# How Do Betting Odds Work? An Overview of Sports Betting Odds

People have been betting on sports for as long as the sports themselves have existed. However, it wasn’t until the 20th century that sports betting (or bookmaking, as it was known in the UK) really took off. Thanks to the invention of the internet, sports betting has become a global pastime, and many people around the world have found a way to bet on their favourite sports events. Before we explain how odds work, let’s take a quick look at why people love to bet on sports.

## All Sports, All The Time

People want to bet on sports because they believe there is truly something magical about being able to bet on a game. Unlike other major sports such as soccer or baseball, there is no set number of games per month or season in most sports. This means you can follow your favourite team or player 365 days a year. No matter what time of year it is, you will always have the opportunity to bet on sports.

On top of that, many sports don’t even have set game times. These kinds of sports enable fans to bet on them at any time, even if it’s the middle of the night in Australia, UK, or another country. This gives them the opportunity to follow the action even when the games aren’t being played.

It’s clear to see why people love to bet on sports, but how exactly does betting work?

## The Mathematics Of Bookmaking

In order to properly understand why bets are set the way they are in sports books and online betting sites, it is important to know a little bit about probability and statistics. This is particularly important if you want to place consistent, rational bets based upon an accurate understanding of the sport in question. In most cases, sports fans will be unfamiliar with the mathematics behind sports betting (known as ‘bio-statistics’ in the UK) and this can make it very difficult to understand why a bookmaker has set the odds they have before a game, event, or series.

However, with careful consideration, it is possible to understand how betting odds work and why they are set the way they are. Let’s take a look at how statistics and probability work together to give us an idea of the odds before we start betting:

## The Odds Of Winning

Imagine you are watching a game between Liverpool and Man United. Liverpool are currently 2.0 favourites to beat Man United with the price going up as the match gets closer. As you might expect, most people are backing Liverpool as a home win, while Man United are being supported as a draw. This is because most people feel that Liverpool have the better team and are more likely to win the game. In fact, Liverpool’s chances of winning this match are 2.0 to 1.0.

In this particular scenario, the chances of Man United beating Liverpool are 50/50. This means that if you were to back Man United instead of Liverpool, you would be placing a bet that was half-likely to pay off. In other words, you would be placing a sucker bet. In general, the chances of a home team winning are always bigger than those of an opposition team. This is because the home team has an extra advantage and, for whatever reason, the bookmaker has decided to give it to them. When it comes to football, the favourite team is always going to win the match 7.0 out of 10 times.

## The More Experienced Team

Home advantage is an important factor that impacts the odds of a game. In addition to this, it is usually the case that the more experienced team wins. This is why Liverpool are the 2.0 favorites in the previous example because they are more experienced than Man United. They also have an extra year of training under their belts compared to Man United, who are coming off a season in which they missed the playoffs entirely. This is significant because it means that even though Man United have lots of talent, they are still learning how to play as a team and how to deal with adversity. In experienced sportsbooks, this means that Liverpool’s chances of winning are always going to be favoured over Man United’s.

## Over / Under Odds

In all forms of betting, including sports betting, there is an important distinction to be made between ‘over’ and ‘under’ bets. An over or under bet is where you put a bet that a certain number will be exceeded (in the case of an over bet) or undershot (in the case of an under bet). For example, if you were betting on the number of goals scored in the upcoming match, you would be placing an over bet because you believe the number of goals will be higher than the number of goals scored in the previous match. Over bets are fairly straightforward because the outcome is clearly defined. In the case of a soccer match, the number of goals will usually exceed the amount staked.

Under bets are a bit more complicated because the outcome is not completely known. For example, in the case of a soccer match, it is not possible to know how many goals will be scored until the game has actually taken place. The same goes for under bets in other sports. This makes it very difficult to place rational under bets because you don’t know how the game is going to turn out. In other words, you don’t know if you are going to win or lose. In this case, the bookmaker has the edge because they know something you don’t – namely, which team is going to win the match! This is why under bets are usually restricted to professional gamblers. In the vast majority of cases, you are much better off avoiding them altogether.

## Straight Wagering

In straight wagering, each team is given an equal chance of winning. This is most commonly seen in horse racing where each horse has an equal chance of winning regardless of whether it is a known fact that the jockey is a slow starter or a fast finish. When it comes to straight wagering, the favourite team is not always going to win. This is because there is no advantage to be had from backing a team consistently. Instead, it’s often best to back a team only when you feel there is a significant advantage. In the case of horse racing, this means waiting until the speed of the different horses is revealed before you make a decision. Only then, once the jockey’s and the horse’s speeds are known, can you make an informed decision about whether or not to bet on them.