Understanding Fractional Odds and Decimal Betting Odds

When matched betting with bookmakers, there are two main types of betting odds that you will come across. These are Fractional odds and Decimal odds. There is actually no monetary difference between the two in terms of the return that you will make, they simply represent different ways to display the same outcome. 

Fractional Odds

Fractional odds are displayed as 10/1 or 7/2. If you’ve ever bet in a traditional betting shop you will already be familiar with these types of odds. There are many ways you can try and understand them, but the simplest is “how much you will win” compared to ”how much you will stake”. For example if you staked £1 at fractional odds of 10/1 you could win £10 (remember that’s your profit, you would also receive your £1 stake back too!). If you staked £2 at 7/2 then you could win £7 and also get your £2 stake back aswell.

You will sometimes come across fractional odds that appear to be the wrong way around, for example 1/10 or 2/7. In betting terminology, these odds are referred to as ‘Odds-On’ selections and you would have to stake £7 to win just £2. You will find odds of this type when there is a clear favourite to win. For example, when Spain are lined up against Andorra in the World Cup, in the following example the odds for Spain were as short as 1/20 to win the match.

All online betting sites will show your potential winnings on the betslip, but remember its vital that you understand the actual odds you’re betting at in order to know your expected return. To be a consistent winner over the long-term, you not only have to back winning selections, but more importantly you have to do this when the odds accurately reflect the chance of your selection winning. It’s easy to claim that Spain would beat Andorra, but would you be willing to risk staking £100 on Spain to make a profit of just £5? That decision is solely down to you.

To calculate your potential returns from fractional odds:

((Stake /denominator) x numerator ) + stake

For example, £10 staked at 7/2:

((£10/2) x 7) + £10 = £45


Decimal Odds

Its clear from just writing the section above that fractional odds are both confusing and dated and I can’t understand why anyone would still want to use them. You’ll probably be glad to know then that when matched betting we always opt for Decimal odds over Fractional as Decimal odds are just so much easier to understand.

To give you an example, if I asked you to quickly say which odds show the bigger price, 7/4 or 9/5? You’d have to think twice about it, right? But if I asked which is the bigger number 2.75 or 2.80?  I’m sure you’d quickly be able to tell me.

With decimal odds your stake is automatically included in your returns and this makes the return calculation much easier. Decimal odds of 2.0 represent even money (1/1) and anything less than 2.0 represents an odds on bet. So for example decimal odds of 1.50 will see you win half your stake back as profit and to continue the example of Spain from above, Spain were priced at 1.05 to beat Andorra if the odds were shown in decimal. 

Let’s see how the equation for calculating returns from decimal odds is so much simpler: (We’ll use the decimal odds of 1.05 as an example)

Stake x Odds

For example, £100 staked at 1.05:

£100 x 1.05 = £5

This shows that we’d make a profit of £5, from our £100 bet and we’d also get our £100 stake back aswell.

You will never see decimal odds of less than 1.00 but from time to time you may see odds of 1.01 for example when a clear favourite is winning 2-0 at home with just ten minutes left to play. In our opinion it’s best to avoid betting at odds of 1.01 like the plague. Unless you’re extremely confident that backing this 100 times would result in you being successful 100 times for you to stay in profit its best to avoid odds of 1.01 altogether. Having seen many late goals and dodgy referees decisions, its just not worth the risk and there’s little value to be had backing selections at 1.01.

If you ever need to convert fractional odds into decimal odds, it’s really quite easy. Remember though when matched betting we always opt to use decimal odds but here’s how you can do it. Just divide the fractions by each other and add one (the one represents your stake). So for example to convert 7/2 into decimal odds, you would just divide 7 by 2 and add 1, which gives you 4.5. As we said it’s easy enough but if you want a really simple solution then just search for an “odds converter” and let someone else do the hard work for you!

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