How to Read Betting Odds

Guide to understand esports betting odds


One thing that is central to the entire idea of betting is odds. Odds are those funny numbers that you will see next to betting markets when you visit an online sportsbook. If you want to be successful at esports betting or any other type of wagering you need to know how to understand betting odds. In this article, we’ll discuss what odds actually signify and why you need to understand them. You will also learn how to read betting odds in three different formats – fractional, decimal and American. Read on to find out more!

What are betting odds?

The first step in learning how to read betting odds is to understand what they are. Odds are a refection of the probability of an event occurring, and they are calculated based on the mathematical principles of probability. They also give you an indication of how much money you will win if your bet is successful.

understand esports odds

Types of Odds

There are three types of betting odds that you will come across as you make your way through the world of online gambling. These are fractional odds, decimal odds and American odds.

Fractional Odds

Fractional odds will look familiar to anyone reading this in the UK or Ireland. The probability of an event occurring is represented by a fraction. So, for a soccer match, you might see Liverpool at 2/1 to beat Celtic, priced at 8/1, in a Champions League tie. That means that if you bet £1 on Liverpool, you would receive £3 – your winnings of £2 and your £1 stake returned. If you backed Celtic, you would win £8 plus your stake.

While this can seem confusing at first, fractions actually make it pretty simple to calculate probability and winnings. Increasingly, however, many bettors in the UK and Ireland are actually opting to use European style decimal odds when they bet, as they are a little simpler.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are perhaps the simplest format of odds to understand. They are used in continental Europe. They are a simple number like 1.75 that is then multiplied by your stake to tell you how much you will win if your bet is successful. For example, if you wanted to bet on Andy Murray to win a tennis match against Rafael Nadal, you might see the two players given odds of 4.5 and 1.75 respectively.

That would mean if you bet €10 on Murray and he won, you would receive €45 plus your stake back. If you bet €10 on Nadal, you would win €17.50 plus your stake returned. It really is that simple when it comes to how to read decimal odds!

American Odds

American odds are in many ways the toughest odds to understand, especially for non-Americans. American odds are presented in a slightly unusual format. When you look at an American betting market, you will see a negative numbers next to some options and positive numbers next to others. The negative number is the amount of money that you would need to bet to win $100. The positive number is the amount of money that you would win if you staked $100 on this particular market.

While that sounds pretty simple, the format of these odds can be a little confusing if you are unfamiliar with them. The positive numbers indicate that a result is less likely to happen, while the negative numbers are associated with favourites.

Let’s take an example of an NFL game between Miami Dolphins and New York Jets as an example. You might see Miami awarded odds of -130 and the Jets assigned odds of +210. This would mean that you would need to bet $130 on the favourites, Miami, to win $100. If you decided to bet on New York, you would win $210 if you bet $100. A good grasp of mathematics is hugely useful when you’re wondering how to convert American odds to decimal!

Reading Esports Odds

Betting on esports has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many people who are entirely new to the concept of betting becoming enthusiasts on the back of betting on games like CSGO, Dota 2 and League of Legends. If you’re wondering whether esports odds are any different to conventional sports betting odds, you have no need to worry. The ideas behind how esports betting odds are calculated are the same as those that underpin conventional sports betting.

If you’re looking to bet on esports, you will see the same odds formats used as you would if you were betting on soccer, cricket or American football. If you’re new to betting and you want to place some esports wagers, then it is vital that you understand odds before you place any bets for real money. Learning to read esports odds is as straightforward as learning to read normal sports betting odds. If you want to understand esports betting odds, it is a good idea to learn about conventional sports betting odds first.


As you can see, odds are a reflection of probability as well as giving you an indication of how much money you will win if your bet is successful. While fractional, decimal and American odds might look vastly different, they are all just reflections of probability rendered in different formats. The key is to use the format with which you are most comfortable, and to remember that low odds do not guarantee a win!

how to read betting odds

How to Read Betting Odds FAQs

How do you calculate betting odds?

Betting odds are a calculation of probability that bookmakers offer. It is important to realise that bookmakers will always shape odds to ensure that they maintain their profit whatever the outcome of a sporting event. This is why there is always a ‘margin’ in play with odds, rather than them being a raw reflection of probability.

What do you need to know about betting?

Probably the most important thing to know about betting is how to read betting odds. Unless you acquire this skill, your time spent betting is likely to be confused and unenjoyable. You need a clear understanding of odds to feel confident when betting.

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