Calculating Odds in Sports Betting

In sport betting, odds are not always as straightforward to calculate as one might first think. Consider, for example, a simple bet on a soccer game. You make the wager, the bookmaker calculates the odds, and you receive your winnings or loss. But what if the favorite team wins by a score of 5-4? In that scenario, you would have suffered an unexpected loss because you did not take into account the difference in the number of goals scored. In other words, if one goal were worth, say, five units at the bookmaker’s, then you would have lost the bet since four goals were scored.

To keep things simple, let us assume that your chosen bookmaker offers single matches with an equal number of teams taking the field. Furthermore, let us assume that your chosen sport is association football (aka soccer). In that case, you have two options when it comes to calculating your odds. You can either use the traditional method, or you can use the money line method. Of course these are just examples and the specifics may vary by sport and by bookmaker, but the concepts should remain the same.


With the traditional method, you would begin by looking at the current line for the particular match in question. Let us assume, for example, that the total score of the match is 3-3. You would then add or subtract relevant numbers as necessary to arrive at a total number of goals. Finally, you would calculate the odds based on the total number of goals. For example, if there were three goals in the match, then three would be the denominator and 2 would be the numerator in the fraction calculation (i.e., 3/2 = 1.5).

The advantage of this method is that it is easy to understand. You do not have to do any fraction calculations, and you avoid the pitfall of adding up numbers in your head. However, there is a potential downside to this method. If your chosen bookmaker does not offer goals scored as individual units, then you will have to resort to approximate conversions. But since goals tend to occur in bunches, you can usually get away with it. Still, it is important to remember that if the match ends in a tie, then your odds will be exactly the same as if there were no goals scored.

The Money Line

The money line method has the obvious advantage of taking into account the actual score of the game. In most cases, the money line odds will be prominently displayed on the table or within the site’s software in order to avoid any confusion. When placing your bet, simply look at the money line to see if the favorite team’s odds are better or worse than the opposing team’s odds. If they are the same, then you will have a 50% chance of winning the bet. If the money line favors the opposing team, then you will lose the bet regardless of the actual score of the game.

The advantage of this method is that you will always know exactly what you are getting into. Furthermore, you fully take into account the quality of the teams and the general dynamics of the game (i.e., who are favorites and who are underdogs). Still, one should not forget that the money line method does have its shortcomings. As was the case with the traditional method, if the match ends in a tie, then your odds will be the same as they were if there were no goals scored.

Why Are Odds Important To Know?

Odds are important because they can affect the amount of money you will win or lose on a bet. To give you an example, let us say that you bet $100 on a soccer game and the bookmaker’s odds are 2.0, then you will win $200 in total since $100 x 2.0 = $200. But if you bet the same amount on a game with odds of 3.0, then you will only win $150 since $100 x 3.0 = $150.

In the first example, you would have gained $50. In the second example, you would have lost $50. In both cases, you would have suffered a profit or loss, but the amount will be different depending on the odds.

In summary, you can gain or lose money based on the odds of the game. But you can usually get away with it as long as you keep things simple. Still, it is always better to be safe than sorry, especially in matters concerning money. This is why it is important to know the odds before placing a bet.