Sports Betting: The Math Behind Betting Odds as Probabilities

Sports Betting: The Math Behind Betting Odds as Probabilities

Are you a sports betting pundit? If so, are you experienced at calculating betting odds? Or, are you perhaps a new or inexperienced gambler? Thus, are you only starting on your online gaming journey?

One of the most important aspects of any gambling activity is the understanding and interpretation of the betting odds offered as these odds are based on the probability of a specific team or individual winning or losing the match.

Thus, by way of explaining how betting odds are calculated, let’s consider the following points:

The math behind betting odds: An introduction

Shehryar Sohail from, states the following:

“The math underlying odds and gambling can help determine whether a wager is worth pursuing.”

In other words, to determine whether it is worth risking any money on a bet, it is necessary to understand the mathematical calculations that determine the odds on a wager.

Thus, gaining an insight into these calculations is worth the time as it will save money and grow your bankroll. Succinctly stated, the higher the number of winning wagers placed in relation to the overall number of bets placed, the higher your profitability levels will be.

At this juncture, it is vital to note that you cannot place successful wagers if you have not signed up with a legitimate online sportsbook. The reason for the need to open an account with an online bookmaker is that there are a number of “fly-by-night” or fraudulent operations whose aim is to steal bettors’ personal information and the money paid into their bankroll.

Consequently, it is worth looking at an online sports betting review site like to choose the best sportsbook that suits your requirements.

Types of odds

There are three types of betting odds:

American or Moneyline odds

These odds are represented with a + or – sign. And, the + symbol indicates the underdog or the lower probability event. While the – symbol indicates the team of individual that is most likely to win the event.

Decimal odds

These odds are a representation of the amount that is won for every $1 (USD) that is wagered. For example, if it is 10.00 for a particular team to win a sporting event, then the payout will be $10 for ever $1 wagered. So, if you risked $10 on a winning bet, you will receive $100.

Factional odds

Fractional odds are also known as British odds or traditional odds, and they are represented as a fraction. If we consider the example where the decimal odds are 10.00, the equivalent fractional odds are 10/1. Thus, again, for every $1 bet, the payout will be $10.

Final thoughts

These three types of betting odds can each be converted to one another. This statement is highlighted in the section on Fractional odds.

Finally, each type is also a representation of the probability of one team or individual winning the sporting event. The best example of this, once again, the fractional odds is the most straightforward example of the probability of a specific team or individual winning an event.

Also, if we consider the example of the 2019 Wimbledon Finals between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, the odds of Djokovic winning were -215 to Federer at +178 as indicated in the American odds format. In other words, the implied probability was that Djokovic had a 65.5% chance of beating Federer in the final.

About Haider Ali Khan

I'm an Independent Cyber Security Researcher, a geek who loves Cyber Security and Technology.