your potential winnings with a few simple clicks. 

Betting calculators are simple to use and all you have to do is add the type of bet you placed, the odds, and the amount of money wagered. After that, hit calculate and the betting calculator will give you your potential winnings.

Understanding how odds work can massively improve your betting strategy and decision-making. Remember, the probability of a certain thing happening or not happening will hardly be accurately reflected in the odds.

This means that you should not base your decisions on odds, even though they might indicate in some ways the outcome of the match.

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