Betting odds explained in this Gambling for Novices course.

Betting odds explained

Betting odds explained: In this guide, we will show you the following.

  1. What is are the odds in sports betting?
  2. How do betting odds work
  3. How to read odds
  4. How to find winning odds
  5. How to combine odds for a winning multiplier.

For a Beginner to betting, understanding betting odds would be one of the first steps into the gambling world. In our course on Betting for Novices, we will show you how to interpret and decipher winning odds.

What are the odds in sports betting?

Betting odds explained

In Betting, odds are a numerical value given to a probability of an outcome of a sports event. In other words, it is simply a numerical value assigned by a bookmaker on the expected result of a match and other statistics.

In the image below we have the most common type of odds which is 3 way or most commonly referred to as 1X2 odds. 1 is the home team winning, in this case, Newyork City Winning odds being 1.57, X represents a draw for both teams at 4.32 and 2 Represents an away win in this case being Columbus winning 5.40 away.

Betting odds explained

How do Betting ODDS work?

Now that we know what odds are, let’s talk about how they work. A bookmaker will place odds on a sporting match once their algorithms determine the potential outcome of a match. Now a bookmaker is out to make a profit, that’s why they are in a business which means the odds that you see are not usually representative of a correct mathematical probability, they have to factor in their winning cost margin as well.

For example, Imagine a game of Coin flip. When one flips a coin, the probability of the coin landing heads or tails is 50-50, so under normal circumstances, the odds one would get would be 2.00 but typical odds by a bookmaker would be 1.80.

How to read odds?

Let’s assume that you now have a basic understanding of how odds are meant to work and the logistics behind them, now we need to cover how to read odds because reading is them is the prerequisite of choosing winning odds.

We have covered the most common of odds but there are literally thousands of odds combinations that one can use to place a bet. We will talk about the most common here.

  • Three-way – as we’ve said earlier 3 way is the most common odds available. It means a home win, a draw, or an away win.
  • Double Chance – 1 or X means one has the chance of two outcomes. Home win or draw. Draw or away win and home or away win. if either or the either comes true then it’s a winning bet.
  • Over /Under – In this case Over Under is dependent on goals, If the outcome predicted is either over 2.5 goals or under that and etc
  • Both Teams to Score – Will both teams in a game score or not
  • Three-Way First Half – Same as three-way but for the first half only.
  • Correct Score – What is the correct score at the end of a match
  • Correct score – first half – Correct score first half
  • Half time/full time – What are the outcomes at both half time and full time
Betting odds explained
  • Total goals exactly – How many goals will be scored in the game.
  • Odd/even – Will the total goals be even or odd.
  • Euro handicap – goals are added to the underdog and accordingly subtracted from the favorite.
  • Over/under – first half – Same as Over Under but results for the first half.
  • Draw no bet – full time -A wager would be considered null if the outcome is a draw.
  • Both teams to score – first half – Awager on if both teams will score in the first half.
  • Full-time result + total goals over/under – A wager on if the total score is over or under a given line.
  • Full-time result + both teams to score – The result of a match in addition to if both teams will score.
  • Half with most goals – Half with the highest amount of goals wager.
  • Number of goals in groups – full time – Betting wager on goals in a grouping for example 2-5, 3-4, 0-2,
  • Total goals over/under home team – full-time This is the total number of goals scored by the home team.
  • Total goals over/under away team – full time – This is the total number of goals scored by the away team.
  • The first team to score – Awager on the first team to score.
  • Asian handicap – full time – A team receives a Handicap which means that one team receives a virtual head start.
  • Asian handicap – half time A team receives a Handicap which means that one team receives a virtual head start in a given half.
  • Asian total goals over/under – full time A team receives a Handicap which means that one team receives a virtual head start on goals for a given match.
  • Asian total goals over/under – half time – A team receives a Handicap which means that one team receives a virtual head start on a given half on goals.

How to find winning odds

I will not delve much into this here as we will be covering this in greater detail on another course sufficed to say this is the reason you are here reading this because you are interested in knowing how to pick winning odds.

The most common way to pick winning odds, however, is to pick favorites, while nothing in betting is ever guaranteed, favorite teams are usually predicted to win by a higher margin than normal which is why their odds are somewhat lesser than normal as seen in the diagram below. Pick favorites and you are assured of a winning bet.

How to combine odds for a winning multiplier

One of the most common strategies one can employ is one where you combine multiple odds to create a bigger payout, for example, the odds above can be combined to increase the multiplier otherwise known as a Multi bet.


Odds play a key role in a winning betting strategy when it comes to sports betting. But one has to understand that odds do not have a 100% on the outcome of a match rather they are skewered based on the bookmaker’s belief on how they would make money on that given game so do not take them as gospel. Using A strategy like Arbitrage betting, you can also beat the bookmakers at their own game.