The thrill and adrenaline rush of sports betting, along with the potential to make some money while wagering on a favorite team attract plenty of punters from all over the world. Whether sports bettors rely on luck and how much skill it takes to be successful are questions that have been fervently debated.

The sport that indisputably attracts the greatest portion of betting action is football. This is hardly surprising considering the diversity of prestigious championships around the globe and the profusion of football betting markets. Bettors who are willing to dive into the world of football sports betting should invest some time into investigating the basic markets and the teams from the particular championship they are interested in.

Other than that, punters who are new to the world of sports betting may feel a bit intimidated by online bookmakers’ platforms. The multitude of sports, leagues, bet markets, features, and odds can be quite perplexing at the beginning, and making sense of the betting terminology is fundamental to a successful sports betting experience.

Bookmakers betting odds are one of the essential notions that every bettor should be aware of. In their essence, betting odds indicate how much bettors can win from a bet. Bookmakers display odds using different formats. There are three most broadly used betting odds formats – Decimal, Fractional, and American. It is our goal to look into this topic in further detail and cover all of the specifics of how the three main odds formats work.

Essentials of Betting Odds

Online bookmakers have a default odds format, which is usually set in accordance with the punters’ country of residence. However, it is possible to change the format in which odds are displayed based on your personal preferences, and this functionality is offered by most contemporary sportsbook operators. There are also plenty of online betting odds calculators that can be used to convert odds from one format to another in a matter of seconds.

Despite these convenient functionalities, sports bettors need to comprehend what these formats symbolize and feel comfortable while dealing with them.

In their essence, the three main betting formats represent the amount punters will win after placing a successful wager. Therefore, the greater the odds provided on a given football contest are, the larger the potential reward will be. Higher odds also indicate a less probable outcome, whereas lower odds signal the opposite.

Bettors should also make a distinction between the terms Odds On and Odds Against. While the first one implies that the potential payout will be less than the staked amount, the second indicates that the profit will be greater than the initial wager.

Types of Betting Odds

Whether you choose to view a bookmaker’s price as +200 in American odds format, 2/1 in Fractional odds format, or 3.00 in a Decimal one, they represent the same thing, expressed in three different manners. Let us get down to the nitty-gritty of the three main formats.

American Odds

The American odds format, also referred to as Moneyline odds format, is by and large the format used by US sportsbooks.

What differs the American odds format from the other two is that it makes use of a positive (+) and negative sign (-) in front of the numeric value. This format clearly signals the competitors’ chances of winning the game, as per the bookmaker’s expectations. The positive sign signals the team which is considered an underdog, whereas the negative sign denotes the favorite.

The greater the absolute value after a positive sign is, the smaller the chance of the underdog winning the match is. The other way around, the greater the value after a negative sign is, the better the chance of the favorite winning the match is.

American odds use a baseline value of 100 units and show two main things. The first one is how much one must wager to win 100 units, for example, €100, indicated by the negative sign. For instance, a -150 favorite denotes that punters should stake €150 to win €100. The second one is how much one would win from a €100 wager, indicated by the positive sign. For example, a +250 underdog signals that bettors are expected to stake €100 to gain a potential profit of €250.


Converting American odds into Decimal odds is easy and can be done with a simple formula. To convert positive American odds to Decimal odds, punters should divide the American odds by 100 and then add 1: (American odds/100)+1=Decimal odds. When the American odds are negative, bettors should take 100, divide it by the odds (the minus sign should be removed), and then add 1: (100/American odds)+1=Decimal odds.

Decimal Odds

The Decimal odds format is also referred to as European odds. As their name suggests, Decimal odds are displayed in decimal format and represent the amount punters win for every €1 wagered.

The decimal odds format indicates the total amount of the stake and profit, i.e. the returned stake of a successful bet is built into the odds. To calculate the total return using the Decimal odds format, punters should simply multiply the stake by the Decimal odds offered by the sportsbook.

For instance, if a bettor places a €10 stake at odds of 3.50, the total return would be €35, meaning the profit would equal €25. In terms of the team favored to win, numbers smaller than 2.00 show the favorites, while numbers greater than 2.00 denote the underdogs.

Even money or even odds represented by the Decimal odds format would be 2.00, i.e. the amounts of the stake and the profit are equal.


Generally, the Decimal odds format is the most widely used one, and it is especially convenient when comparing prices of different bookmakers. The format is also frequently used on betting exchanges.

Fractional Odds

Fractional odds, also known as British odds and UK odds are typically written with a slash. This format is predominantly used by British and Irish bookmakers. In its essence, the Fractional odds format indicates the ratio of the profit to the staked amount. The number to the left of the slash is called the numerator and indicates the potential profit, while the number to the right of the slash is called the denominator and denotes the staked amount.

Let us take as an example the fractional odds of 3/1 offered by a bookmaker and a stake of €10. The potential profit here would be €30, and the total amount returned to the punter would amount to €40, i.e. €30 profit plus €10 initial stake.

To convert Fractional odds to Decimal odds, punters should simply divide the numerator by the denominator and then add 1. So, Fractional odds of 3/1 converted to Decimal odds would be 4.00.

Even money or even odds, represented by Fractional odds is expressed as 1/1. The amount of the wager is equal to the amount of the profit, i.e. if a bettor stakes €10, they ultimately get €20, winning a profit of €10.


As for determining which team is favored to win, bettors should pay attention to the numerator and the denominator of the fraction. If the numerator is a number smaller than the denominator, then this team is considered a favorite. And vice versa, if the numerator is a number greater than the denominator, the team is considered an underdog.

Implied Probability

Yet another term that football betting aficionados should be aware of is Implied Probability. Calculating the implied probability is an essential step that punters can take to make sense of the expected outcome of a certain football match.

Although odds and implied probability are related, bettors should distinguish between the two terms, and learn how to convert odds into implied probability. The implied probability may be expressed by both decimals and percentages and is a great way to assess whether or not it is worth placing the bet.

A value bet suggests that the probability of anything occurring is greater than what the sportsbook’s odds indicate.

As already indicated, Fractional odds show the amount bettors could win and the amount that needs to be staked to win that first amount. Decimal odds indicate the total return of the stake and the profit. And, the American odds, which either have a plus or minus in front of the numeric value, indicate respectively the amount that could be won if bettors stake €100, or the amount that needs to be staked to win €100.

Let us provide examples of how we could convert the three most popular odds formats to implied probability. To figure out the implied probability of Team A with Decimal odds of 3.00, bettors should take 1 and divide it by the odds of 3.00. The result, 0.33, should be multiplied by 100 to calculate the implied probability in percentages, which equals 33.33%.

To convert Fractional odds of 2/1, bettors should take the denominator and divide it by the sum of the numerator and the denominator, i.e 1/(2+1), giving ⅓, or 0.33, which in percentages is again 33.33%.

It takes two different formulas to calculate the implied probability of American odds. For positive American odds of +200, bettors should take 100 and divide it by the sum of 100 and the odds, i.e. 100/(100+200). The result here is again 0.33, which equals 33.33%. For negative American odds of -200, punters should take out the minus and divide 200 by the amount of 100 and 200, i.e. 200/(100+200), or 200/300. The result, 0.66, expressed in percentages, equals 66.66%.


The three main types of betting odds formats represent the same thing and there is no difference in terms of payouts. The format may be changed but the underlying structure remains the same. Ultimately, choosing a betting odds format is a matter of personal preference, which punters should figure out for themselves. Wagering in an informed and intelligent manner requires a good grasp of the three main betting odds formats and the ability to interpret what they indicate. is a media website dedicated to sports news and reviews of the most popular sports betting sites. Here you will find comprehensive guides on where to bet on football, tennis, NBA, NFL and information about the most popular betting deposit methods.