No matter your knowledge of a particular sport or event type, betting cannot be done without reliable odds being formulated. As punters, it behoves us to understand the odds in order to be successful. Odds, put simply, are the price of a selection. They show the theoretical chance a horse, football team, tennis player or any other selection has of winning.
The confusing thing for some is that there are two main types of odds shown: fractional odds and decimal odds. There is no difference between the two in terms of value, however, how they are displayed differs and it’s important to remember which is which when you are betting with certain bookmakers or pools. We show you how to convert between fractional and decimal odds.
Fractional odds are the most common in the UK and Ireland. They are displayed as 5/1 or 7/2, for example. There are various ways to remember what this means. 10/1 means ‘ten to one’ – i.e., if you put £1 on and win, you win £10. At 5/2, you simply can do the maths. 5 divided by 2 is 2.5, so your bet is essentially 2.5 to 1. A successful £5 bet on a 13/2 shot pays £37.50. It’s worked out like this: 5 x 13 / 2 + 5 = 37.5.
As always, you get your stake back on top of your winnings. This is an important point to remember with fractional odds, as no theoretical stake is included in the ‘price’, though that differs with decimal odds as we’ll discover. So, as a fraction, 4/1 is easy to work out. On occasion, however, you will see the fractions appearing to be the ‘wrong way around’ – i.e., 2/5. These are known as ‘odds-on’ bets.
When the price of a selection is less than even-money, or 1/1, it is known as odds-on. So, a 4/5 shot is essentially a 0.8 to 1 shot. Never worry though, you get your stake back so even a winning odds-on bet still gives us a net win. Most of us bet online these days. With that, just keep an eye on the bet slip as you place your wager. This will show you the potential winnings when you place the bet, but nevertheless it’s important to understand fractional odds to keep on top of things.
Calculation to Remember
Remember this simple calculation: Stake x Times First Number ÷ Divided by Second Number + Plus Stake = Total Return
Following the above, a simple £10 bet on a 10/1 shot is: £10 x 10 / 1 + £10 = £110. The other way you’ll see odds displayed, however, is in decimal format.
Ask someone from mainland Europe, Australia or North America and they may tell you that they can’t understand why fractional odds are even used! They are actually very simple and once you get used to what a 15/8 or 4/7 shot is, they even help with your day-to-day maths skills.
In many territories, however, as well as in pool betting, such as on the Tote, decimals are used instead. In fairness, decimals are very easy. Instinctively, you know that a 4.75 shot is a bigger price than a 3.50 shot, simply because it’s a bigger number. There is no ‘working out’ to do! The key question is, what do those numbers actually mean?
Well, in decimal betting a theoretical one-unit stake is included in the odds. So, a 5.50 shot is the equivalent of a 9/2 chance. If you put £1 on a horse at 5.50, then that is the total you’ll receive. Taking the one unit stake off just helps you understand it’s chances of winning – i.e., 9/2.
A £5 win bet at 6.50 pays a total of £32.50, simply: 5 x 6.50 = 32.5. The key with decimal betting is remembering that the stake is included. So, an even-money shot is 2.0. Anything below that is odds-on, essentially anything with a 1 in the price – i.e., 1.50 – is the equivalent of a 1/2 shot.
How to Convert Between Fractional & Decimal Odds
Most online bookmakers will offer both fractional and decimal odds. This is to accommodate people from various betting territories. You can swap them over using the settings once you’re logged in. Go to your preferences to change from fractional or decimal or vice-versa.
If you are used to one way and want to work things out in another, you can always remember to convert the fractional odds into a decimal and then simply add one:
4/1 = 4+1 = 5.00
2/5 + 0.4+1 = 1.40
A Quick Conversion Chart
Here are some popular fractional odds used in sports betting, with their decimal format odds next to them for easy reference: