Betting Odds Explained

Betting odds explained

Betting odds can appear daunting at first glance but they are actually quite straightforward to calculate. We’ve devised a beginners guide to explain betting odds.

How do odds work?

When looking at the odds (price) of a horse, the two formats used are decimals and fractions. Betting exchanges operate in decimals, whereas fixed-odds betting firms generally operate in fractions.

When determining the returns of a fractional bet, the second number always suggests the stake and the first number denotes what the profit will be if the bet wins. Take 4/1 as an example. If you stake £1 on a horse, then you stand to win £4 if the selection wins the race, which excludes your initial stake. In contrast, the decimal format factors in the initial stake. Betting odds of 4/1 would equate to 5.0 in decimal terms, 5/1 would be 6.0, and so forth.

See the chart below for a breakdown of betting odds in both fractional and decimal format, showing forecasted returns to £5 level stakes for the key prices in a market.

Knowing your odds

wdt_ID Fractional Decimal WIN RETURNS FROM £5 (inc. stake)
1 1-2 1.5 £7.50
2 4-7 1.57 £7.86
3 8-13 1.62 £8.08
4 4-6 1.67 £8.33
5 8-11 1.73 £8.64
6 4-5 1.80 £9.00
7 5-6 1.83 £9.16
8 10-11 1.91 £9.55
9 1-1 2.00 £10.00
10 11-10 2.10 £10.50

If you want to work out your winnings from a multiple bets such as an accumulator, we recommend you use a betting calculator to do it for you. See our list of betting calculators here.