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American odds are also known as moneylines, and, like other odds, are a way of expressing how likely the bookmaker thinks a result is and what the return to a bettor will receive if a particular stake is bet. All American odds are calculated using a stake of 100, and are expressed as either a positive (with a + sign) or a negative (using a – sign). The plus or minus sign offers an indication of how likely the bookmaker thinks a result is. In addition, a plus sign means that the odds indicate how much profit will be made on a 100 stake, while a minus sign means that the odds show how much needs to be bet in order to make 100.
In practical terms, a bet which has odds of -250 is a stronger favourite than one which has odds of -175. Similarly, a + sign indicates an outsider, and the higher the number, such as +275, the more of an underdog the choice is seen as being.
An example of American odds:
If Barcelona were to play Burnley then the chances are that Barcelona would be seen as favourites to win. In this case, the American Odds offered by a bookmaker might be as follows:
Barcelona: – 825
Burnley: + 400
In this case, a bet of £100 on Burnley would, if Burnley wins, result in a return of £400, plus the original £100 stake. At the same time, a bettor would have to risk £825 betting on Barcelona in order to win £100, plus the original £825 stake. Of course, many bets involve amounts less than £100, and most online bookmakers offer a calculator which can take American odds and express them as decimal odds or fractional odds.