Sports Betting Odds Types: Decimal, American, Fractional

There are three types of odds you’ll come across while doing your research and making bets across online sportsbooks:

  • Decimals
  • Fractions
  • American odds

The majority of odds you’ll see in legal and regulated online sportsbooks in Canada will be decimal odds, but in some instances you may encounter one of the others.

What are the different betting odds formats?

In Canada, the majority of odds you’ll see are decimal odds since they’re currently used in situations like the provincial sports lotteries. Most private online sportsbooks and apps that open up shop in Canada, like the DraftKings Canada app or the MGM Canada app, will use decimals as well, despite most being based in the United States.

Decimal odds are becoming very popular, however, and are considered the easiest to use. Fractional odds are a little more confusing, but they are pretty common in such things as horse racing and similar events.

American odds are kind of their own thing, and can sometimes be difficult to calculate. Many experts have argued that the American system should focus more on the decimal system, which is considered superior in many ways. There has been little sign of any movement in that regard, however.

How to read decimal odds

Decimal odds can be considered the metric system of the gambling world. They’re easier to understand, easier to calculate and have fewer quirks than their American and fractional counterparts. And, like the metric system, Americans just don’t seem to care to give it a try.

Thankfully most sportsbooks here in Canada will stick to the sports gambling odds that have been typically used in the past throughout the country. And using decimals is really simple, actually.

If you’re looking to find out what the payout for a bet is going to be, you simply take the decimal odds and multiply them by the amount you want to wager.

For example, let’s say the odds of the Edmonton Oilers beating the Detroit Red Wings is set at 2.53. If you were to make a $10 bet, the payout would be $25.30. You’d get your initial $10 stake back, plus $15.30 in profit.

Pretty simple, right

Keep in mind that when you do this math, you’re calculating the payout amount and not just your profit. If you’re trying to track your profits through your action in the hobby, then you have to make sure to remove your stake from the amount of your payout before you can come up with the correct number.

How to calculate potential payouts and profits

A payout isn’t all profit. In fact, a payout on a winning bet will include you initial stake, which is just a return on what you wagered.

How sports betting works is pretty simple. You find the odds you like and decide on how much money you want to allocate to it, which is your “stake.” If you win your bet, the sportsbook pays you back that stake plus the profit on top of that according to the odds you locked in at the time of your bet.

Since the stake you placed on the bet was yours in the first place, you can’t count it towards your profit, or use it as a reason to increase your bankroll.

Bankroll management is key in sports betting. Make a budget, manage it correctly and stick to it. Sometimes you’re going to win and other times you’re going to lose. Don’t vary from your bankroll management system if you want to keep enjoying the hobby.

How to read American odds

In Canadian sportsbooks, it isn’t likely you’ll come across these odds as frequently as decimals. But when you do, you’ll find these listed in either a negative or a positive number with “-“ and “+” representing each, respectively.

Those negative numbers are slightly counterintuitive. They indicate the team, player, choice, etc. that is considered the favourite to win. The number can also represent any wager that is for less than even money. The negative number associated with the bet shows you how much you will have to place on the bet in order to profit by $100. We’ll give an example in just a moment.

Positive odds are an indication of the underdog in a betting line, or for a bet that is greater than even money. That number indicates how much you’ll win for every $100 you wager.

Let’s look at an example in the form of NFL moneyline odds. Let’s say the New England Patriots are -110 favourites against the New York Jets at +250. You go with the favourites and put down $110 on the game. Patriots win and you take home $210.

That total is your $110 stake plus the $100 in profit you’ve won.

How to read fractional odds

Do you remember sitting in school and staring at your math quiz wishing you paid a little more attention when the teacher was discussing fractions? Yeah, us too.

You’re going to come across these betting odds types now and again, especially when reading up on things like horse racing, but they are pretty easy to understand despite the feeling like you’re taking a math test.

You’ll come across listings that have a number, a “/” or a “-“ and another number. Just like a fraction. A quick example would be 5/1 or 5-1. The best way to think about fractions is the first number (which if you remember from math class is the numerator) is your profit and the second number (the denominator) is your stake.

Another way to look at it is the second number is the wager you have to place in order to profit the amount of the first number.

If it’s 2/1 odds, then you’d win $2 for every $1 you wager. Or if it’s 4/9 odds, you have to wager $9 to win $4.

Using that second example, let’s say you wager $9 and you win. You’d get back $13, which is your original stake plus the $4 profit.

Where can I make my online bets?

The first thing many newcomers start looking for is the best place to make their bets. Here in Canada, that will always be legal and regulated online sportsbooks. Not only are these safe and secure, but they are convenient, user-friendly and offer up a wide variety of betting options for every sport.

Additionally, sportsbook apps are really the only way you can participate in live betting, also known as in-game betting. We always keep our list of sportsbooks updated and current, and the list below is updated automatically so you’ll always have the most recent selection.

To choose a sportsbook simply click on the name and you will be taken to the site’s homepage where you can register or sign up for a new account. By using our exclusive links, you’ll get the best promo and bonuses available. In some cases, you’ll need a sportsbook bonus code, which we also have on this side for each of the sportsbooks that request them.

From deposit bonuses and matches to free bets, there are a lot of offers to take advantage of. We have agreements with these sportsbooks to give you the best possible bonuses and promos available.

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