What’s the Difference Between Evens and Odds?

You might be familiar with the expression ‘odds’, referring to the chance of something happening. You’ve probably also seen the term used in sports, like ‘odds vs evens’ when comparing the results of two teams in a match. But have you ever wondered about the differences between evens and odds? Let’s explore the meanings of these two commonly used words, and how you can use them effectively in your everyday life.

Evens and Odds: What Are They?

Odds are simple – they’re the chances of something happening. For example, if you flip a coin ten times and it comes up heads every time, your odds of getting heads are 1 in 10, or 10%. These are the chances of an event happening, regardless of whether or not you want it to.

Evens are similar, except that they take into account whether or not you want an event to happen. Let’s revisit our example, but this time we’ll give it a twist. Say you’re at a casino and decide to bet on the toss of a coin. When the croupier gives the ‘Betting Order’ signal, you may choose to place a bet on heads or tails, meaning you’re betting evens (you want the event to happen) on whether or not the coin will land on heads or tails. Once the coin is tossed, the result will decide whether or not you won or lost your bet.

In the above scenario, you wouldn’t want to take the risk of getting tails. As you might expect, this is called a ‘Tails Bet’. But what if you don’t know the odds of getting a particular outcome? You might also place a bet on heads, but you don’t want the event to happen at all. In this case, you’re playing the odds, and it’s called a ‘Draw Bet’.

You can see how evens and odds can affect your ability to win or lose at a casino, right? These are some of the more complex bets you’ll see at a traditional, real-life casino. You may be wondering, is there anything else?

Evens and Odds: When Do You Use Them?

You’ll often see odds and evens used in conjunction, so make sure you know which one you need. Evens are used when you want an event to happen regardless of whether or not you get paid, or when you want to hedge your bets. Let’s continue with the coin toss example. If you decide to bet on the toss of a coin again, but this time you want to settle for a draw, you’d use evens, as you don’t want to risk getting tails. But what if your goal is to win big? You may use odds, as you do want the coin to come up heads on at least one of your tosses.

You might also use evens when you want an event to happen regardless of whether or not you get paid. For example, if you’re playing poker and decide to go all-in, you may use evens against your opponents, as you don’t want to risk being shown an ‘Ace’ (a face card) when your hand is faced down. Similarly, if you’re playing roulette and decide to place an ‘All-on-Red’ wager, evens are what you’re looking for, as you want the ball to stop at least once when it hits the red segment on the wheel.

Evens and Odds: Different Meanings

The odds and evens terms have different meanings, but they both share the same underlying concept. There are many cases where you’ll see one used but not the other. For example, if you’re playing craps and decide to go for a ‘Three-Point Pass’ that ends in a win, you may choose to use odds. But if your goal is to get as close to the forty-two as possible without making a designated point, you may wish to use evens instead.


Odds and evens are closely related, but they do have different meanings. If you’re not familiar with the terms, it may be hard to remember when to use which one. But if you’re aware of the differences between them, you may find it easier to choose the right word in a given situation. Keep this in mind as you continue reading.