Understanding betting odds – How to calculate your potential payouts?

If you’re an experienced bettor or just starting, understanding how betting odds work is key to calculating your potential payouts and making informed bets. Betting odds represent the probability of an outcome occurring and the potential return on a successful bet. Odds usually appear as fractions or decimals, for example,

  1. 3/1 odds (or 3.0) 
  2. 1/2 odds (or 1.50)

The higher the odds, the more unlikely the outcome, while the lower the odds, the more probable the outcome. Sportsbooks designate one team as the favorite and assign them lower odds, indicating they’re expected to win. The other team is the underdog and gets higher odds since they’re less likely to win. For example, Team A is favored at 1/3 odds to beat Team B, the underdog at 2/1 odds. A $30 bet on Team A at 1/3 odds would payout $10 in profit. A $10 wager on Team B at 2/1 odds would return $20 in profit if they pull off the upset.

Bet Types

Several common bet types use odds differently.

  • Moneyline odds – Betting on a team to win straight up, odds are adjusted based on perceived advantage.
  • Point spread – Betting on the margin of victory after points are added to the underdog or subtracted from the favorite.
  • Totals – Betting on whether teams will combine to score over or under a set number of points.
  • Parlays – Combining bets on multiple games to increase the payout, all must win.

The main way odds impact payouts is that higher odds result in a bigger payout for a successful bet. Lower odds pay out less because that outcome is more likely to happen. For example, odds of +200 (2.0 decimal odds) mean a $100 bet would payout $200 in profit for a winner. Odds of -200 (1.5 decimal odds) mean $200 must be bet to win $100 in profit.

How to calculate potential returns?

Look at the odds and determine if they are fractions, decimals, or moneyline style. Convert to a fraction if decimal. Determine if it is a positive or negative money line. Positive means underdog, the payout is the amount won for a $100 bet. Negative means favorite, payout is $100 for every amount bet. For fractional odds, divide the second number by the first (4/1 = 4). The answer is the payout on a $1 bet, including the original stake. 

For moneyline odds, divide the payout by 100 and multiply by the bet amount to get the total payout amount. For decimal odds, multiply odds by bet amount to calculate payout – no need to subtract the original stake. Use online odds calculators to calculate payouts and convert odds. Handy for parlays. Look for betting jbo680 sites that allow you to see potential payouts before placing bets.

Key takeaways

  • Betting odds represent implied probabilities and possible payouts on wagers.
  • Lower odds indicate a more likely outcome and lower payout, while higher odds offer bigger returns for upset picks.
  • Payout calculations require converting odds formats, determining if lines are for or against favorites, and doing the math.
  • Online odds calculators simplify the process and allow you to see potential returns across multiple bets.
  • Knowing how to calculate payouts yourself helps you evaluate the true value of betting odds.

Understanding betting odds is essential for making smart wagers with the greatest return. Take time to learn the odds formats and payout calculations, so you bet on sports and other events more profitably.


David Rosenberg: A seasoned political journalist, David's blog posts provide insightful commentary on national politics and policy. His extensive knowledge and unbiased reporting make him a valuable contributor to any news outlet.