What Do the + and – Mean in Betting Odds?

Odds are usually expressed as a ratio, such as 2.5, where the amount of winning odds to the total amount of betting odds (called the payout ratio) represents the amount of return on the bet. In general, the greater the +, the more favorable the odds; the smaller the +, the less favorable the odds. For example, a bookmaker willing to take a 5% commission may offer odds of 6+ as compared to 40-1 or 200-1.

The interpretation of the odds should not be confused with the meaning of the payout ratio. The payout ratio simply tells you how much you are going to win or lose on an investment. Your odds merely indicate how likely you are to win or lose on a bet. For example, a 50-50 shot at winning a match results in odds of 1.0 (1 winning unit vs. 1 betting unit). If you instead bet on a team to win the match 2-1, you can expect to win 1 unit and lose 1 unit (resulting in odds of 0.5 or half the payout ratio).

The Advantage Of Knowing The Odds

The odds are always going to matter when it comes to choosing a wager. You generally want to avoid bets with unfavorable odds, as you are more likely to lose money overall than you are to win. Knowing the odds can help you make better informed decisions about which bets to take and which to avoid.

For example, if you are betting on a horse race and you know that the odds are 15-1 against you, you might want to avoid putting your money on that horse or pair of horses (assuming that you aren’t planning to bet large amounts). The same goes for other sports wagers as well. If you don’t want to risk losing a large amount of money, you might not want to take the bet in the first place. Even if you do win, you might not end up with enough money to cover your original investment.

How The Odds Change Over Time

In addition to the + and – modifiers, the odds can change depending on the time of day, the day of the week, and even the phase of the moon. The daily odds movements of major sportsbooks are generally posted online, so you can keep track of the changes as soon as they happen.

For example, if you look up the odds for the Super Bowl this year, you will see that they have moved from 10-1 to 18-1 since January 1st. In general, this means that the demand for the Super Bowl this year is greater than usual, and the odds had to be adjusted to keep up with the demand. Similarly, during the month of January in 2019, you will often see the odds for the 2021 NBA Finals move up dramatically. Just remember that these odds movements are only estimates and can fluctuate greatly. In many cases, the best course of action is to look at the current odds and not make any immediate decisions based on them.

The Disadvantage Of Knowing The Odds

On the other hand, if you want to take advantage of knowing the odds, you can consider making the opposing team your favorite just before a game or event. For example, if you think that the odds are 10-1 against your favorite team, you might want to lay down a wager in order to make them 20-1 or more. You will often times see this done by bookmakers hoping to establish a favorable bet for certain events such as major sporting events and horse races. You are better off knowing how these odds movements can be manipulated than you are trusting them completely.

The Odds And The Moneyline

Another important thing to keep in mind is the difference between the odds and the moneyline. Essentially, the moneyline is the exact opposite of the odds; it basically represents how much you are willing to wager. For example, if you are playing at a sportsbook, you might see odds of 2.5 and a moneyline of +250, which would mean that you are wagering $2.50 on every $1 wagered. In this case, you would need to win by 2.5 or more in order to earn back your $2.50 investment.

In general, the moneyline is used when betting on events that aren’t head-to-head clashes. For instance, if you are watching a baseball game and the pitcher for the visiting team is dominating, you are generally better off taking the moneyline rather than betting on the game itself. The reason is that if the visiting team is losing by a large margin, there is less of a chance that your favorite team will cover the spread (which is the case when comparing the actual score to the spread).

Overall Summary

In order to make informed decisions when betting, you might want to consider looking at the odds. Additionally, you should be on the lookout for sharp practices by bookmakers, as these are often times signs of corruption. If you suspect that your bookmaker is trying to pull a fast one on you, take your business elsewhere and avoid getting scammed.