Odds betting numbers, also known as betting odds, are a way of showing the probability of one event happening compared to another. They’re used a lot in sports betting but can be applied to any kind of wager you make on the outcome of an event.
The concept is pretty simple; you place a wager on one of two events and the bookie will tell you the odds of that event happening. This can be done for any two events you’re interested in and, as long as you stay within the limits of the law in your country, the odds are likely to be pretty accurate.
While there are a few decimal points of difference between the two, for the most part, the odds will reflect a 1:1 probability. This means there’s an exact same probability of one event or the other happening, regardless of whether you bet on red or black. In most cases, the event you bet on will win, no matter what color the dice (or the ball in Australian rules football) roll.
Why Should You Bet On Odds?
It’s important to remember that the odds are just that – they’re an estimate of the probabilities of the two events you’re comparing. They might not all be true, but they’re a good starting point for your research. If you want to be sure of winning your bet, you should always check the terms and conditions of the bookie you’re using and make sure they handle bets at the correct odds.
In some cases, the difference between the two can be pretty marginal. The 2016 U.S. presidential election was a perfect example of this. For most of the year, polls had Hillary Clinton as the favorite to win, with Trump’s chances at best.
The election came down to a few key states and, in the end, it was all a matter of which candidate was more likely to win. In most cases, the polls were pretty accurate and the difference between Trump and Clinton was typically a few percentage points. In some states, like Pennsylvania, it was more like 6-7%, which is a dead heat. In terms of electoral college votes, it was an incredibly close race and, in the end, the polls were only off by a few percentage points. In terms of betting odds, it would have been a perfect 50/50 split if you’d placed a wager on the election outcome in September. Instead, due to Clinton’s higher favorability rating and Obama’s endorsement, she was the clear favorite going into Election Day. On the day of the vote, she actually led by a few percentage points in most polls and the overall vote was within the polls’ margin of error. In Australia, punters were actually given the choice of whether they wanted to bet on a Clinton win or a Trump win and the majority went with the safe option and placed a wager on Clinton. The bookie’s edge was minimal in this case and it was largely a matter of which candidate was more likely to win. In the end, it was a close call but Clinton won by a small margin.
Odds of this nature are pretty common and, in general, even if you’re not planning on placing a large wager, they should still be considered. Perhaps the most notable example of this was the 2014 FIFA World Cup. In that tournament, Germany had the highest scoring offense in the entire tournament but nobody gave them a chance, with the exception of the bookies. In the end, they finished second in the tournament with 72 goals to Brazil’s 69 goals, but given the odds of Germany winning the cup, it was really a 50/50 split. Brazil were actually considered to be slight underdogs at 5:1 but, due to their higher scoring offense and Messi’s hat trick in the final, everyone had to accept the inevitability of a German victory. So, in terms of betting odds, this was the closest World Cup in history and the bookies got it right. Germany won by a goal and Russia got their revenge for the plane crash that caused the downfall of the former USSR by turning Germany into their newest client state.
How Do Bookies Calculate The Odds?
This is one of the most important questions when it comes to understanding odds and how they’re calculated. Essentially, the answer is probability and statistics. When a bookie gets an order from a customer, they’ll check the relevant stats and probabilities to come up with an estimate of the odds that person will win. If you want to become a good punter, it’s important to understand how these odds are derived. Many people think that the more you wager, the more you’ll win but this isn’t necessarily true. The more you wager, the more you’ll lose.
The key stats and probabilities that go into the calculation are:
- The total number of possible outcomes for the event (2 in the case of a coin toss)
- The number of favorable outcomes for the event (heads in the case of a coin toss)
- The number of unfavorable outcomes for the event (tails in the case of a coin toss)
- The probability of the event occurring
- The probability of each outcome occurring
- The capital sum you’re wagering (the more you wager, the more you’ll lose)
- The exchange rate (the odds are always in favor of the lender)
Let’s look at each one of these in turn.
Total Number Of Outcomes
This one is pretty self-explanatory, it’s the total number of possible outcomes for the event you’re wagering on. In the case of a two-player coin toss, there are two possible outcomes – heads or tails. If we assume a fair coin is being used, this means there’s a 50% chance of either outcome occurring. For the World Cup, this is actually higher – there are 28 possible outcomes instead of just the two for the coin toss. The total number of possible outcomes for the World Cup is thus 28, or about 0.1% of the total number of games (including all replays) that were played during the tournament. This is a lot of math but it’s very useful math. It means that, for every $100 you wager, you’ll lose $28 but you’ll also win $28. It’s important to keep in mind that these figures are only for the purposes of explaining the odds; they don’t actually apply until you perform the calculation. Once you’ve done that, you’ll know how much you need to win to make it worthwhile. For example, if you wager $100 on a coin toss and it lands on heads, you’ll win $28 but you’ll also lose $72 – a net profit of $44.