The most important thing for any online bettor to get to grips with is the odds offered at bookmakers and betting sites. Read these wrong and you could be in for a far smaller return than you were expecting.
The other thing about odds is that not every gambling jurisdiction worldwide uses the same ones. The UK,
Europe and the U.S all have their own unique systems when it comes to betting odds.
In this guide we'll take you through each type in turn, and show you how to calculate your winnings using the different systems.
If you're a UK bettor you'll be used to seeing odds presented fractionally at bookmakers on land and online. If you're new to sportsbook betting then fractional odds are the system all bookies in Britain use to represent the potential return bettors can expect to make on each bet.
They look a little something like this:
Rafael Nadal to beat Andy Murray at The Wimbledon Men's Final - 33/100
If you took this bet and wagered £20, and Nadal did in fact beat Murray, you'd be looking at a total return of £26.20. Remember, your return is your original stake + any profits you make. So on this bet you've made a £6.20 profit.
With any fractional bet you can work out the profit in advance by looking at the first number in the fraction as how much you can expect to win, and the second number as how much you'd need to wager.
For example, with odds of 3/1, you'd win £3 for every £1 you wager. Not including your original stake of £1, which is added on after in fractional odds. So your total return in this case would be £4 (£3 profit + your £1 stake).
To help you get your head around fractional odds a little more, here are a few other examples of the profit and return you can make on specific bets. For each example we've used a £10 wager to keep things simple.
Here are a few other examples of profit and return with decimal bets:
While Britain is located within Europe, the fractional odds system that we use isn't the common way of calculating odds across the continent. In fact, if you visit a bookmaker whilst in France, Spain or Germany the odds you'll see will look quite different from what UK bookies advertise.
That's because within Europe a decimal odds system is favoured. With decimal odds, you can work out your profit and total return just by multiplying the decimal by your wager amount.
For example, with odds of 3.00 you'd simply multiply your stake amount by 3.00. If your stake is £10 you'd get a £30 return (3.00 x £10). That's because with decimal odds, the stake value is automatically included in the return too.
Let's illustrate with an example, this time using football:
Say it's Man City V Man U in the premier league at home. A European bookmaker might display odds on the three outcomes of the match (win, lose or draw) a little something like this:
If these odds were presented in the UK fractional form they'd look like this:
So, if you wagered £10 on Man City to win in this case at odds of 1.28, you'd get back a total of £12.80 (1.28 x £10) if Man City did win the game.
For most Brits, the American odds style is the most difficult to get to grips with. Unlike fractional or decimal odds, that show the bettor what return he (or she) can expect to make. In USA style Moneyline odds the system displays odds as positive or negative denominations.
These same odds presented fractionally are:
If the odds you see have a minus (-) in front, this shows you how much you would have to bet in order to get £100 back.
If the Moneyline odds have a plus sign in front (+) this shows you how much profit you could expect to generate if you wagered £100.
Unlike with decimal and fractional odds, which show you the total return including your original stake, Moneyline odds only show you the profits. So you need to add your bet value on top to work out the total return.
With positive Moneyline odds you work out the profit as so:
Stake x (odds/100) = profit
With negative Moneyline odds it's this formula:
Stake / (odds/100) = profit
In both cases, once your profit is established you need to add your original wager amount to get the full return value.
Again, we'll use a £10 wager to illustrate the different outcomes when betting using Moneyline odds.
If you're wondering what sort of bets you can make at a bookmakers online in Britain, here are some of the most common ones UK bookies offer:
If you don't want to bother with the maths, our online odds calculator can help you figure out the profit you stand to make on bets in seconds. Just type in the odds being offered, and the wager you're thinking of making, and we'll calculate the total return.