Sports Betting Odds Explained

Smiling woman holding a mobile phone with sports betting website in the screen.

Sports betting has always been a huge industry in both America and across Europe, but right now it is bigger than ever. Online sports betting is now booming in the former due to many states relaxing their laws, and the fact that major events such as the football World Cup are just around the corner. This means many of you will consider trying out online sports betting for the first time.

However, as with anything new, you will have a number of questions. We can bet that the first of these involves how to read sports betting odds. This is understandable too, as depending on where you are from and the online sportsbook you are using, the odds may be displayed differently.

Traditionally, odds are displayed differently in Europe compared to the USA, and while many sites let you choose how odds are displayed, some might not. So, it is important to understand how to read both. Once you understand how to read the odds, it becomes second nature as they are not too difficult to understand.

Without knowing what they mean, you will not be able to determine how much money you might win, whether the odds represent good value, and whether you even want to place a bet. Your bet on the LA Lakers means nothing if you do not know the odds and how much you can win!

Finding the Latest Odds at the Best Bookies

Before you can decipher any odds, you first need to know where to find them. There are hundreds of online sports betting sites, or bookmakers as they are known in the UK and around Europe. With so many, it can be difficult knowing which offers the best odds, sign up promos, and covers the most markets.

At sites such as odds manager, this is made easy. Online resources such as this display all the bookies that offer better odds. You will find basketball, rugby, tennis, and football betting odds, but also odds for just about any other sport imaginable. Some sites will even pick out the best daily odds picks, provide betting guides, and generally be an excellent sport betting resource.

European Style Sports Betting Odds

In Europe, odds are displayed in decimals. These are easy to read and basically involve multiplying your wager by the decimals shown to establish potential winnings. If the football team you want to back is at odds of 1.55 to win, a $100 bet multiplied by 1.55 is $155. Take away your $100 wager from that sum to determine your profits of $55. Obviously, the odds will be much lower when one team is almost certain to win. The odds set by an online bookmaker are determined by form, quality, and many other factors.

American Style Sports Betting Odds

It is done differently in the USA as they use what is called the ‘American Odds’ method. It uses positive (+) and negative (-) odds to determine how much your wager will earn you. Normally, you will see odds listed as +160 or -50. Positive odds mean that it is more unlikely to happen and negative odds mean there is a strong chance this bet will win.

  • Positive Odds

Let’s say your betting odds are +160, what this means is that for a $100 bet, you will win $160 + your original stake ($260). It also means for a $10 bet, you will win $16 + $10. You are not limited to betting $100 or $10, you can bet anything you like, it is just used as an example ratio. 

  • Negative Odds

Negative odds are given to events that are more likely to happen, such as the favourite team to win based on form and other factors. If you wager $100 on odds of -50, you will win $50 plus get your $100 stake back. So, that is $150 back for your $100.


Hopefully, this article has made life a little easier for you where reading odds are concerned. It really is like reading a book and once learned it stays with you. Now that you are happy and ready to start enjoying sports betting, why not think about playing Fantasy Sports too?