You can’t expect to walk into a sportsbook and make a strong bet if you don’t understand the odds. If you can’t read the odds on a bet, then you won’t know how much you’re putting at stake or how much the payout is. But don’t worry if you haven’t a clue. Between lines, decimals, and fractional odds, you’ll get the hang of it in no time.
The line is the typical format of betting odds in America and the staple of football bets. It shows how much money you’ll need to bet in order to make $100. For example, if you see a bet at -300, then that means you’ll need to bet $300 to make $100. Pretty easy, right? On the other hand, what if you see a bet at +300? Well, if you flip everything, this means when you bet $100, you’ll make $300, which sounds a lot more lucrative.
The formula for decimal odds is simple. Just multiply your wager by the decimal odds and you’ll get your potential payout. For example, multiply a $100 bet by 2.50 odds to win. This results in a total payout of $250, or $150 net. Decimal odds depend on the mentality of multipliers, meaning the tougher the odds, the higher the payout, which coincides with common sense. However, this also means parlays are a much faster way to rack up bigger money with a smaller bet, because it’s more difficult to win.
You’ll see fractional odds most commonly in horse races on the tote board. These odds express the same result as lines, just in a different format. Instead of lines, you deal in fractions. For example, say you take a bet that has 3/1 odds (or “three to one”.)This means you’ll get $300 on a $100 bet. To reverse the process, imagine you have 1/3 odds. Simply flipping the numbers, you’ll receive $100 on a $300 bet.
The concept of lines, decimal odds, and fractional odds are easy to get once you have a little practice in the sportsbook. If you get flustered and can’t figure out what exactly your bet entails, don’t be afraid to ask the cashier at the sportsbook for their assistance.