# Sports odds – what do they mean?

You don’t know where the odds for the matches come from, how exactly bookmakers calculate them, what they are, why they are constantly changing – it doesn’t matter! In our article, we will give you answers to all these questions in simple language and with illustrative examples.

## Types of odds

The coefficient is the most important concept in the field of betting, its understanding largely determines the success of the game. It is installed by the bookmaker and calculates the probability of a particular outcome of an event.
Bookmakers around the world mainly use 3 types of odds: English, European and British. Their mathematical component is unchanged, and when recalculated one on top of the other, they will give the same result. The difference is only in appearance, but for many users this is very important.

### English coefficient

The first bookmakers appeared in England, so English fractional odds can be called the progenitors of all others.

If we look at them with an illustrative example, we will imagine a match between Manchester United and Brighton, in which the first team is the undisputed favorite. The coefficient for her victory is 2/15. This means that with a bet of 15 monetary units (any currency can be), the player will receive, in case of a win, 2 units from the top. For example, if he bets \$ 15, his winnings will be \$ 17: 15 (stake) + 2 (net profit).

For many players from the post-Soviet space, such odds are unfamiliar, inconvenient and incomprehensible, therefore they are rarely found in domestic bookmakers.

### European coefficient

But this type of odds is perfectly familiar to the overwhelming majority of bettors from all over the world, including the post-Soviet space.

These are the usual odds like 1.35, 2.14, 3.7 and so on. It is they who are priority all over the world and are used in any large bookmaker.

As an illustrative example, consider the match between Juventus and Udinese. The bookmakers give a coefficient of 1.4 for the victory of Turin, 5 for a draw, and 12 for Udinese to win. That is, if you bet 1000 rubles on the “Old Lady”, in the event of a pass, your net winnings will be 400 rubles + the amount of your bet (1000 rubles). … If you bet on a draw and win, your net winnings will be 4,000 rubles + your stake (1,000 rubles). If Udinese suddenly wins, and you bet on it, the bookmaker will be forced to pay you 12,000 rubles (11,000 rubles net winnings and 1,000 rubles bet amount).

### American odds

This is another type of odds not very popular in the world, which, as the name implies, is presented exclusively in North American bookmakers. Americans do not use fractions, replacing them with signs “+” and “-“, which show the favorites and outsiders of the match.

Simply put, “+” is the amount of profit that can be obtained from a bet of \$ 100. For example, a coefficient of +1500 means that you will receive a net profit of \$ 1500. This will be exactly the profit, and the total payment will be \$ 1600 (\$ 100 for your bet and \$ 1500 for profit). To convert the American plus factor to the European one, divide it by 100 and add 1. For example: 1500/100 + 1 = 16.

The “-” sign means exactly the opposite: the amount you need to bet in order to get a net profit of \$ 100. For example, a coefficient of –450 means that you need to bet \$ 450 to get a net profit of \$ 100. To convert the American minus coefficient to the European one, you need to divide 100 by its value and add 1. For example: 100/450 + 1 = 1.22.

For example, in the match between Chelsea and Norwich, the hosts are the clear favorites, and the North American bookmakers offer a coefficient of -450 for their victory. This means that to get a net profit of 100 currency units, you need to place a bet of 450 currency units. Outsiders, on the other hand, have a positive coefficient. On the victory of Norwich, it is equal to +1500, which guarantees you a profit of 1500 with a bet of 100 currency units.

## Differences between three odds on the example of one match

To summarize all of the above, let’s compare the odds of different types using the example of one match. Let’s take the Manchester derby between Manchester City and Manchester United as a basis.

First, let’s look at the European odds familiar to most.: the bookmaker (in this case, this is Marathon) estimates W1 with a coefficient of 1.31, X – 5.95, W2 – 11. You can see the odds for other outcomes of this fight next to it.

As an example, let’s choose the outcome P1 and bet 1000 rubles on it.

As you can see, our potential winnings will be 1310 rubles.

Next, let’s look at the less familiar English odds: The marathon evaluates W1 with a factor of 31/100, X – 99/20, W2 – 10/1.

Nearby you can see the odds for other outcomes of this fight. As an example, let’s choose the outcome P1 and bet 1000 rubles on it.

As you can see, our potential winnings will again amount to exactly 1310 rubles.

And finally, let’s look at American odds that are completely unusual for a European bettor: The marathon evaluates P1 with a coefficient of -323, X – +495, P2 – +1000.

As an example, let’s choose the outcome P1 and bet 1000 rubles on it.

As you can see, our potential winnings will be 1310 rubles.

## How odds are calculated

Now we come to the most important question in the article: how exactly do bookmakers calculate odds?

Let’s take this process step by step:

• First of all, experts analyze the real probability of a particular outcome. in a specific fight. It does this by evaluating analytical (mathematics and probability theory) and heuristic (expert opinion) methods. For example, take the match between Liverpool and Brighton. Analysts determined the probability of outcomes in this match as follows: Liverpool win 80%, draw 15%, Brighton win 5%.
• Further, on the basis of these data, the coefficients are calculated, for which the unit is divided by the probability percentage. It turns out that the odds for Liverpool’s victory are 1.25 (1 / 0.8), for a draw – 6.6 (1 / 0.15), for Brighton’s victory – 20 (1 / 0.05). But you will not see such coefficients in the line. Why? – Read on.
• If the bookmaker places the odds obtained by means of calculations, he will not be able to receive a guaranteed profit. Now remember the most important point: the bookmaker always makes a profit, regardless of the bets of the players! To achieve this, he deliberately lowers the odds. For example, for this match he will give the following odds: W1 – 1.15, X – 6, W2 – 15. If we translate these numbers into percentages, we get the following: 86% + 16% + 6% = 108%. These additional 8% – this is the very guaranteed profit of the bookmaker, which is also called margin.
• Margin is the difference between the actual probability and the one determined by the analysts., and then bookmakers. In different bookmakers, the margin is different, its average value ranges from 2 to 10 percent, depending on the bookmaker’s greed.
• And the last moment that we would like to talk about – bookmakers deliberately underestimate the odds for the favorites to win… Remember the approximate odds that we offered for the Liverpool – Brighton match (W1 – 1.15, X – 6, W2 – 15)? And now let’s imagine that a total of 1,000,000 rubles was bet on this game, of which 90% for the favorite, another 5% for a draw and 5% for an outsider. So, if the favorites win as expected, the bookmaker will have to give those who bet on Liverpool 1,035,000 rubles (900,000 * 1.15). In case of a draw – 300,000 (50,000 * 6) and if Brighton suddenly wins – 750,000 (50,000 * 15). It turns out that the bookmaker will be in the red if the favorite wins and will make a profit only if the result is a draw or an outsider wins. Naturally, such an alignment is not acceptable for bookmakers, and therefore they constantly underestimate the odds for the victory of outsiders. As a result, we are more likely to see the outcome from W1 at 1.05 in the line, and then, if it passes, the bookmaker will pay the players 945,000 rubles, and take a net profit of 55,000 rubles for himself. This is how the bookmaker’s offices constantly remain in the black, regardless of the results of the bets of its players.

## Why odds are constantly changing

So, you already know how odds are calculated in bookmaker’s counters, and now you have to answer the question: why are they constantly changing?

The answer will be simpler than you might imagine: the main reason for the odds changes is the bets of the players themselves.

If one of the outcomes begins to be massively “loaded”, the bookmaker, in order to equalize the rates, lowers the coefficient for this event and, accordingly, increases it to the opposite. In this case, the bookmaker will avoid unnecessary payments if the event on which they are massively bet wins in the end.

Of course, sometimes the odds change for reasons beyond the control of the player: for example, the unexpected absence of the leader of one of the teams, the dismissal of a coach, or even a sudden sharp change in weather conditions. But in the overwhelming majority of cases bookmakers change odds due to the behavior of the players.