Sports Gambling 101: What are Fixed Odds?

Our Gambling 101 series continues with an explanation of fixed odds. What are fixed odds and how do they affect the sports betting process?
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Depending on the betting market, there are a few meanings for the term fixed odds. Implying that an event may be fixed, in favor of one side or the other, is not one of them. No matter the wagering option, standard or exotic, odds become fixed when a bookmaker accepts a wager. For example, if +140 is the accepted price on a moneyline bet and the number dips to +125 prior to the match, players who wagered on the +140 price retain that line as fixed odds.

Lock in Fixed Odds on Futures Bets

Betting on Kansas City to win Super Bowl 54 is a good example of locking in favorable fixed odds. The Chiefs entered the 2019 season with +850 NFL championship futures odds. Prior to the Divisional playoff round, with eight teams remaining in the hunt, the Chiefs had a +350 price. Kansas City closed at -120, but bettors who bought the preseason price earned $850 for every $100 they bet on the Chiefs. Preseason futures offer solid fixed odds value.

Horse Racing Fixed Odds

In horse racing, fixed odds are posted well in advance of a race. Also known as ante-post odds, fixed odds often have more value than real-time track odds posted on race day. One week prior to the 2019 Kentucky Derby, bettors received 80/1 fixed odds on longshot Country House. By race day, he was posted with a 30/1 off-track odds. When jockey Flavien Prat willed Country House to victory, bettors with 80/1 fixed odds earned $80 for every dollar they bet.

Fixed Odds: Advantage or Disadvantage?

The primary advantage to locking in fixed odds is securing line value on a competition where the odds and/or juice may increase. This is especially true with opening odds, as those lines are normally adjusted shortly after the initial wave of wagering. The primary disadvantage is being stuck with odds that aren’t as favorable as the closing lines. That would occur in NBA betting if a wager was placed on the LA Lakers at -10.5 and the line dipped to -9 points prior to tipoff. 

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