We’d wager that the average person on the street has heard of ‘evens’ but they might not know exactly what it means or exactly what it relates to. Evens comes from the term “even money” which means that the amount you stand to win or lose in a bet is the same. You might also see it written as Evs, especially in the context of offers terms and conditions where the bookie is trying to save space.
Because the amount you’re risking is exactly the same as the amount you could potentially win, it makes calculating the payout from an evens bet incredibly easy:
You’ll notice that we’ve included a column for the total return, this is how much you’ll receive back from the bookie if your bet were to win. So if you placed a wager of £10 and won you would receive £20 back, made up of your £10 stake plus your £10 winnings.
Converting Evens to Decimal & American Odds
Evens is equal to 2.0 in decimal odds and +100 in american odds.
Evens is the Same As 1/1
Something else that often confuses punters is the fact that betting sites often don’t write Evens or Evs in their odds and instead use the fractional version of 1/1. It is exactly the same thing though, so when you see 1/1, it means evens.
What Does Evens or Greater Mean?
Most bookies will have a minimum odds requirement for the bet that you place in order to qualify for a free bet, and often these odds are Evens (Evs). When this is the case you’ll normally see the phrase “evens or greater” – this means that your bet needs to be placed at odds of at least evens, but can be anything above that (including 1000/1 if you wanted).
Spotting which bets count is pretty simple. If you’re using decimal odds then it’s anything higher than 2.00, and in fractional odds then any odds that have a higher top number than bottom will count.
Below you can see a real life example from some upcoming Premier League football matches. We’ve highlighted any odds that are over evens in green and any that are under in red:
Odds of Evens Does Not Mean a 50% Chance of Winning
One important distinction to make is that whilst evens refers to “even money” it doesn’t necessarily mean that the bet has a 50% chance of coming in, only that the implied probability is 50%.
Implied probability is something that can be calculated from the odds but it is different to the actual chance of something happening. This is because bookmakers like to work themselves a margin into the bet so that if something has a 50% chance of happening, they’ll pay out as if it were 47% (or something around that mark).
This is also the reason why adding up the implied probability of all possible options in a market will normally result in a number greater than 100%. The difference is the margin retained by the bookmaker, usually around 5% to 10%.
For a real world example of this we can look at a coin toss in cricket, which is something that many bookmakers allow you to bet on. We know that the true chance of each side of the coin being flipped is 50% but the odds for heads and tails when you’re betting on them are around 10/11.
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The difference between Evens, which would be equal to 11/11 and the actual odds of 10/11 is 1/11. And this is how much the bookie has decided to keep for themselves.
Adding up both the implied probability for heads and tails gives us a total of 104.76% (52.38% + 52.38% = 104.76%) which means that the bookies margin on this bet is 4.76%, meaning that for every £100 in bets that they take on the coin toss they would expect to make a profit of £4.76.
The full details of how to calculate bookmaker margins and implied probability is a little outside the scope of this article and covered elsewhere, but generally speaking unless you’re being offered the “true” odds then an even money be will have slightly more than a 50% chance of coming in.