Betting Odds, Lines and Spreads

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How betting odds work

The three main types of betting odds are fractional (British) odds, decimal (European) odds, and American (moneyline) odds. These are simply different ways of presenting the same thing and hold no difference in terms of payouts. They represent the probability of an event to happen and therefore enable you to work out how much money you will win if your bet wins.

Fractional Odds are mostly used by British and Irish bookies. A fractional listing of X/Y (X-to-Y) odds would mean that you win X against every Y you wager (in addition to receiving the amount you wagered back) in addition to the profit (X). Total Return = [Stake x (Numerator/Denominator)] + Stake where numerator/denominator is the fractional odd.

Decimal Odds, are used in continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The decimal odds number represents the amount one wins for every $1 wagered. Total Return = Stake x Decimal Odd Number

American (Moneyline) Odds are used in the United States. The odds for favorites are accompanied by a minus (-) sign, indicating the amount you need to stake to win $100. Meanwhile, the odds for underdogs are accompanied by a positive (+) sign, indicating the amount won for every $100 staked.

To sum it up: Fractional odds are the ratio of the amount (profit) won to the stake; Decimal odds represent the amount one wins for every $1 wagered; and American odds, depending on the negative or positive sign, either indicate the amount one needs to wager to win $100 or the amount one would win for every $100 staked.

Now, there are also different types of bets:


Moneyline is the easiest type of bet. In a Moneyline bet, you bet simply on who will win the game. Simple as that. This form of betting odds focuses just on who will be the outright winner. Here is an example. Team A’s odds are 1.66, while Team B’s odds are 2.4. The first thing you need to pay attention to, is if any odds is above 2. The team with 2 or above odds, is the underdog and considered to be the loser. In this case, Team B. This means they can potentially earn you a higher payout if they manage win. Depending on whether it's below or above 2, it's got different meanings. With odds set at 2.4, Team B offers a $140 payout for every $100 bet on it. An odds below 2 means the team is favored to win. The number indicates how much you would need to wager in order to win $100.

Point Spreads

The point spread is just another form of betting odds, quite similar to a Moneyline bet. The difference is that in addition to predicting who will win the game, the point spread includes a margin of victory. In certain cases such as in Dota 2 and Counter-Strike GO, there is a huge difference skillwise between the two teams playing. In those cases, betting the moneyline is quite obvious, because it is clear that one team should beat the other. That’s when the point spread comes into play, as the oddsmakers will set a line where there is a margin of victory. For example, imagine that two teams, Team A and Team B, are facing each other. Team A has odds of +10.5 while Team B’s odds are -10.5. In this case, Team B is favored to win. Just like in the Moneyline bet, the negative sign before the number indicates who is expected to win. The number represents the expected margin of victory. If you bet on Team B, you need them to win by more than 10.5 points for you to cover your bet. That means they need to win the game by 11 points or more. If you bet on Team A, that means they can lose by 10 points or less, or win the game, and you still win your bet. It’s a way of evening the playing field, even if one team is highly favored to win over the other one. If, during the actual game, the margin of victory lands exactly on the spread, it is called a push or a tie, and no one wins the bet. In this event, you would simply get your money back. Point spreads will also have moneyline odds attached. Just like in a Moneyline bet, this number indicates what the payout will be in the case of a win. For example, the spread and odds for Team B might be (-10.5, 1.66). This means that Team B is favored to win by more than 10.5 points. Simple, right?

Prop Bets

Prop bets, or “proposition bets”, can be on literally just about anything. From an individual player’s performance in a particular game to who will win an event. Prop bets generally refer to anything that is not directly tied to the outcome of the game. They can be over/under bets on how many times a player does something, or they can be bets on which team will do better in general on a certain topic. For example, in a Dota 2, the oddsmakers may set the odds for which team will get more kills. In the end, a prop bet can be on just about anything. Whatever an oddsmaker can imagine, can become an interesting prop bet.