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How to calculate and understand betting odds

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Calculate and understand betting odds

It has never been so easy to bet on sports as it is today. You can find many online casinos on the internet that offer betting. Thanks to digitalisation, you can bet on sporting events all over the world. The choice is therefore huge and you don’t have to limit yourself to top sporting events. Many smaller games and matches are open for betting. But what is behind the bets and, above all, what do the betting odds mean? In this guide, we would like to explain the calculation of betting odds to you. Because it’s even more fun to bet when you understand what it means. The result is pure luck, but the odds decide your profit in the end.

Place your first bets

Sports betting is all about odds, winning margins, chances of winning and probabilities. When you first start betting, you should know the teams. If you know the game and the players, you can better estimate how the game will end. The outcome is never certain, but it is a little more reassuring than betting money without knowing anything. If you are just playing sports betting for fun, it is the same. We understand if you don’t want to deal with how it works in the beginning. Just bet and experience the added thrill of the game. A possible win is calculated automatically anyway based on the odds. But if you engage yourself a little, you can profit. Because the odds can vary depending on the provider. So you should know what to look for in order to find the best deal.

Calculating the betting odds

As basic information you should learn how the odds are calculated and composed. We will try to explain this with a simple example. In reality, calculating the probability of an outcome is highly complex. There are also many factors that have to be taken into account and that vary. But based on the calculated percentage probability, the example helps you to understand the odds. With the example, you can read out the percentage probability of a bet in the future. This can help you to make a decision.


Home team – Visiting team

1 (1.5)  0 (3.5)  2 (5.0)

How does the bookmaker calculate the odds?

A bookmaker would calculate the odds in our example as follows. There is a probability of 66.7% that the home team will win. Thus, a simple rule of three applies:

1 / probability * 100 = betting odds

1 / 66,7 * 100 = 1,5

The odds for a win by the home team (1) are therefore calculated. The following also happens for the other betting options. For a simple sports bet, these are a draw (0) and a win by the visiting team (2). However, you can also calculate in the other direction. Then you find out the probability of an outcome. Here is an example for a draw:

1 / odds = probability

1 / 3.5 = 0.286 corresponds to 28.6%.

The betting odds and the probabilities can be derived from each other. Thus, the following probability can be added to the odds:

Home team – Visiting team

1 (1.5)    0 (3.5)    2 (5.0)

66,7 %    28,6 %    20 %

A win by the home team is 66.7%. Whereas a draw is likely 28.6%. The chance of a win by the visiting team is 20%. Even without calculating the exact probability, the odds say a lot. You can see immediately what the odds mean.  The lower the probability, the higher the odds. The most improbable result brings the highest profit in the event of a win.

Bookmakers’ profit margin

You have certainly done the maths carefully. Then you noticed that the sum of the probability is very high. Normally it should only add up to 100%. Here it is more than 100%: 66.7 + 28.6 + 20 = 115.3%.

So how can a probability of more than 100% come about? That is quite simple, the bookmaker or betting provider wants to earn money, of course. So he adds his profit margin on top. In our example, you can see that the bookmaker calculates with a margin of 15.3%. The margins vary and therefore it is worth comparing them. Especially if you play often. Then you should find a fair betting provider.

On our site you will find the best providers for sports betting. You should always have the feeling that they charge a fair profit margin. Also, they should not charge excessive fees or anything else. In our example, the betting provider’s profit margin is fairly distributed across all options. Depending on the game or bet, these can also be distributed irregularly. As a result, he makes a profit on some bets and a loss on others.

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