How Sports Betting Odds Work 2021

Best betting odds comparison – what do you need to know?

We’ll not just help you find the best betting odds, but also how to calculate, use, and strategize when using odds. In addition to these basics, we’ll also guide you towards a sports betting destination site that offers good value odds too.

With such an abundance of sports betting sites out there in the gambling world, there’s an endless list of potential destinations – which is why our bookmaker odds comparison has never been more important to use.

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Why you need to compare sports betting odds

The need to shop around and compare bookmaker odds has excited us since the formation of the world’s second-ever bookie was established. In all industries, competition creates a buyer’s market, which is excellent for us as consumers. Since the majority of the gambling industry moved online, the amount of competition out there globally has quite literally exploded.

As a result, in 2021 the best betting sites for sports are constantly competing with each other to offer the best and most beneficial odds possible. Accordingly, the technology and the way in which odds are calculated has morphed and transformed into a business of its very own.

Know the odds before you bet!

Too much choice is undoubtedly a good thing, however, it does make finding the best betting odds a lot more difficult. That’s why you need expert odds comparison sites like ours to help you find the best odds where you are. We also go deeper than simply naming the best odds overall, as you’ll see below, we’ve detailed the best odds on individual sports and bet types as well.

At the end of the day, this isn’t one of those sites where a bunch of know-it-all experts try to tell you what’s best. Instead, think of it more as a tool that you can use to help you find the top betting odds today, wherever you are and on whatever sport you want. In addition to that, we’ll also explain if the bookmakers themselves calculate their odds. Ultimately, this will lead you to the best sports betting strategies.

Online vs offline – Which will give you the best betting odds?

From the High Street bookies in the UK, to the Melbourne Racetracks and the in-casino betting shops of New Jersey in the USA, there are still a whole host of old school, offline ways to bet. With that in mind, do we really need to silly ourselves with the process of filtering through the sheer mass of sportsbooks and odds available online?

The answer is yes – it’s most definitely worth the struggle, as the advanced technology that online odds calculation offers beats the old school hands down every time. In almost all cases, the best sports betting app is going to have better odds than the best land-based betting shop – and that’s a rule that can be applied all over the gambling world, no matter where you are.

Always research the odds, wherever you’re betting from

As long as you take your time to do your research, browse the market and compare your odds, then your online betting is always going to have the potential to be more fruitful than any offline betting endeavour ever could. Just remember that it’s best to never place a bet before you’ve compared the odds elsewhere. If you really want to get the most out of this odds comparison, it’s not simply a case of finding one site with the best odds and sticking with it. If you really want to commit, you’re going to want to compare the best odds every time!

A trip through time – The history of sports betting odds

The first traces of odds-related phrases were recorded in 16th century England, with Shakespeare using the phrase ten-to-one in his play Henry IV. 

With the fun facts over, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty, odds as we know and love them today, came with the arrival of probability theory, which came some years after Shakespear’s time. Basically, odds provide you with a numbered display that lets you determine the probability of an outcome and, crucially, how much you stand to win for your stake.

What are the three main odds types?

There are numerous different types of odds depending on where you’re travelling to, however the most common that you’re likely to come across online are fractional, decimal and American odds. We’ve provided you with a short explanation of these three odds types and how they work.

  1. Fractional odds – What are fractional odds?
    If you’re completely new to betting, these might very well be the odds that you have pictured in your mind. Sometimes referred to as “British odds”, fractionals is the real OG format of the odds world, and still remains the most widely used sports betting odds form in the UK and Ireland. Fractional odds are displayed with two numbers either side of a dash – e.g 2/1.One site of the fraction represents one outcome, with the other number representing the opposite. Simple fractional odds are easy to understand, but they can get more complicated. If you keep reading on, we’ve provided a detailed description of how all odds types are calculated below.
  2. Decimal odds – How do decimal odds work?
    Decimal odds are the most commonly used odds globally, with their popularity being owed to the fact they are the most logical and easy to understand. Unless you’re in the UK, the US or certain parts of Asia, then there’s a 99% chance that the sports betting site you’re logging on to will be displayed in decimal form as default. Therefore, if you’re only going to learn how one type of odds work – this is the one.Decimal odds, as you might expect, as displayed as a ratio – for example, 2:1. It is worth noting that if you want to convert odds types 2/1 fractional odds doesn’t equal 2:1 decimal – but we’ll explain more about that in our odds calculation section below.
  3. American odds – How are American odds different?
    American odds are, as the name suggests, only really used in the US. They consist of positive and negative numbers and, upon first introduction, can look really confusing, especially to people used to dealing with decimal or fractional odds. However, once you get to know them it’s actually pretty easy, which we’ll explain in the calculation section below. Basically, it’s down to logic though – the best betting odds are positive, and the small odds are negative.

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How sports betting odds are calculated in 2021

The big gambling companies now have full departments dedicated to delivering better betting odds than their competitors on a consistent basis. The basics of odds are calculated is done using an easy-to-understand formula, which we’ve broken down for each odds type below:

How do you calculate fractional odds?

With fractional odds, each number represents a different outcome. If we take 2/1 as an example. To work out the implied probability, you divide the total of the two numbers by 100 and then multiply it by the second number. With odds of 2/1, this works out as follows:

100 ÷ 3 = 33.3% x 1 = 33.3%

If you want to know how much you stand to win with fractional odds, you multiply your stake by the top number, and divide it by the bottom number. So if you bet $10 on odds of 2/1, it would work out as follows:

($10 x 2 = 20), (20 ÷ 1 = $20)

How do you calculate decimal odds? 

To calculate your probability of winning with decimal odds, all you have to do is device 1 by the odds and multiply it by 100. If we take odds of 3.1 as an example:

(1 ÷ 3.1) x 100 = 32.25%

To calculate your winnings, simply multiply your stake by the odds. So for example, with a $10 stake at odds of 3.1, your potential winnings are 3.1 x 10 = $31. Please note, that while the winnings calculation for fractional odds gives you only your potential profits, with the decimal equation, it gives you your total returns, including your $10 stake.

How do you calculate American odds?

How you calculate your probability and winnings with American odds differs between positive and negative numbers.

What is meant by positive number odds?

With positive number odds, the number is the amount you stand to win should you bet $100 as your stake. For example, with odds of +200, you stand to win $200 if you bet $100.

What are negative number odds?

With negative number odds, the number dictates the amount you would have to stake in order to win $100 dollars. For example, with odds of -200, you’d need to bet $200 in order to win $100.

Using odds calculators

We’ve given you the basics of how to calculate your potential winnings and then some. However, while it’s good to have a basic understanding, you don’t need to worry about whipping out the calculator every time you place a bet. It’s 2021, and our team here at Betting.net have compiled plenty of guides on how to use our very own odds calculators. All that is left for you to do is to think about what kind of bets you are putting together and what you would ideally like to get out of your odds calculator. For example:

  • Betting odds calculator: if you are looking to simply work out your potential payout or convert different odds types then this would be your go-to calculator.
  • Odds value calculator: if you need some help trying to figure out what odds are giving you the chance for a value bet then we’d suggest going with this calculator.
  • Parlay odds calculator: putting together a parlay bet with multiple selections can make following your potential payout quite tricky which is why we’d recommend using the parlay odds calculator to help you navigate any confusion you might have about the value of your overall bet.
  • Hedge bet calculator: as the name suggests, this calculator will help you determine the best odds for hedging your bets. Giving you an edge with your hedge bets (see what we did there?)
  • Spread to moneyline odds calculator: if you are specifically looking to work in US moneyline odds then the spread to moneyline odds calculator is going o be the option you need.

We have various odds calculators over at Betting.net, so be sure to check out the res of our site to see how we can help you get the most out of your betting endeavours.

The best betting odds strategies

As well as using your comparison to shop around for the best odds, you can also deploy a number of betting strategies to help boost your odds and winning probability overall. Below, we’ve provided a quick run through of a couple of the most popular betting strategies used to boost your odds online in 2021.

What is arbitrage betting?

The betting strategy, also known as arbing that can involve making use of our odds comparison in order to find suitable back bets. How arbing works in betting is that you place both back and lay bets on a particular sporting event, so that you end up with a positive win balance no matter what the outcome. To do this successfully, you need to shop around for the best odds on opposite outcomes to cover your back bets before laying a bet at the exchange.

What does matched betting mean?

Matched betting basically involves taking multiple betting offers, sign up bonuses and/or free bets being offered by bookies and turning them into real cash winnings. You do this by using a combination of free bets and back and lay betting (similar to arbing above) in order to turn a game of chance onto a mathematical equation that guarantees profit. You may, in some cases, end up with less than the free bet amount in real cash – but as the stake was a free bet, you’ll still be in the plus. For example, if you use a match betting strategy with a $30 bet and end up with $25, you’re still technically $25 up.

Different sports have slightly differing betting markets, and therefore different odds to think about. Below, we’ve taken a look at some of the most popular betting sports from throughout the gambling world and detailed some of the most popular betting markets and odds types for each.

Football (Soccer) Betting Markets and Odds

Football, or soccer, depending on where you are, is the single most-watched sport globally. Therefore unsurprisingly, it’s also one of the most popular betting sports around in 2021. Popular pre-match betting markets for football include match winners, clean sheets, both teams to score and half time/full time bets.

Live betting is also extremely popular in football, with the next team/player to score being one of the most used options. Betting markets on all of the major European leagues can be found on almost any sportsbook in the gambling world, so there’s a lot of shopping around to be done for the best football odds.

UFC Betting Markets

The most obvious UFC betting market is of course betting on a straightforward winner-loser outcome. More specific and valuable bets come in the form of picking the round and method of winning – TKO, submission, decision etc. Live betting isn’t as popular with UFC as it is with field sports, however, the longer a fight goes on the more popular in-play bets can become, as punters can then jump in to call a finish in the next round. You can find the best betting odds on UFC here.

Tennis betting

Tennis betting on the face of it is the same as most other sports betting types, with tennis betting odds getting more and more competitive. From picking tournament winners on outright betting, to matched bets, set bets handicaps and over-unders – you’ll find all of the same bet types in tennis as you would on football, rugby and most other sports. With tennis matches also being potentially long, in-play betting markets are also popular.

American pro sports

Here we bring all of the most popular sports in the USA under one roof, so as not to take up too much of your time. It’s worth noting though, that in 2021 you don’t need to find a specialist American sportsbook in order to find the best NFL, baseball or basketball betting odds. Just as soccer has taken off in the US over the past decade, so has the NFL increased in popularity throughout the gambling world.

Horse betting markets

Of course – the oldest and most popular betting sport across the gambling world. Without gambling, the horse racing industry wouldn’t be what it is today. Although it can be one of the most fun and lucrative betting sports, understanding it does take quite a lot of study, care and attention.

The basic bet types you need to know about are winners and each way, with combo and multi bets also being popular, including pick 6. In-play betting isn’t a big thing with horse betting has the races don’t last long enough for it to be feasible. As well as using an odds comparison for horse betting, you also want to find tips and get in early, as horse betting odds drift much more than in any other sport.

Novelty betting markets

With it being 2021, the online gambling world has blown the number of things we can bet on wide open, going way beyond the realms of sports. The most popular betting markets outside of sports include politics, TV and awards shows such as the Oscars. In fact, major global political events, such as the US presidential election, can drive as much traffic to sportsbooks and betting sites as major sporting events.

Odds comparison – Tips on how to make the most of your bets

Is Our Odds Comparison Free Of Charge?

Yes, our odds comparison here at Betting.net is completely free of charge, and can be used by you freely and as frequently as you like. Just like most other price and service comparison sites, we don’t feel it’s right to charge you for our services here – essentially you can think of us as the Skyscanner of the odds world. It therefore doesn’t matter if you’re comparing odds for the first time, or you’re looking to seriously shop around to use our comparison for a complex betting strategy, we’re confident that our comparison provides a tool that suits the needs of gamblers of all experience levels. We’re also a global site, that aims to cover the whole gambling world – so it doesn’t matter where you are.

Should I Bet with More than One Bookie?

If you want to find the best betting odds for each and every wager you place, then yes, it’s always advisable to sign up to more than one bookmaker. This gives you the possibility to shop around more, use our comparison to the fullest and successfully deploy some betting strategies. Of course, if you’re completely new to the gambling world, then we do recommend taking it slowly – we’re not saying you should make ten accounts straight off the bat. However, if you want to progress and build up a bit of bank with your bets, then multiple accounts opened gradually is the best way forward.

What Are the Differences Between Online and Offline Odds?

The short answer is that online odds are better and offer you more flexibility in every aspect. For starters, there’s our comparison of sports betting odds. With online odds, it’s extremely easy to shop around for the best odds using comparison sites like ours. Using a land-based betting shop or site, anywhere in the betting world, makes it extremely difficult to compare odds, as you’d have to physically visit multiple sites.

Then there’s the flexibility to take into account, thanks to the technology that online odds calculation uses. Online odds are updated almost instantly for both pre-match and in-play bets, meaning you can easily find the best odds of the moment. Of course, this can be occasionally detrimental to your betting, such as when the odds are shortening on a horse. However, more often than not the advantages of online outweigh those of offline.

How Does Comparing Odds Help Me Find the Best Bonuses?

You might not think that there’s a big correlation between odds and betting bonuses, but they are actually intertwined more than you’d think. The most obvious example is, of course, with odds boosters, Best Odds Guaranteed and other bonus types that directly influence your odds. However, matched deposit bonuses and free bets in sportsbooks all have minimum odds for the qualifying bets and the bonuses themselves. Additionally, if you’re planning on using your bonuses as part of a betting strategy, such as matched betting, then finding the best betting odds for your wager is vitally important.

What’s the Difference Between Pre-Match and Live Odds?

To properly answer this, we need to look at the difference between pre-match and live betting as concepts. Pre matched bets are put up hours, days, weeks and even months before the event actually takes place. Essentially with pre-match odds or outrights, the odds are going to change a lot less frequently and, as a general rule, the further you are away from the event, the better odds you’ll get – but the harder the outcome is to predict.

Live betting odds can literally change by the second, which requires both you and the bookies to be quick. That’s why in 2021 all of the major betting sites in the gambling world put a lot of money into technology and staff required for odds calculation. When live betting on football, for example, a single goal either way can have a massive influence on how much the odds drift or shorten for the potential outcomes.

Beginning your sportsbook odds journey

So there you have it, everything you need to know about our odds and betting comparison, as well as some tips on how best to use it on your sports betting voyage. Just remember to focus on the sports you’ll be betting on, the markets you’re looking for and the strategies you want to engage in. You need to pack your bags before taking off on any journey – and good odds are an essential part of your check list!

Additionally, while we always recommend shopping around for the best odds, and singing up to multiple sites, we also should want you to approach things at a steady pace. This is particularly true for beginners, and those less traveled in the world of gambling

We’ve almost reached the end of this page, but for you, the fun and exciting journey is only just beginning, as you can now go forth and use our comparison to help you find the best odds from across the gambling world.

Before you go, do you know how much the payment method you use to buy your betting ticket affects your online privacy and security? You can use our deposit comparison to help you find the best online betting payment methods.

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Sports Betting Odds FAQ

🏆 What are the odds of winning a sports bet?

The answer to this question differs dramatically depending on a number of factors. What sport are you betting on? What market are you betting on? Is it a live or in-play bet? These are the questions that need to be answered before you can find the odds of your bet winning. You can find out everything you need to know about sports wagering odds and how they work here at Betting.net.

📖 How do I read sports betting odds?

There are a few different betting odds formats, all of which are read slightly different. The three most common that you’re likely to come across are fractional, decimal and American. You can find a guide on how to read each and every one of these right here. We keep our guides constantly up to date for all odds betting sports, markets and strategies at Betting.net.

🏇 What site has the best odds for sports betting?

There are loads and loads of online sportsbooks around today, therefore the best approach isn’t to find one with the best overall betting odds. Instead, you should use an odds betting comparison site like Betting.net to find the best odds for each bet you place. The site with best odds for football might not have the best odds for horse racing.

🔣 What percentage of sports bettors win?

There probably is data on this, but to be honest that’s not what’s going to help you with your bets. Instead do your research on the odds, strategies and the sports your betting in order to make your chances better than the average. While there is luck involved, sports betting is far from being like the lottery. Check out our betting odds and strategies here.

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