# How Does Odds Work in Betting?

Odds determine the ratio of winning to losing on a given wager. For example, if you back the Chicago Bears to win the Super Bowl this year, the odds favor the Bears (2.73). On the other hand, if you bet on the Eagles to win the Super Bowl, the odds are in favor of the visitors from Philadelphia (2.2). Knowing how odds work can help you make better betting decisions. Let’s explore how.

## Understanding The Odds Structure

The odds for a given game or sports event are usually listed as a decimal or fraction (e.g., 2.73 for the Bears). That is, they are not always rounded to the nearest integer (e.g., 3 for the Bears). You’ll often see odds given for baseball, basketball, and hockey, which is to be expected since those games typically have a number of outcomes, allowing for more variation than a straight up win or lose game. If you’re not sure what decimal odds mean, think of it as a fraction where the numerator is the number of possible winning outcomes and the denominator is the number of possible losing outcomes. So, if there are four possible winners and five possible losers, the odds would be 0.4 (20% chance of winning).

Decimal odds can also be represented with a fraction where the numerator is the number of possible winning outcomes and the denominator is the number of possible losing outcomes plus one. For example, the basketball odds for the 2019 NBA Championship are 5.32 (5 wins for the Lakers, and 32 possible outcomes, including 0 losses).

## The Difference In Odds

Odds change frequently in a given year. The most recent example is the 2020 Kentucky Derby, which had 14.45 (14+1 wins for Audible Doctor and 1 loss for Awesome Again). This compares to the 2019 Derby, which had 13.03. So, if you’re looking for long-term betting trends, it’s best to either look at odds from a previous year or visit the relevant website to obtain the most updated odds. This is important because even though the decimal odds for the 2020 Kentucky Derby are the same as those for the 2019 Kentucky Derby (5.32), the winning percentage is much higher in 2020 (69.22% compared to 55.45% in 2019). This is likely because more people are interested in the 2020 Kentucky Derby than the previous year’s event due to the prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic (in North America).

## How Do You Calculate The Odds For A Multiple Bet?

If you’re participating in multiples (bets on multiple teams), it’s important to keep in mind the odds of those teams. For example, if you were betting on the Super Bowl this year and also wanted to know what are the odds for the New Orleans Saints and the Arizona Cardinals to win, you would have to divide the odds by two since there are twice as many teams in the Super Bowl as in the NFC Championship.

## Odds In Relation To Moneyline And Pointspread

It’s important to know how odds relate to moneyline and pointspread betting, which can be confusing considering the differences in the way people bet on horses compared to sports events. In order to facilitate betting on virtually any sporting event or competition, bookmakers will often list the moneyline and pointspread odds for that game. So, if you’re looking to bet on the Toronto Blue Jays, you would need to look at their moneyline odds first (because they are the highest), and then you could use the pointspread to make your decision (since the Blue Jays are a point-spread underdog against the Tampa Bay Rays).