# How to Interpret Odds on Betting Markets

There are times when sports fans are faced with a dilemma when it comes to making their cash go as far as possible. They love their teams but hate the odds that often seem to be in their favor. This is why many have turned to the exciting world of sports betting. Using odds tables to help them choose the best bets for their teams’ upcoming games is making sports betting a little easier to understand. Let’s have a quick look at how to read and apply these numbers.

## The Basics Of Odds Tables

Odds are probably the most important factor for any sports bettor to understand, so let’s take a few minutes to discuss what they are and how to interpret them. What are odds? They are simply the odds of an event or series of events occurring as compared to the odds of those same events not occurring. For example, if you back the New York Mets in the baseball World Series and the betting odds are 5:1, this simply means that there is a 5% chance that the Mets will win the series compared to a 95% chance that the Boston Red Sox will win. Pretty straightforward, right?

How do you calculate the odds of an event or series of events occurring? You simply take the probability of the event occurring (in this case, the Mets winning the World Series) and multiply it by the odds of the event happening (5:1). With sports betting, chances are always higher than 100%, so you can round up to the nearest whole number to find the odds of an event occurring. For example, if you wager \$100 on the Seattle Seahawks to beat the San Francisco 49ers, the odds will be 5:1 (100 x 5) in your favor. However, if you were to bet \$5 on the same game with those same odds, your theoretical winnings would be \$500 based on the \$100 you wagered (500 x 5).

## Odds And Probabilities For Individual Teams

Once you have a handle on the basics of odds, you can move on to more specific information regarding your favorite teams. If you are a Philadelphia Eagles or New York Knicks fan, for example, you can access team info from any of the major sports books in your area by entering the jersey number of the player you wish to browse through (in this case, 99 for the Eagles and 6 for the Knicks) followed by the slash symbol ( / ).

For example, let’s say you want to bet on the Kansas City Chiefs to beat the San Diego Chargers this week. The odds are currently 3:1, so you would need to wager \$300 on the Chiefs to make the same \$100 you would have had if you’d bet on the Chargers. If you were to bet \$100 on the Chiefs, your winnings would be \$300 (based on a 3:1 payout) since the Chargers have a 56% chance of winning the game according to the odds. 56 is the decimal equivalent of 3.1, so you round down to obtain the actual percentage of winning chances for the San Diego Chargers. In this case, the probability of the Chiefs winning the game is 28.6%.

On the other hand, the Philadelphia Eagles have a 75% chance of winning this week’s game against the New York Giants, based on the 2:1 odds available at the moment. 75 is the decimal equivalent of 2.1, so you can see that your theoretical winnings would be \$150 in this instance (since 2:1 is 50% of \$100). Of course, this would only occur if the Eagles actually win the game since you need to beat the spread in order for your bet to win.

## Interpreting Odds In Real Life

Interpreting odds can be tricky, especially if you are not used to dealing with percentages and probabilities, but it is definitely doable. One of the easiest ways to look at odds is to think of them in real life terms. Say, for example, you want to bet \$100 on the Washington Capitals to beat the Minnesota Wild this month. Since the odds are 1:1, it would be best to view this as an even money bet. The Capitals have a 56% chance of winning the game according to the odds, so your winnings would be \$56 if they do in fact beat the Wild. If they lose, you would have lost \$100 on a \$100 bet (since even money means you would have made \$100 regardless of the outcome). In this scenario, you can see that the chances of the Washington Capitals winning are actually pretty high (based on the odds). Therefore, it might be a good idea to bet on them even though you hate to bet on Washington.

Betting against the spread is probably the simplest way to make money betting on sports. Simply find the favorite team you like and bet on them to win the game. For example, if you back the New England Patriots against the visiting Miami Dolphins, you would need to wager \$5 in order for the winnings to be \$100 (a 5:1 payout). The oddsmakers will pay you back \$95 since the Patriots are 5:1 odds-on favorites to win the game. Since you are getting paid even money, this is a no-brainer for anyone considering betting on sports.

What if you really, really like a particular team and want to place a larger wager on them? For example, let’s say you want to bet \$1000 on the Atlanta Falcons to beat the San Francisco 49ers this month. If they do in fact win the game, your theoretical winnings would be \$1000 based on the 10:1 odds (1000 x 10). If they lose, your \$1000 wager would be a complete loss since 10:1 odds are only 40% (1/10) chances of winning. 40 is the decimal equivalent of 10, so you can see that your winnings would only be \$400 since you would have lost \$600 on a \$1000 bet since 10:1 is 60% (1/10) of \$1000. This is why many gamblers prefer to bet on teams that are not their favorite; it is easier to lose money on favorites since there is some probability of them winning regardless of the bettor’s skills or luck.

## Understanding The Moneyline

Speaking of losing money, you should always avoid betting on the moneyline since this is where most people tend to lose money. The idea behind the moneyline is that gamblers will often bet on the total number of points that will be scored in a particular game. In order to calculate these points, you simply take the total number of points scored by both teams minus the total number of points the bookmaker thinks the game is likely to end in. For example, if the pointspread is 3 points and there are no ties, you would need to bet \$3 to a win \$100 on the moneyline since the bookmaker would only pay you \$97 (\$3 x 10) if the game ends in a tie. In this case, the favorite team is the visiting Seattle Seahawks and the total number of points scored so far this season is 29 for Seattle and 27 for the Denver Broncos (Seahawks currently lead the all-time series 19-16). If you were to bet \$100 on the Denver Broncos, your \$100 would be a loss since the Broncos have only scored 27 points in 6 games compared to the Seahawks’ 29 points in 5 games. This is a massive under-waterline in comparison since 13 points would be the difference between you breaking even and making a small profit.

At the end of the day, it is all about probabilities and statistics when it comes to sports betting. You need to understand what the bookmakers are doing and why they are doing it. Fortunately, with a bit of research and practice, you will be able to navigate the sea of odds with confidence and retain your financial integrity.