Basic Betting Guide

Odds Formats

Odds are numbers telling how much you can win in a bet at a given stake. In general the rule is the higher odds the lower probability of winning.

Odds are presented in different formats or styles around the world, depending on local custom. In our odds tables, you can see odds presented in European, British, American, Malaysian, Indonesian, or Hong Kong standard. Some bookmakers support more than one of these standards. When you click from here to a bookmaker, the format may be different, but then just change the format to fit, to be sure that you're getting the right odds in your bet.

Below is an example of how odds are presented in different ways. We will also give an example of how to do the conversion. And finally provide the conversion formulas.

Example: Brazil vs. England (Soccer)

A full presentation table of all the odds formats with a set of fictional odds used in all the examples below.
  Europe UK US Malay HK Indo
1: Brazil 1.40 2/5 -250 0.40 0.40 -2.50
X: Draw 3.75 11/4 +275 -0.36 2.75 2.75
2: England 5.00 4/1 +400 -0.25 4.00 4.00

Calculations with the various odds formats are done with a stake of €200 on Brazil to win.

It is important to distinguish between the payout to your betting account after a win, and your profit, which is the payout minus your stake.

European Odds (decimals)

European odds multiplied by your stake equals the payout. The odds show how many units the bookmaker pays back per unit staked.

Example 1: Brazil to beat England, Euro odds 1.40

Payout: Stake × Euro odds  

  €200 × 1.40 = €280

Profit: Stake × (Euro odds - 1)  

  €200 × (1.40 - 1) = €80

Example 2: England to beat Brazil, Euro odds 5.00

Payout: Stake × Euro odds  

  €200 × 5.00 = €1000

Profit: Stake × (Euro odds - 1)  

  €200 × (5.00 - 1) = €800

United Kingdom Odds (fractions)

UK odds multiplied by your stake equals the profit. The odds show how many units you win in profit per unit staked.

Example 1: Brazil to beat England, UK odds 2/5

Payout: Stake × (UK odds + 1)  

  €200 × (2/5 + 1) = €280

Profit: Stake × UK odds  

  €200 × 2/5 = €80

Please note, that when converting odds into the British standard, round-off errors may occur, since some odds don't have an exact translation into British-style fractions. Here, we'll show the nearest fractional odds.

Many bookmakers will use decimal style internally and settle their customers based on the decimal odds despite showing - slightly different - fractional odds to UK users. For instance, the bookmaker may have odds of 1.28 internally but show odds 2/7 to his UK users. Since 2/7 = 0.28571, a winning bet of GBP 1,000 will give the customer a profit of GBP 280.00, not GBP 285.71 as the customer might expect.

United States Odds

Profit less than stake. These are bets that have a high probability of winning since you require less than your stake back in order to place the bet. In fact, you will at most require a 50% probability for the bet to win in order to place the bet. This is where European odds are less than 2 or UK odds are less than 1/1. The odds number shows how big a stake is needed for a winning of 100 units. It is also negative – to easily know which of the two cases you're in.

Example 1: Brazil to beat England, US odds -250

Payout: Stake × (1 + 100 / US odds)  

  €200 × (1 + 100/250) = €280

Profit: Stake × 100 / US odds  

  €200 × 100/250 = €80

Notice that the negative sign in front of the odds is changed in the calculation. The number has to be positive.

Positive Odds (winning with a stake of 100 units): Positive odds are used for bets where the potential profit is larger than the stake. So bets that have a low probability of winning – since you require more than your stake back in order to place the bet. This is where European odds are larger than or equal to 2 and where UK odds are larger than or equal to 1/1. The odds number shows how big your winnings are if you bet 100 units.

Example 2: England to beat Brazil, US odds +400

Payout: Stake × (1 + US odds / 100)  

  €200 × (1 + 400/100) = €1000

Profit: Stake × US odds / 100  

  €200 × 400/100 = €800

Profit equal to stake. The borderline case, where your potential profit is equal to your stake is called Evens or odds 100. Notice that the formula for positive odds will work as intended for odds value 100.

Malaysian Odds

Like US odds, Malaysian odds can be divided according to the relationship between stake and potential profit:

Profit less than stake. In this case odds are positive and show the profit per unit you bet. Odds of 0 corresponds to the case there you have a profit identical to your stake if you win, a 50/50 bet.

Example 1: Brazil to beat England, Malay odds +0.4

Payout: Stake × (1 + Malay odds)  

  €200 × (1 + 0.4) = €280

Profit: Stake × Malay odds  

  €200 × 0.4 = €80

Profit larger than stake. In this case odds are negative and show the necessary stake to win 1 unit.

Example 2: England to beat Brazil, Malay odds -0.25

Payout: Stake × (1 - 1 / Malay odds)  

  €200 × (1 - 1/(-0.25)) = €1000

Profit: Stake × 1 / Malay odds  

  €200 × 1/0.25 = €800

Notice that the negative sign in front of the odds is removed in the calculation. The number has to be positive.

Hong Kong Odds

HK odds multiplied with your stake equals the winnings. The odds show how many units you win in pure winning per unit staked. So HK odds are just like UK odds, except not expressed in fractions but in decimals.

Example 1: Brazil to beat England, HK odds 0.4

Payout: Stake × (1 + HK odds)  

  €200 × (1 + 0.4) = €280

Profit: Stake × HK odds  

  €200 × 0.4 = €80

Indonesian Odds

Indonesian odds are just like US odds, just divided by 100. So when negative, they show how big a stake is needed for a profit of 1 and when positive, they show the profit from a stake of 1.

Profit less than stake (negative odds).

Example 1: Brazil to beat England, Indo odds -2.50

Payout: Stake × (1 - 1 / Indo odds)  

  €200 × (1 - 1/(-2.50)) = €280

Profit: Stake × - 1 / Indo odds  

  €200 × - 1/(-2.50) = €80

Profit larger than stake (positive odds).

Example 2: England to beat Brazil, Indo odds +4.00

Payout: Stake × (1 + Indo odds)  

  €200 × (1 + 4.00) = €1000

Profit: Stake × Indo odds  

  €200 × 4.00 = €800

Conversion Formulas

From European Odds:

UK = EU - 1 rounded off to nearest 'nice' fractional representation

US = 100 / (1 - EU)
EVENS
100 x (EU - 1)
if EU < 2
if EU = 2
if EU > 2

Malay = EU - 1
1 / (1 - EU)
if EU ≤ 2
if EU > 2

HK = EU - 1  

Indo = 1 / (1 - EU)
EU - 1
if EU < 2
if EU ≥ 2

To European Odds:

EU = UK + 1  

EU = 1 - (100 / US)
2
1 + (US / 100)
if US < 0
if US = EVEN
if US > 0

EU = 1 - (1 / Malay)
1 + Malay
if Malay < 0
if Malay ≥ 0

EU = HK + 1  

EU = 1 - (1 / Indo)
1 + Indo
if Indo < 0
if Indo ≥ 0

Handicaps and over under

What are Handicaps / Spreads?

Handicapping is a way of making a sports contest more even and thus more interesting as a betting object. In betting, this is done by awarding one of the teams, the underdog, some points or goals ahead. Different names and conventions are being used for this, depending on the sport and the geographical origin of the bookmaker, but once you see through this, the basic principle is always the same.

How Handicapping Works

Consider a football (soccer) match between Austria and Brazil, with Austria being the home team. A bookmaker may offer odds on an event, where Austria is given an advantage of ½ goal in the bet. The handicap is +0.5. So, if Austria scores the most goals, with ½ a goal added, they will still have won. If the teams score an equal number of goals, with the ½ goal added, Austria will have won the handicapped bet. However, if Brazil wins (by 1 goal or more), Brazil will have won in the bet. Note that with a handicap of +0.5, the game can never end in a draw.

The exact same principle can be used in any contest between two teams or individuals, where the outcome of the contest is determined by who scores the most goals / points / … For example, in a baseball match, where the team scoring the most runs is the winner, the handicap will be a number of runs awarded to the underdog. Handicapping is the most common type of bet in the US team sports. The handicap is often referred to as the spread.

For convenience, we'll stick to European football in the following examples, but everything translates directly to other sports. Just exchange goals for points, runs or whatever the score is called.

Our Odds Presentation

We always use the convention of listing the handicap in terms of (net) points awarded to the first of the two teams. If the handicap is negative, for instance -½, it means that team 1 is the favourite and will have goals deducted from its score. If the handicap is positive, it means that team 1 is the underdog and will have goals added to its score.

Draw Option / No Draw Option

The handicap might be integer, e.g., +1.0 (which means that team 1 is awarded 1 goal ahead). In this case, the contest could end in a draw – if team 1 loses with exactly 1 goal.

This can be dealt with in two possible ways: Either the bookmaker offers an option to bet on the draw, handicap with a draw option. Or he doesn't and then returns the stake (possibly deducting a minor fee), handicap without a draw option.

In the first case, the punter then has three choices, just as in a usual home / draw / away match bet. And in the latter, he only has two choices, home and away team. Just as when the handicap was +0.5. The latter principle is always used in the US sports, where draws are quite unlikely in any case due to the rules of the sports. In European football, this varies between bookmakers and some even offer both types of handicaps. The 'no draw option' type for European football is often called Asian Handicaps. Just another name.

In handicaps without a draw option, bookmakers differ in the payback percentage, which varies between 90% and 100%, with most paying back the full amount. This corresponds to voiding the bet, essentially declaring the bet unable to settle and cancelling. The payback percentages are listed at the bookmaker information pages.

A Special Feature of Asian Handicaps - Handicaps (0,+½ ) and (½,+1)

Combining Handicaps

For Asian Handicaps - that is, handicap bets without the draw option for European football matches - there is a further specialization often used, the combination of two different handicaps.

Handicap (+½,+1)

For instance, an Asian Handicap bet could be an offer of odds 1.90 for Austria to beat Brazil at home with handicap (+½,+1). This handicap is also sometimes listed as +3⁄4, which can be quite confusing and is a bad methodology. What handicap (+½,+1) means is, that the punter will be rewarded as if he placed 50% of the stake on the bet with handicap +½ and 50% of the stake on the bet with handicap +1.

In the example, the punter will get a payout of 1.90 if Austria draws or wins. And he will lose his money if Brazil wins by two goals or more. Why? Because these are the payout for both handicap +½ and +1.

If Brazil wins by 1 goal, e.g. final score Austria 0, Brazil 1, then handicaps +½ and +1 differ. The punter's money will be lost in case of handicap +½, giving a payout of 0, while the game will be tied in case of handicap +1, giving a payback of the original stake. Mixing the two together, fifty-fifty, the punter receives 0.5 x 0 + 0.5 x 1 = 0 + 0.5 = 0.5.

Handicap (0,+½)

If the handicap is (0,+½), the two handicaps in the combination will differ if the game is tied, e.g. final score Austria 1, Brazil 1. For handicap 0, the game is tied and the punter is returned his stake, a payout of 1. For handicap +½, Austria is the winning bet, and the punter receives a payout corresponding to the odds offered, 1.90. Mixing the two together, fifty-fifty, the punter receives 0.5 x 1 + 0.5 x 1.90 = 0.5 + 0.95 = 1.45.

Over / Under

What are Over / Under Bets?

Over/Under bets are mentioned here, because they remind a lot about handicaps. In an O/U bet, the bet is determined on the total number of goals / points / runs / sets ... scored in the match. For a European football match, the bet could for instance offer odds 2.10 for the total number of goals to exceed 2.5. Or in an American football game, the bet could offer odds 1.90 for the total number of points to exceed 35. And so on. You can offer Over/Under bets on anything, which is determined by the outcome of some single number.

As with handicaps, an Over/Under can end undetermined if the threshold in the bet, the total, is integer, e.g. the American football Over/Under with a total of 35. And again there is an issue of a payback / refund of the bet stake in case this happens.

Handicaps and Over/Unders are the same

The similarity between handicap and Over/Under betting is particularly clear when you notice, that handicap bets are simply Over/Under-bets, where the number determining the Over/Under is the goal difference between the two teams. You will also see an identical presentation of the two types of bets at this site.