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Odds Betting

What is ‘Odds Betting’?

Odds betting is a general term which describes any bet made against posted odds. Odds refers to the mathematical chance of an outcome occurring. In betting, the odds posted are adjusted to factor in chance, bets on the alternate side and the profit for the bookmaker. Therefore, the odds at which bets are taken represent the return on any stake which the player will receive for a successful bet.

‘Odds Betting’ Explained

‘Odds betting’ is the practice of wagering cash against an outcome in the hope of receiving a larger return. It is a form of prediction made on an event, with a payout based on the ‘odds’ of that prediction being accurate. In terms of chance and probability, ‘odds’ represents the chance of an outcome occurring – usually expressed as a value of a/b or a-b – for example, 2/1 or 2-1. Some odds are fixed and easy to calculate, while others are variable and depend to a large extent on the bookmaker’s judgement.

If a six-sided dice is rolled, there is an equal chance of getting one of six outcomes – in other words, the ‘odds’ of rolling a certain number are six to one, or 6/1. However, in a sports match between two teams, there is unlikely to be an even 2/1 chance of a win. There are many human variables, such as the chance of injuries or players being sent off, and players are also unlikely to be evenly matched: one team will often be stronger than the other. While applying a handicap point spread can level the bet to some extent, players will also be offered bets using the odds calculated by the bookmaker.

Bookmakers set their odds based on the likelihood of an outcome, while accounting for the need to attract bets at the stated price, and a need to collect a profit for themselves. The odds shown at the bookies are representative of the price that will be received for a winning stake, rather than the actual chance of success. For example, a £1 bet on a horse with odds of 100/1 will pay £101 – a £100 payout plus a return of the original stake.