To start things off, let’s remind you about what betting is. According to the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) definition, betting is:
“The delivery of sports-related news, information, odds, and betting-related advertising in a form that attracts sports fans. The ads are typically placed in magazines that reach sports fans. “
So, in a nutshell, betting is the act of betting on sports. In practice, this usually translates into someone placing a wager on the winner of a specific sporting event. For example, if the Chicago Cubs were playing the San Francisco Giants and the stakes were $10, the person placing the bet would be committing $10 that the Cubs will win the game.
Now that you understand what betting is, it’s time to dive into the nitty-gritty of odd/even numbers. You’ll learn more about these numbers in the upcoming paragraphs, but first, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane.
If you’ve been paying any attention to sports betting at all, you’ll undoubtedly have come across the term odd/even. This is typically used to describe the odds of an event occurring as compared to the odds of it not occurring. For example, the odds of an even number being rolled over on the dice are even, while the odds of an odd number being rolled over are odd.
When explaining the meaning of odd/even in betting to someone who is unfamiliar with the concept, the first thing you’ll want to do is establish a baseline understanding of the odds. This is, in fact, how you should approach most things in betting; establishing a baseline understanding of the odds before you start gambling is essential. Even numbers on dice means the roll will come up even; odd numbers will come up odd.
When placing bets, odd/even simply refers to whether or not the number being rolled over on the dice is odd or even. If you’re in the habit of placing bets on sporting events, you’ll eventually come across situations where odd/even has specific connotations; for example, betting on the New York Yankees to cover the point spread in a game against the Houston Astros would be an example of betting on an odd number. Since the Yankees are considered to be a more popular team, this could be considered a small bet or tip; the person or organization naming the odds typically gets a cut of the wager (in this case, a percentage of the $10 wager).
Why Are Specific Numbers Important?
For those of you who are more numerically inclined, you may have noticed that specific numbers have come up a lot when explaining the odds of an event. For example, take a look at these odds:
The first pair of odds is the odds of a Texas Hold Em Poker hand containing two a’s. The second pair of odds is the odds of a Flush (all five cards in a suit) coming on a straight on a standard poker hand. Finally, the last pair of odds are the odds of getting a Jack, Queen, or King on a standard Texas Hold Em poker hand if the dealer shows a Jack, Queen, or King before the showdown.
If you’re inclined to count, you’ll notice that these three occurrences have an element of symmetry to them. In particular, each pair of odds has an equal number of 1’s and 0’s making up its binary code. For numerical whizzes out there, this is known as a “1-to-1” or “direct” proportion. Mathematically speaking, this is expressed as follows:
(A+B)^n = A^nB^n, where A and B are the base rates of the probabilities and n is the number of independent trials. In our example, A = 1/26, B = 1/52, and n = 3, so our final result will be (1/26)(1/52)^3 = 1/13, which happens to be the same result we got when we did the problem manually.
Even odds always suggest an even outcome and odd odds suggest an odd outcome. But what exactly does this mean in practice? Let’s take a closer look.
Odds Are Shifted In Favor Of The Gambler
If you’re used to rolling over even numbers on dice, you might be inclined to think that odd/even simply means that the odds will be in favor of the gambler. After all, if the number is odd, that means it’s going to come up odd on the dice, which means the gambler will win the wager. But this is not always the case. It’s important to understand a couple of things about odds and how they’re determined in sports betting.
The first is that for most forms of gambling, including sports betting, the odds are typically shifted in favor of the person placing the wager. This is due mostly to the fact that most people are willing to wager money on events they consider to be “less likely” to occur. But what exactly does this mean in practice? Let’s consider an example.
Say you’ve got a six-game NFL season with a $100 wager on each game. You’ll make $600 if your team wins every game, but you’ll lose $100 for each game your team loses. Now, let’s say you lose every game (which is actually quite unlikely). In this case, you’d have $100 left over for the season. But if your team wins every game, you’d end up with a $600 profit, which is $100 better than your starting point!
This is why the odds generally favor the person placing the wager. But it’s also important to note that since you had $100 to start with and ended up with $600, the return on investment was actually a 50% profit.
Odds Are Not Shifted In Favor Of The Gambler If…
If you’re the type of person who likes to bet on the outcomes of particular events, you might be inclined to think that since the odds are uneven, the gambler does not win the bet. After all, if the number is odd, that means it’s going to come up odd on the dice, which means the gambler loses the wager. But this is not always the case. There are actually a couple of conditions under which an odd number will not result in a loss, even though it ends up being rolled over as an even number.
The first is when the gambler is dealt an odd number of outs (cards, rolls, or dice that could result in the event not occurring). The second is when the gambler is dealt an even number of insurance policies (or insurance). In this case, if any of the other numbers come up, the gambler wins the wager. But since he has an even number of policies, he doesn’t lose the bet.
Odds Are Calculated By Adding A Premium To The Base Rate
Since betting odds are often used to explain the concept of insurance to those who haven’t heard of it before, it’s important to understand what happens under the hood when you add an insurance component to an even number. If you’re not sure, here’s a refresher on what insurance is:
If you’ve ever bought insurance, you might remember that you had to pay an additional fee (known as a “premium”) in case you had to make a claim. This is similar to what happens when you add an insurance component to an even number in sports betting. For example, if you have an even number of 6’s in your poker hand (the base rate of a six is 1 in 26), you have to pay an additional % (1 in 26, or sometimes even a whole dollar depending on the jurisdiction) to the bookmaker if you want to place a wager on that hand.
But here’s the catch: Since you’re paying an extra fee for the insurance, the odds of the event occurring must be increased in order to make up for the extra cost. This is why when you add an insurance premium to an even number, the odds typically end up being higher than they would be if the number were not insured. In our example, since we added $1 to each of the four 6’s in our hand (for a total of $4), our final odds are now 23/13 (1.461). Remember that even numbers always result in an even outcome while odd numbers result in an odd outcome.