For Jack Miller, a career that focused on sports was the only one he had ever considered.
Our team at Betastic.com has established itself as a much-sought-after authority when it comes to sports betting. Enlightening new bettors on the ins and outs of sports betting odds is just but one of our many specialties.
While getting the best sportsbooks odds largely determines the outcome of your betting exploits, many punters don’t fully understand the necessary fundamentals. This guide, therefore, explains why you need to compare odds, how odds are presented, and why bookies offer different odds. We also dig deeper into how you can manipulate all this information to your advantage.
Most important reasons to compare odds – your betting compass
Many new sports bettors wonder why they should compare odds at all. Does a small percentage difference in the odds make a lot of difference? The short answer is Yes! If you bet online without conducting a betting odds comparison, you’re pretty much shooting yourself in the foot and shortchanging your bank balance. That’s because odds determine whether a wager is indeed worth pursuing.
Sports betting odds serve one of two purposes. Firstly, odds give you a heads up on the likelihood of a particular outcome happening, before the game even starts. The lower the odds, the more likely the outcome will be. And the opposite is generally true. That means you can expect to win less if the odds are low, which makes perfect sense. Secondly, be it ice hockey betting sites or NASCAR betting platforms, bookies use sports betting odds to calculate the payouts for winning punters. The higher the odds, the more money you’ll get from a winning bet.
How do bookmakers determine their odds? – research + math
To provide you with the best odds in any market, bookies calculate a variety of probabilities based on extensive data. Rather than blatant guesswork, previous game stats are an excellent indicator of how the next events may turn out.
Also, to offer you the best sportsbooks odds, bookies take their cue from the caliber of players playing on each side. Are they seasoned professionals, newbies, or intermediary sportsmen? As expected, anytime masters in the trade are part of the game, the odds rise. Speaking of players, the best sports betting sites for baseball also consider the fitness levels. Do certain players participating in the game have a history of injuries, or they’re in tip-top shape? As you can imagine, these factors are likely to affect how a game plays out in most cases.
Bookmakers deem themselves as experts in all things sports betting, so their opinion should count for something. They, therefore, also take into account their expert opinion as well as that of other MLB betting sites or NFL betting sites, depending on their area of interest to craft the best sportsbooks odds. In a nutshell, the more data bookies have, the more accurate their number-crunching process and the more competitive their odds will be.
Why do odds vary between bookmakers? – specialization and overround
Based on the above information, it’d appear that Sportsbooks draw their information from the same sources when structuring the best sportsbooks odds. So, how then do odds vary from one bookie and the next? For one, coverage has a lot to do with it. For instance, the best betting sites for tennis will concentrate their coverage on the sport. They’ll analyze what happens in major tennis events like Wimbledon and possibly know the players in and out. Naturally, such bookies will offer better tennis odds than the best betting sites for MLB.
Then there’s the aspect of overround, which is the sum of all odds based on the outcome of a single event. Bookies are in it to make a profit. So, bookmaker odds factor in margins that ensure they make a profit irrespective of the outcome. And these profit margins vary among bookies, thereby affecting sportsbook betting odds.
Most popular odds formats explained – American, decimal, fractional
Undoubtedly, there’s some math involved when it comes to betting odds comparison. Three distinct types of odds namely decimal, fraction, and American odds exist in the world of sports betting. And as standard practice, bookies display these odds clearly on their website for all to see using their respective formats. Bettors generally get used and stick to whichever format they started with. As these are merely different ways of presenting the same thing, different odds formats hold no real difference regarding payouts. You can even convert one format into another and also show the figures as implied probability percentages.
Decimal odds explained
Decimal odds are also known as European odds or continental odds, depending on who you ask. These sports betting odds formats are popular in continental Europe, New Zealand, and Canada. Because they are easier to understand and work with, decimal odds are also popular among sports betting fans who prefer simplicity. By merely looking at decimal odds on a site, most bettors can immediately differentiate the favorite teams from the underdogs.
The decimal number you see represents the amount you will win for every $1 you wager. The number typically shows you the total payout you’ll get should you win as opposed to just your profit. In short, the number already includes your wager, so you don’t need to wrack your brain calculating your profits.
For instance, let’s say the decimal sportsbook betting odds for a football match are Germany 4.00 and Italy 1.3. It means if you wager $100 on Germany, your total payout will be $100 x 4 = $400. That means your total payout of $400 already includes your $100 wager leaving you with a clean $300 return.
Fractional odds explained
In sports betting, fractional odds are also referred to as British, UK, or traditional odds. As these monikers imply, this odds format is widely preferred by British and Irish betting sites. Typical of how you write fractions, a slash or hyphen divides the two numbers with fractional odds. For example, 8/1 or 8-, which is read as “eight to one”. Some of the world’s largest bookies predominantly favor fractional odds. This is why they are the most preferred sports betting odds format by punters the world over.
Sticking to our 8/1 example, should you see such a fractional listing on a sports betting site, it means you will win $8 for each $1 that you wager. That’s in addition to receiving the amount you wager back, which will be $1 in this case. Simply put, fractional odds represent the ratio of the profit you win relative to your initial bet. And, you’ll receive your stake in addition to the profit. Using the same example, your total payout using these fractional bookmaker odds will be $8 + $1= $9.
American odds explained
American odds, also known as moneyline sports betting odds, are naturally popular at betting sites based in the United States. When displayed on betting sites, a positive or negative sign before a particular bookie-determined number accompanies the odds.
Odds for favorite teams will have a negative (-) indicating the amount you’ll need to wager to win $100. On the other hand, odds for the underdogs will feature a positive (+) sign indicating the amount won for every $100 that you wager. However, in both instances, bettors will get their initial wager back in addition to the amount they win. As a general rule of thumb, the margins between the odds for favorites and underdogs widen as the probability of winning for the stronger team increases.
Let’s provide a bit of perspective? Say you’ve set your sights on basketball betting sites, the Lakers and Chicago Bulls are playing, and the American odds + 520 and -700 are displayed, respectively. That basically shows that the Lakers have a very low probability of winning the game. You’ll need to risk $100 to possibly win $520. If you do win, you’ll receive $620, which is $520 plus your $100 wager.
How to calculate the expected value – another quick math lesson
Rather than placing bets solely based on the best sportsbooks odds they see, savvy bettors can take it a notch higher by looking for the expected value (EV) of their bets. Put simply, the expected value is a measure of the average amount you can expect to win on each bet you place. For this reason, it’s one of the most valuable calculations you can make when comparing bookies. When you weigh bets by the expected value you automatically have an edge over most bettors.
If you’re a horse racing fan and looking for the EV of bets, you have to consider the lines, extensions, and probabilities that the best horse betting sites for the US provide for each event. Using this approach, you’re able to determine whether a bet is over or undervalued before you decide whether or not to go ahead and place the wager. Ultimately, this helps you determine whether the odds you see are indeed among the best sportsbooks odds.
To calculate the EV, you multiply your winning probability by the amount you could win per bet. You then subtract your losing probability multiplied by the amount you may lose per bet.
That’s (Payout per bet) x (Winning Probability) — (Losing Probability) x (Loss amount per bet)
Using the calculation, the EV could either be positive or negative. You can, therefore, use this information to decide whether or not placing bets with a particular bookie is worth it.
Why loyalty doesn’t always pay – protect your bottom line
In the game of sports, loyalty to a particular team is the name of the game. In sports betting, on the other hand, this notion doesn’t carry any weight. To put it bluntly, it’s not in your best interests to be loyal to any one sportsbook. Considering that real money wagers are on the line, putting all your eggs in one basket by pledging allegiance to one bookie may equate to lost value. It’s best to shop around to get the best sportsbooks odds for the following reasons.
Increase your winning chances
Bookies are always looking to put their best foot forward to get an edge over their competitors. Having competitive odds is a sure-fire way to lure bettors to their sites. So, by avoiding betting odds comparison and overlooking what other bookies are offering, you risk losing out on better payouts.
Boost your winning chances
Apart from increasing your winning chances, betting on different sites after in-depth betting odds comparison helps you shine a light on the likely match outcomes. That in turn maximizes your average returns.
Never lose out
Sure, there’s some level of familiarity that comes with sticking to one or two baseball betting sites. You feel your money is secure and don’t think other bookies may have better products out there. However, by adopting this approach, you may be losing out on not only better odds but a lot of other bonuses and perks. This is regardless of whether or not your present bookie is offering true odds.
Other factors to consider when comparing odds – covering all your bases
Odds are an essential part of online betting. It follows that conducting a thorough betting odds comparison will guarantee you the best deal possible and the most bang for your buck. But at the same time, odds aren’t everything. There are other factors you need to consider before signing up with any bookie.
Sports welcome bonuses are a great example of factors to consider seriously. Along with odds, the best betting sites for NBA often structure alluring bonuses to get bettors on board. We’re talking the likes of bonus money, which can beef up your bankroll and help you place more wagers. It might be that placing a bet at slightly ‘worse’ odds with a bookmaker that’s offering generous bonuses is still a worthwhile proposition. VIP clubs and rewards programs are also worth looking into when looking for a bookie. Some bookmakers offer loyal bettors attractive rewards, which typically make up for the relatively lower odds.
Odds comparison vs live betting – make good use of your time
The best betting sites for basketball and other sports are pulling out all the stops to gain a competitive edge against their competitors. Allowing bettors to place live bets while a match is in play is part of the drill.
That way, bettors can still get a piece of the action, even after an event has started. As progressive as this sounds, live betting odds comparison also has shortcomings. In-play odds tend to move at a much quicker pace. It goes without saying that reviewing odds under pressure while a match is in play might negatively influence your betting decisions.
However, there might be a few ways to get around this conundrum and still get the best possible odds deal. Say you want to bet on tennis, players get a 15-minute warm-up session. You could use that time to place your bet.
Conclusion – get the odds to work in your favor
Whether you’re looking for the best sports betting sites for football or ones for other markets, sports betting odds should be an integral part of your decision-making matrix. Odds reflect your chances of winning and determine your potential payout. Just as you likely wouldn’t purchase something without shopping around, you shouldn’t align yourself with a bettor without comparing odds.
The goal is for you to get the best sportsbook cash out deal possible and maximize your wins. Even when you sign up with a bookie you believe has the best odds, it’s not good form to become overly loyal to the site. That bookie might offer competitive odds today, but another site might have better odds tomorrow, so always shop around. Just remember not to base your decisions solely on odds. Check other factors like bonuses and rewards programs before making a decision.
Sports betting odds help you ascertain your probability of winning and by how much you’re likely to win. It follows that in the online betting world, a bookie is as good as its odds. That’s why bookmakers go all out to be deemed as betting sites with the highest odds. But does it mean they could be biased? It pays to get an understanding of how bookies determine their odds, as explained in our guides.
📺 Are live betting odds comparisons better than placing bets before the event?
Allowing players to place bets while a game is in session is a fairly new phenomenon that’s quickly taking over the betting world. As opposed to waiting to place bets only before a match starts, you can now place bets during the game and watch how your wager plays out live. Whether live betting odds comparison is better than pre-event bets depends on your timing. Betastic.com guides do a great job of showing how each type of betting works.
🔢 How do you choose the best sportsbooks odds?
Comparing odds is crucial when betting if you intend on stretching your buck and going on a winning streak. But given the number of bookies on the market, it’s daunting to pick the best sportsbooks odds. But lucky for you, there are factors you can consider, which we unpack in our betting guides and reviews.