How to Count Odds in Bets – A Quick Guide

As a sports bettor, one of the things you’ll be doing a lot of is counting odds. You’ll be doing this either verbally or on paper. The process is often the same – simply take the odds on one race, then add them all up. While this seems easy enough, there are actually multiple formulas used to calculate these odds. Many people choose to use a book to keep all their formulas and odds in, but that’s a bit much to carry around. It’s much easier to use a calculator.

Fortunately for you, we’re going to walk you through the process of counting odds so you can do it more quickly and easily. In this article, we’ll go over how to count odds using a formula and explain some of the common terms used when doing so. Once you’ve got that down, you can move on to safer and more profitable sports betting. Let’s get to it.

What Is It?

Odds are simply the chances of one event occurring, expressed as a ratio. For example, a betting firm might offer 3:1 odds on the favorite in an NFL football game. This means that for every $100 you bet, you’ll win $300 back. It’s quite a good deal, right?

If you think about it, most sporting events are actually pretty simple. There are only a few key probabilities to consider – the spread (the total number of points scored by both teams), the over/under (the total number of minutes played), the weather, and the time (for day games). From there, you can compute the winning probabilities for all the teams involved based on their records, skill levels, and experience. The formula is quite simple, really:

  • Odds = (Team 1 Points) / (Team 1 Points + Team 2 Points)
  • The decimal points here don’t matter, just that it’s somewhere between 0 and 1
  • The result is always a ratio
  • You’ll usually want to use an “Odds to Beat” calculator to determine your winning percentages
  • The process is often referred to as “figuring the odds” or “counting the odds”
  • The formula is the same for all types of sporting events, from football to baseball
  • The only difference is the units used – usually points in sports and runs in other genres

In most cases, you’ll be using American football as an example, but the theory behind this formula applies to any sport. If you’re looking for a more in-depth explanation of what odds are and why they’re important, check out this informative post by They go over each step of counting odds in detail and include formulas for other types of sporting events and mixed bets (ie: baseball against the spread).

The Basic Concept

The concept behind counting odds is to take the odds on one side of the wager and add them all up. Let’s look at an example. Say you’re betting $100 on the Indianapolis Colts to beat the Denver Broncos by seven points. The odds of the Colts winning are 2:1 – they’re favored to beat the Broncos by seven points. Now, if you add up all these odds (either mentally or in writing), you get 7 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 0.3 + 0.7 = 14.1, or 14.1 to 1. This is quite a bit better than the 4.5 to 1 that the Broncos were originally offering. In this case, you’d have a winning percentage of 28 percent, giving you $140 back on a $100 wager.

The key to getting the most out of this practice is to add up the odds quickly and accurately. If you make a mistake and have to go back and correct it, you’ll lose a little bit of time – and potentially a lot of money if you’re not careful. It’s all about minimizing the risk as you learn how to count odds.

How Do I Add These Up?

The best way to add odds is with a calculator. With a sports odds calculator, you can simply enter the probabilities you have for the different outcomes of a game. For example, let’s say you’re entering the probabilities of a football game. You have the home team winning and the spread, and you want to add those two numbers together. To do this, you’d enter the following into your calculator:

  • Home team win (50%)
  • Spread –0
  • Over/Under –3
  • Weather – Rain (50%)
  • Time – 1:00 pm (50%)

You would then hit the Add button and the result should be 3.3. To arrive at this number, you would multiply the first, second, and third numbers (1 x 1 x 1.5) and then divide this by the sum of the fourth and fifth numbers (0.3 x 0.7). This is how you get the number 3.3. It is very important to note here that the decimal points do not matter. However, if you did want to round this number up to the nearest hundredth, you would simply hit the up-arrow key a couple of times until the number showed up in the thousands. If you hit the up-arrow key once, the result will be 3, 2, and 1, meaning that you would round up to the nearest hundredth. However, if you hit it twice, you would get 3, 3, and 1, meaning that you would round up to the nearest thousandth.

The result of 3, 3, and 1 means that you’d get $300 back on a $100 wager. This would be a winning percentage of 300 percent (or 3 times your original wager).

Where Do I Go From Here?

You now know how to count odds and why they’re important. The next step is to figure out how you’re going to use this knowledge to make money. The important thing to keep in mind is that betting is all about probabilities and statistics. You have to apply this to sports in order to make money at it. Once you have this down, placing bets will be a lot more fun and you’ll start making more money faster than you’d imagine. So, don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things – as long as you keep practicing, you’ll get better at it and be able to utilize this new found skill. For more information on how to get started, check out this article on how to make money from home, part of the Finishing School series at Millionaire Mobster. They go over everything you need to know about making money online via sports betting. It’s an essential article for anyone looking to get involved in the exciting world of sports betting. At the time of writing this article, the author’s picks for the NCAA tournament were winning 57% of the time – not bad for a $100 wager, right?