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Gambling 101: What are Standard Odds Formats?

Our Sports Gambling 101 series continues with a look at the big three standard betting odds formats. How do bettors read and calculate American, Fractional and Decimal prices?

Cashing winning sports betting tickets requires a quality research plan, proper bankroll management, plus a solid understanding of the odds. There are three main odds formats. Which style bettors use is a personal choice.

As the name suggests, American odds are the primary format for sports in the United States. Fractional odds are the standard betting option in the United Kingdom while Decimal odds is the most common format offered in Canada and Europe.

What Are American Betting Odds?

Bookmakers light up betting boards with American odds at land-based sportsbooks in the United States. Online betting sites default to American odds and some offer a choice of all three formats from a drop down menu on the homepage. While they may appear complicated at first glance - American odds are easy to understand and calculate. Illustrated in the NFL example below, the favorite is tagged with negative odds and the underdog is posted with positive prices.


From the DraftKings Sportsbook odds above, New Orleans is the moneyline favorite. Bettors need to wager $195 to earn a $100 return if the Saints win straight up. Tampa Bay backers would bank a $160 profit with a $100 bet if the Buccaneers upset the Saints as a road underdog. Juice on the point spread and game total odds is priced at -110 so bettors need to wager $110 to bank a $100 profit on any of those four options. Daily SI gambling picks are often presented with American odds.

What Are Fractional Odds?

Along with their popularity in the UK, fractional odds are the primary format used to bet on horse racing. Calculating fractional odds is fairly simple as the first number is the possible profit and the second number is the bet amount. In the example below, bettors receive an $8 return for every $5 wagered on the 8/5 Tampa Bay underdog moneyline. The Saints are a 13/25 favorite and players collect $13 on every $25 wagered if New Orleans wins the match straight up.

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What Are Decimal Odds?

Decimal pricing is offered as the main odds format in Europe and on antiquated sports lottery options in Canada. With decimal odds, a 2.00 price represents an EVEN line and that’s equivalent to +100 American odds and a 1/1 Fractional line. Any side with a price of 2.01 or higher is a favorite while odds of 1.99 or lower indicates an underdog. A $100 bet on the Saints 1.52 moneyline returns $52 while a $100 wager yields a $160 net profit with the Bucs 2.60 decimal price.


Shop For Best Priced Betting Odds With All Formats

Possible returns are universal with the big three standard odds formats. It is however wise to register accounts at two or more sportsbooks in order to shop for the best prices. Comparing American odds, players receive a lower point spread with New Orleans (-4) at DraftKings while FanDuel offers more value on the Buccaneers (+170) moneyline. Being a math genius isn’t required since returns are displayed while placing bets plus on electronic and paper tickets.