What Does Match Odds Mean?

Going for the obvious right from the off; the basic meaning of ‘match odds’ are the odds applied to the two teams in a sporting match, relevant to their perceived chances of winning.

Naturally however, it doesn’t end there! Sport by sport and situation by situation, there will need to be two, three or four natural outcomes accounted for and things can be made all the more interesting by punters either adding matches into an accumulator to boost the prices, or by going a little more exotic or exact in their match betting.

Match odds almost always apply to ‘normal time’ only, i.e., over 90 minutes in football or 80 in rugby and not for extra time. To bet on a team winning regardless of whether that happens over 90 minutes, after extra-time or on penalties, there will be a separate market for ‘winning the tie’.

Football Match Odds

Match Odds Football Bet

In football there are three basic match odds shown to match the three possible basic outcomes; Team A wins, Team B wins, or the game is drawn.

The three-way match odds may be abbreviated in a variety of ways depending on your bookmaker or coupon. You may see HDA (home-draw-away), WDW (win-draw-win) or 1X2 – 1 always standing for the home team, X always meaning draw and 2 always meaning away team.

Typical 90-minute match odds in football will look like this:

  • Newcastle – 13/8
  • Draw – 9/4
  • Brentford – 17/10

This represents the likelihood of a close game, statistically speaking at least. Match odds however can always be made more interesting.

Punters for example can bet on Double Chance. Double chance means banking on any two of the three possible results over 90 minutes. So, based on the same game as above, Double Chance results may look like this:

  • 1X (Newcastle or Draw) – 4/9
  • X2 (Draw or Brentford) – 4/9
  • 12 (Newcastle or Brentford) – 1/3

Of course, these offer lower prices. To increase the odds, options such as HTFT (half-time, full-time) are also offered. This is based on punters predicting the result at half-time, and again at full-time meaning there are now nine options:

  • Newcastle / Newcastle – 7/2
  • Newcastle / Draw – 14/1
  • Newcastle / Brentford – 28/1
  • Draw / Newcastle – 11/2
  • Draw / Draw – 9/2
  • Draw / Brentford – 11/2
  • Brentford / Newcastle – 28/1
  • Brentford / Draw – 14/1
  • Brentford / Brentford – 7/2

Most punters aim for their team to be winning at half-time and full-time, pinning their hopes on their team making a fast start and then making it stick. The highest prices are always on one team leading at half-time before the other turns it around by 90 minutes, as this is very hard to predict accuratetly.

You can also bet on the result of the first half only, and also on draw no bet. Draw no bet offers much shorter odds for you team to win, which simply becomes void and offers your stake back if the match ends in a draw. Only the opposition winning in that case would see you lose the bet.

Match Odds in Other Sports

In test match cricket, up to four match odds are offered; Team A, Team B, the draw and the tie. This has to be offered as a ‘tied match’ means both teams finishing with exactly the same score, which is rare, while draws are very common.

In rugby, you can bet on the home-draw-away coupon, but once again draws are rare. In this case, most people stick to a match betting coupon with two odds, one for each team to win, but on the handicap.

A handicap spread is worked out based on which team is perceived to be stronger, for example:

  • England +1.5 – 10/11
  • South Africa -1.5 – 10/11

In other words, both teams are the same price but in the case of England winning the punter gets a 1.5-point head start. So, as long as England win, or lose by 1 point or less, the bet is successful.


We’ve touched above on some ways to vary your match odds betting. Once again with football in mind, here are the various ways in which you can bet on the basic 90-minute result of a football match without sticking only to the 1X2 odds:

  • Double Chance – betting on two outcomes (home or away win, home or draw, away or draw).
  • Result/Both Teams to Score – betting on the match result AND whether or not both teams will score.
  • Half-Time/Full-Time – the result at both half-time and full-time (9 options).
  • Handicap Results – backing one team or the other with either a head start, or with a deficit.
  • Draw No Bet – backing either team to win, the bet being voided if the match ends in a draw.

Bet Builders

Football Bet Builder

Another great way of using the match odds, often in conjunction with another element, is by using a Bet Builder.

Bet Builders let you essentially put together your own accumulator of bets on the same game, a unique multiple that wouldn’t ordinarily show on a coupon.

You may, for example, fancy Newcastle to make a fast start against Brentford and so may think they may lead by half time in what may be a high-scoring match. You may also believe Callum Wilson will score, but aren’t sure when.

Using a Bet Builder, you can select each of these bets and add them all to one multiple, the prices increasing all the time like this:

  • Player to Score – Callum Wilson anytime at 5/4
  • Total Goals – Over 2 goals at 21/10
  • Half-Time/Full-Time – Newcastle-Newcastle at 17/2

Like with any acca, the more selections you add the better the odds but also the higher chance of something letting you down.

With the most popular score in football being 2-1 however, betting on the home team to be winning at half-time and full-time, with 3 or more goals being scored including at least one by the home team’s star striker, isn’t such a wild punt.