When you’re new to betting, it can be hard to know what exactly you’re supposed to do with odds that are presented to you. Some bookmakers might give you a rough idea of what 3.5 actually means, but you won’t be able to fully grasp the concept until you actually see it in action.
Here’s a guide that will help you understand betting, and how odds are actually used to determine the winning side in various betting situations.
Reading And Understanding The Odds
When you first start betting, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the odds – that is, the likely results of a particular wager. This can be a little bit tricky, especially if you don’t understand how to interpret the odds given to you by the bookmaker. For example, take the following scenario:
You’ve placed a £10 stake on a £15 triple chance to win, and the bookmaker has given you the odds 3.5 to 1:
This means that if you win, you’ll earn £15 multiplied by 3.5, or £49.50. If you lose, you’ll lose £10 multiplied by 3.5, or £35. As a beginner, you might not always catch these odds – but even if you do, it’s still useful to know what they mean.
Understanding The Different Types Of Betting
As you might expect, there are various types of bets that you can make, and it’s important to understand which type of bet you’re placing when you make a bet. This will affect the likely results of your bet, and it’s also important to note where you might be expected to place your bet in order to get the best return on investment:
There are two broad categories of betting: in-play and pre-event. With In-Play betting, you’re placing a bet as the game or event is going on, and the result of your bet will be determined by what occurs during the game or event. For example, if you’re hosting a betting ring at a horse race, and you place a £10 bet on the favourite, you’re effectively placing a bet while the race is taking place. You won’t know whether you’ve won or lost the bet until after the event has finished. In-Play betting is often the most popular type of betting because it gives the bettor the thrill of feeling like they’re a part of the action as it happens.
Pre-Event betting, on the other hand, is where you place a wager prior to an event that you know is going to take place, and the result of your bet will be determined by the outcome of the event. For example, if you know that a horse named Waratah is going to run in a specific race, and you want to bet on it, you would make a pre-event bet on the horse race, placing your bet prior to the event taking place. Waratah is going to win the horse race, so you win your bet.
As a beginner, it’s important to remember that the types of bets you make have significant consequences for your bottom line. If you place a bet on a horse that doesn’t win the race, you’ll lose the bet – even if the horse does finish first or second. This is one reason why placing a bet before the event takes place is generally considered to be a bad idea – you’re almost certainly going to lose money. What’s more, it’s often not easy to get your money back if the horse you’ve bet on does not finish first, especially if the bookmaker you’ve used has restrictions on what kinds of refunds you can get (if any).
It’s also worth remembering that the bigger the stake you place, the more you’re going to lose – so placing a £10 bet on a horse that wins by a mile is probably not a good idea. This is especially true if you’re using betting outlets that don’t allow for big staked bets – because the house edge is higher on larger bets, these types of bookmakers are generally considered to be less trustworthy than those that do offer bigger stakes.
Using Odds To Determine The Winning Side In A Bet
When you place a bet, the bookmaker will almost certainly tell you which side they think is going to win, and it’s your task to figure out whether they’re right or wrong. This is a little bit like a classic “heads I win, tails you lose” type of game, but with the important difference that it’s not simply “tails” you’re trying to avoid – it’s more complex than that. Take the example above, regarding placing a £10 bet on a favourite to win a horse race. You don’t know if you’ll be able to avoid losing the bet if your lucky star doesn’t shine – but at least with this example, you know what you’re working with.
In order to figure out which side you should bet on, you need to look at the odds given to you by the bookmaker. In this case, you’re looking at odds of 3.5 to 1 in favour of the favourite – this means that if you want to bet on the horse to win, you should bet on the third horse in the betting list. In this case, you’re going to lose your £10 stake, but at least you know that you’re not going to get hurt.
On the other hand, if Betting on the Cornish Hare were to win the horse race, you’d win your £10 bet – as there are only 2.5 odds available, you’re effectively getting a 100% return on your investment, but at the same time, you’re putting your money on a longer shot. This is generally considered a risky bet, as you might end up winning big, but also probably losing a large amount of money as well.
What’s more is that sometimes you’ll see odds that are significantly in your favour, and it might be hard to know how to react. For example, if you’re at a football match and you see odds of 5.0 to 1 for Arsenal to win, it might be hard to resist the temptation to take that bet – but you should resist the urge. Why? Because unless you’re confident that Arsenal is going to win, it’s probably not a good idea to bet on them – the house edge is going to affect you significantly, even if they do score a goal early on in the game. In this case, it might be safer to wait and see what happens, rather than to place a bet that you might lose, even if it seems like a good idea at the time.
Odds And The English Language
When mentioning odds in a betting discussion, it’s important to make sure that you’re using the right terminology. “Odds” is the plural of “odds”, but in most cases, you’ll only need to use “odds” once to reference all the various odds that you’re familiar with. You’ll probably hear people use the terms “points to” and “ratings to” instead of “odds to” – but this is very much something you should avoid, as “points to” and “ratings to” are not true odds, and can lead to people misunderstanding you.
In a nutshell, odds are used to describe the likelihood of something happening, and they can be handy tools for understanding betting. Once you understand what they are and how they work, you’ll be able to take advantage of them and place more profitable bets. As a general rule of thumb, if an event is scheduled for later in the day, you might want to avoid placing bets on it, as there’ll be more people trying to make a profit from the action, which could make the payout much smaller. However, if an event is happening right now, or is due to happen very soon, you might want to consider placing a bet on it, as there’ll be less people trying to profit from it. This is especially true for In-Play and Pre-Event betting, where you’re putting your money on the outcome of an event that is currently happening or will happen soon.