Sports odds can be confusing especially to a novice sports bettor. If you want to become a profitable sports bettor, understanding the odds is crucial to your success.

There are three main types of betting odds you will see at any online sportsbook – moneyline, point spread, and over/under.


Straight bets, sometimes called side bets, are the simplest, most straightforward bets you can make. Before the event you pick one of the teams or players to win.

For example, the upcoming match you want to bet on is Manchester City – Liverpool. The odds are 2.25 for City, 3.5 for Liverpool, and 2.0 for the draw.

If you place $20 on Manchester City to win, you get $45 (2.25 x $20).

Point Spread

The point spread is a figure that the team you are betting on needs to win by in order to win your bet if betting on the favorite or not lose by if you are betting on the underdog.

For example, if you are betting on a team with a -6 point spread, your team will need to win by at least 7 points in order to win this bet. Alternatively, if you bet on a team with a +6 point spread, you can still win the bet even if your team loses the game provide and that they lose by 5 points or less.

If the favorite wins by 6 points in this example, regardless of whether you bet on the favorite or underdog, you bet is considered a push and will be refunded.


Over/Under bets are based on the total score of the game. For example, if you bet on over when the over/under is 120, both teams need to have a combined score at least 121 points for you to win the wager.

If you bet on under in this example, both teams would have to combine to score 119 points or less. If the combined total is 120 in this example, the wager would be a push regardless of whether you bet on the over or under.

Sports Betting Odds Format

There are three main formats you will see at online sportsbooks.
Often a sportsbook will allow you to change the format of the betting odds to one you are more comfortable.

Fractional Odds

Fractional odds are the easiest to look at, especially for novice sports betters. For example, if you are betting on the moneyline in a particular game or match, you might see Team A with 4/7 odds and Team B with 3/2 odds.

In this case you will need to wager 7 units to win 4 units on Team A or 2 units to win 3 units on Team B.

American Odds

American odds are slightly trickier to read than fractional odds, but once you get the handle on it, you may prefer this, especially if you typically bet in round denominations like 10 or 100 units per bet.

For example, in a moneyline bet, you might see a game where the favorite is listed at -130 and the underdog is listed at +120. This means you would need to wager 130 units to win 100 units on the favorite or 100 units to win 120 units on the underdog.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds might be the most confusing to understand, but are important to understand since they are the most commonly used odds at European sportsbooks.

The main difference here is that the odds include your initial bet when determining the return if you win. For example, you may see the favorite in a match listed as 1.50 and the underdog in the game listed at 2.40. Here you are betting 1 unit on the favorite to win .5 units which will net you 1.5 units since the odds include the initial wager.

If betting on the underdog, each unit you bet will net you an additional 1.4 units on top of your wager to return you 2.4 units in total.

While the examples above explain the different types of odds in reference to moneyline wagering,
the same holds true if betting on the point spread or over/under.

Typically these bets are as close to even money as possible.
However, it is important to understand the different types of odds even with these bets since it is never exactly even money.

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