- Open an account with one of the world's leading online gaming companies.
- Open an account and place a 3 consecutive bets of Ј10
- Ladbrokes will match your bets up to Ј30
Sportsbook Betting Offers
You do not have to be a math genius to wager and win at casinos or sports books. Simply bet on a hunch, trust your luck, and you might walk away with more money that you started with…or not. But for those who seek a more consistent way of winning and to become successful at any form of gambling, online or off, understanding betting odds is a crucial first step.
Odds are a numeric way of expressing probability—the likelihood that an event will occur or not occur. For example, if you flip a coin, it may come up heads or tails. If you wanted to throw tails, there is one way to succeed and one way to fail. Either outcome is equally likely so we say the odds are 1-to-1 or so-called “even odds.”
The odds can also be written as a ratio, a fraction, a percentage, or a decimal. There are two possible outcomes, of which tails is one of them. Tails should come up 1-out-of-2 times, or 1:2, or Ѕ, or 50%, or 0.5. These all mean the same thing. They are just different modes of expression.
Similarly, if you throw a die, it may come with any of its six sides showing face up. If you wanted to throw a three, for instance, there is only one way to succeed and there are five ways to fail. This is most commonly expressed as “odds of 5-to-1 against.” Other ways to express it are as a probability of 1-out-of-6, or 1:6, or 1/6, or 16.7% or 0.167.
In both of these examples, the numbers tell you exactly how likely it is that the events will occur…so-called “true odds.” In most betting situations, however, the odds that are offered to you are not true odds. At the Roulette table, if you bet on the colour Black, the casino will pay you even money (1-to-1) every time you win. But the true odds are less than 1-to-1. Only 18 of the 37 numbers on a European roulette wheel are black—18 ways to win and 19 ways to fail. That makes the true odds 19-to-18 against.
This built-in discrepancy between true odds and odds offered is known as the “house edge.” By putting the player at a slight disadvantage, it ensures that the casino earns a profit. In European Roulette, this edge is 2.70%. In American Roulette, it is 5.26%. In Blackjack, depending on the house rules, it ranges from 0.15% to 5.48%. Slot machines tend to average around 3%.
When it comes to it comes to race and sports betting, odds can be a bit more complicated, but the same principles apply. Bookmakers employ specialists called “oddsmakers” to calculate the likelihood of a team or a runner winning. The odds that they offer you have been adjusted slightly from what they believe are the true odds in order to include their margin or commission, the so-called “vigorish” or “juice.”
The most common form of sports betting odds are “fixed odds.” The prices are set before the event begins and become final as soon as you place your wager. Fixed odds are typically expressed in one of three forms: decimals, fractions, or (especially in America) money lines.
Decimal odds, most commonly used throughout Europe, tell you how much a win will pay in total for each unit wagered, no matter whether the unit is Ј1, Ј10, or Ј100. For example, if Liverpool are favoured to win at 1.40, then a Ј100 bet will return Ј140 in total. To calculate the potential of a Ј15 wager, multiply the bet by 1.40 and you can expect to get back Ј21 in total.
Fractional odds are often used mainly by U.K. bookmakers to indicate how much profit will be earned. Odds of 2/5 on Liverpool mean you stand to profit two units on every five units wagered. A bet of Ј100 is equivalent to five units of Ј20, so a win would be worth two units of Ј20 or Ј40 in profit, the same as Ј140 in total.
In the United States, money line odds can be either positive or negative numbers. A positive money line, typically used for underdogs, shows how much profit can be won on a stake of 100 units. A negative money line, most often used for favourites, shows how much must be wagered to win 100 units. In the Liverpool example, a negative money line of -250 would be offered, meaning a wager of Ј100, which is equal to 250 units of 40p, would win 100 x 40p = Ј40.
Back to the original example of flipping a coin, in the three different systems, even money bets at true odds would be expressed as follows: decimal = 2.00; fraction = 1/1 (“evens”); and money line = -100 or +100. After the bookmaker adds in a 5% commission, the odds offered would look like this: decimal = 1.90; fraction = 9/10; and money line = -110 or +90.
One other form of wagering on sports is called “spread betting.” It does not equate to odds in a traditional manner. Instead, it offers a number of points, plus or minus, that will be added to or subtracted from a team’s score at the conclusion of a match. An offer of “Liverpool -1.5” would mean that they must win by at least two goals in order to collect on the bet.
The betting odds are probably one of the most popular parts of gambling, so much so, that "odds" have become a household term. Have you ever wanted to truly understand how odds work, though? That's right, despite the fact that the term "odds" is being used vastly in our daily lives, the majority of people really don't know how the betting odds work. As part of our Betting Guide series, here we will explain in great detail how the odds work, how one can take advantage and what's the difference between "betting odds" and "betting lines".
In the simples form of speaking, betting odds are the probability of an event correlated to a wager (also called a "bet"). Right away one must realize the difference between simple probability of an event to happen (or not), which is usually expressed as "percentage", i.e. "50% chance of the event occurring" vs. the betting odds, which are always correlated to a wager, i.e. 2/1 or "will pay two for every 1 wagered if the event happens".
Why is this part so important? Because one must adjust their way of thinking if they plan on engaging into sports betting. If we take a simple example, a flip of a coin will yield tails 50% of the time, that's simple math, but there is no math when two football teams meet on the field and the odds are set. Every sportsbook will most often post different betting odds, based on many factors which influence the decision of the odds maker, i.e. a guy working for the sportsbook setting the odds for the event. So 2/1 odds for one team and 4/1 for the other doesn't mean that the first team has 50% chance to win the game, but that the sportbook believes that the team is more likely to win the game and will pay out $2 for every $1 wagered on that team. Bottom line in understanding how odds work here is that: odds are not simple probabilities, but a payout on a wager.
Now that we've understood the most basic part about sports betting odds, time to move on to the most important part - reading the odds, i.e. what the odds numbers mean. There are three types of betting odds: American odds (lines), fractional odds and decimal odds ( also called "European odds" or"coefficient"). The American and fractional odds are the two types of betting odds one is most likely to encounter in the USA, especially when betting online, although most online sportsbooks will give you the option to set the odds to be expressed in any way you want. Let's take a closer look at each type and how the odds work:
American Odds: Called this way because this form of betting odds is used exclusively in the United States. Another term for American odds is "line" or "betting line", which has been misused a lot, but we will get to this a bit later into our article. The form American odds (or lines) take is a plus "+" sign or a minus "-" sign in front of a number. For example, the line on the New York Giants to win the game against the Green Bay Packers is "-150", while the odds on the Packers to win are "+230". Here is the simplest way to read the betting odds from this example, which also covers the American odds in general: If there is a minus sign in front of the number, the number indicates how much you have to wager to win $100, while if there is a plus in front of the number, the number itself indicates how much you will win if you bet $100. As you can see there is a clear difference in reading odds with minus sign (favorite) and plus sign (underdog).
As an exercise, let's take the odds from the above example and read them. The -150 on the Giants means that the bettor will have to bet $150 to win $100, i.e. if you have $150 in your bookmaker's account and you bet them all on the Giants, after winning you will have the total of $250 in your account ($150 wager + $100 winnings). The +230 odds on the Packers on the other side show that if a bettor wagers $100 on Green Bay, the winnings will be $230. If your sportsbook account had only $100 and you bet them on the Packers and they won, your bankroll will be total of $330 ($100 wager + $230 winnings). What if you bet $150 on the Packers odds? Then you will win $345 for a total in your player's account of $445.
Fractional Odds: These are the most popular form of odds and unless you've lived under a rock you've heard someone mention fractional odds. Naturally they are expressed as a fraction of two numbers, for example 2/1, which should be read as "two to one" and means that the sportsbook will pay "two" to every "one" bet by the customer. Clearly these are the easiest odds to read and understand how odds work - the "first number" (in our case "2") shows how much the sportsbook will pay for every "second number" (in our case "1") wagered. So, if the sportsbook says that Boxer 1 has 3/1 odds to win against Boxer 2, it means that for every $1 bet by the customer the bookmaker will pay $3. Keep in mind, however, that the $3 will be the total payout, i.e. you would actually make only $2 profit. Let's have a real money example to better understand the correlation. Imagine you have $10 in your sportsbook account and you bet them all on Boxer 1 to win the match at 3/1 odds. If this happens, your account will be credited back with only $30 ($10 wager and $20 winnings) and NOT with $40 ($10 wager + $30 winnings). Luckily, this is the only iffy aspect of the fractional odds.
Decimal Odds: Also called European odds or referred to simply as a coefficient in some parts of the world, the decimal odds are the easiest to work with. These odds take the form of a simple decimal number, for example 1.25, which is simply multiplied by the wager to give you the total for the bet (winnings + wager). Often used in Europe and Asia, an example would be a 2.45 odds on a soccer team to win the game. If you bet $100 you simply multiply it by the odds, i.e. 2.45x100=$245 or in other words, $100 wager + $145 winnings.
And there we have it about how odds work. After reading this you should not only understand how odds work, but be able to perform simple winnings calculations with the betting odds at the sportsbooks. As always, we welcome feedback and if you have an idea how we could improve our guide to how the betting odds work, you are more than welcome to contact us below. And don't forget to bookmark this page for a quick reference when you need it.
US Presidential Elections: Can Joe Biden Make the Difference?
The last time we’ve talked about US Presidential Elections and the bets upon this political “game,” we referred to the turmoil on the odds that has caused the candidacy of Donald Trump. A great number of bettors had rushed to make their wagers in favor of the new challenger, pushing the odds on Trump lower at 6.00, proclaiming the ultimate of outsiders as the third favorite on the odds! It was “huuuuge…,” as Trump might say.
Unfortunately, I was carried away myself into overestimating Trump’s momentum, which may prove now a big flop, failure or fail… You name it. Following his pompous but well received entrance into the race, soon thereafter gamblers kept a safe distance. In fact, bettors penalized Trump by demonstrating their lack of confidence, favoring other contenders.
First of all, Joe Biden reaped the fruits of bettors’ discomfort.
The rising momentum on the odds in favor of Joe Biden being the next president of the United States is obvious. Despite his third position on the list of favorites right now, betting market dynamics may work in favor of the vice president, ejecting in leaps and bounds Biden to the second place in front of Jeb Bush, who is currently in over his head chasing the democratic candidate and top favorite for the elections, Hillary Clinton.
This would come as no surprise if we look closely at the chart of the odds on Jeb Bush at Betfair.
Even if I choose to not take into account the downwards trend on the odds in favor of Biden, how could I ignore the strong rise on the odds against Bush? Since the resistance stronghold of 6.00 is plundered and while the odds are climbing towards 8.00, I would be reluctant laying cash in favor of Bush given the circumstances. Even if the odds record a brief decline, I would consider this move as “correction” and expect a further push uphill sooner or later. Besides, a duel between Clinton and Biden appears to me more credible option at this moment, considering the ins and outs.
But, hold on a sec. Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton are both fighting from the same camp. That being said, the democratic candidates would have first to win the party’s nomination before they can actually run on the presidential race. Thus, let us take a look at the bets about who is going to be the nominee of the Democratic Party for the US presidential race.The betting odds on the nominees of the Democratic Party at sportsbooks
Clearly, Hillary Clinton remains the top favorite on her party. This is quite understandable, since Clinton is also for months the top favorite to succeed Barack Obama at the White House. However, several high rollers recently appeared ready to… “confront” the former first lady. This is portrayed on the following chart on the odds in favor of Clinton.
Nevertheless, it is evident that strong resistance does not allow any rise over the 1.50 level. On the other hand, layers try hard to keep the odds moderately high, settling the bets within a short range of 2 to 3 ticks (base points), forbidding in that sense any price to be recorded below the virtual barrier of 1.47. In the event backers are exhausted, we may see a crack appearing on the resistance level, pushing higher the odds on Clinton, which should immediately drive the odds on Biden lower.
Do not let the above chart on Biden confuse you. This graph may indeed be misleading, because on the vertical axe we measure probability values instead of odds. The odds on Biden were extremely high at the beginning, which is demonstrated by the very low probability of him winning the race. The more probability is increased the more we see the odds on Biden driven lower.
Therefore, on this graph a rise of probability means a drop on the odds in favor of Biden. Since probability is already skyrocketing, a further push upwards on the odds for Clinton as explained above should fuel further expectations in favor of Biden. His probability outlook would propel to new highs, resulting in further drop on the odds in favor of the vice president.
Furthermore, if we see the odds on Clinton recording values over 1.50, then we should expect a sharp drop on the odds for Biden. This could even result in Biden capping Clinton as the top favorite running in the US presidential elections against the former Florida governor, Jeb Bush. Another variable in the equation is, of course, how the situation would evolve in the betting markets as regards the question of which party is going to win the elections.
However, the picture is not complicated here. The betting odds on either party winning the presidential elections fluctuate within clear boundaries. The odds in favor of Democrats move between the region of 1.60 and 1.80, while the odds on the bets favoring the Republicans balance between 2.25 and 2.75. Meanwhile, it is worth noting that the odds in favor of the Republican Party hardly react to the changes in the list of frontrunners for the nomination of the party.
Given that Biden is benefited by a drop on the odds for the Democrats as we explained earlier, I will not be surprised if he is backed as the second top favorite behind Clinton, if we see again a further decline towards the level of 1.60 on the odds for the Democratic Party. Meantime, it will be interesting to watch what will be the impact on the odds of both parties in respect to the hugger-mugger developments taking place in each party separately. We may even see a sudden rupture on the above support and resistance lines any time soon. Wanna bet?Get my Posts in Your Email For Free!
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Betting tips: What’s the difference between tote and fixed odds?
With the Sydney Carnival happening, now is the best time to put your betting skills to the test.
Pick a Thoroughbred horse and let fate decide the rest.
Try and find a winner but make sure it isn’t a random pick. Instead, make your bet after reading betting tips, assessing form, and watching race replays.
By doing this, you will lessen the chances of your money going to waste. Another thing you can do to increase your chances of winning is choosing a suitable betting system.
The two betting systems available to you are fixed odds and tote. What do these betting systems refer to? Let’s take a look.
Before placing a bet at the Sydney Carnival, you need to make a choice: tote or fixed odds . To help you make a decision, here is what each means.
We’ll start with fixed odds.
A traditional form of betting, fixed odds betting involves a bookmaker offering odds on particular result in a match or event. In this form of betting, you take a betting price.
For instance, you would have performed fixed odds betting if you bet on a selection at, say, 12/1 odds.
Now, if your horse wins at 12/1 odds, the bookmaker will pay you 12× stake. Remember, this is in addition to the original stake.
So, if you made a fixed odds bet at $20 on a horse to win at 12/1 odds, you will get a winning amount of $240 plus the $20 you stake.
On the other hand, if your horse doesn’t win, the bookmaker will pay you nothing and you will lose the $20 you bet.
A high margin product, fixed odds is a way for bookmakers to protect themselves against price fluctuations.
When you perform fixed odds betting, you lock in the fixed odds price for your pick.
After you make the bet, the fixed odds price won’t decrease or rise.
This is something that doesn’t happen in a tote bet. Unlike a fixed odds bet, a tote bet isn’t fixed and shortens or rises based on the money coming into the system.
Also referred to as pool betting, tote betting is betting in which you bet on your favourite without knowing how much you’ll win on the bet if the horse you picked triumphs.
The reason for this is that in tote betting, the dividend is decided only after the event begins.
In tote betting, all bets are arrayed together in a pool.
Additionally, in this form of betting, bookmakers display odds that they believe you’ll get. The amount of bets received when you make the bet is what the bookmaker’s approximation is based on.
Though, keep in mind that the approximation will change if more money enters the system.
Until betting stops and the event has commenced, no one knows for sure the amount they’ll receive in tote betting for a winning bet.
Now that you know all about both fixed odds and tote betting, you can decide for yourself which one is better for you.
2015-09-15 06:00:00 -0400
It’s fairly commonplace these days for news outlets to reference prediction markets as part of the election cycle. We often hear about betting odds on who will win the primary or be the next president, but I haven’t seen many commentators use prediction markets to infer the electability of each candidate.
With that in mind, I took the betting odds for the 2016 US presidential election from Betfair and used them to calculate the perceived electability of each candidate. Electability is defined as a candidate’s conditional probability of winning the presidency, given that the candidate earns his or her party’s nomination.Presidential betting market odds and electabilities
“Electability” refers to a candidate’s conditional probability of winning the presidency, given that the candidate wins his or her party’s nomination
Note: the following section was written September 15, 2015. Things have changed since then, invalidating some of what’s written below
I’m no political analyst, and the data above will continue to update throughout the election season, making anything I write here about it potentially immediately outdated, but according to the data at the time I wrote this on September 15, 2015, betting markets perceive Hillary Clinton as the most electable of the declared candidates, with a 57%–58% chance of winning the presidency if she receives the Democratic nomination. Betting markets also imply that the Democrats are the favorites overall, with about a 57% chance of winning the presidency, which is roughly the same as Clinton’s electability, so it appears that Clinton is considered averagely electable compared to the Democratic party as a whole.
On the Republican side, Jeb Bush has the best odds of winning the nomination, but his electability range of 47%–49% means he’s considered a slight underdog in the general election should he win the nomination. Still, that’s better than Marco Rubio (36%–40%) and Scott Walker (33%–42%), who each have lower electabilities, implying that they would be bigger underdogs if they were nominated. The big surprise to me is that Donald Trump has a fairly high electability range relative to the other Republicans, at 47%–56%. Maybe the implication is something like, “if there’s an unanticipated factor that enables the surprising result of Trump winning the nomination, then that same factor will work in his favor in the general election,” but then that logic should apply to other longshot candidates, which it seems not to, so perhaps other caveats apply.Why are the probabilities given as ranges?
Usually when you read something in the news like “according to [bookmaker], candidate A has a 25% chance of winning the primary”, that’s not quite the complete story. The bookmaker might well have posted odds on A to win the primary at 3:1, which means you could bet $1 on A to win the primary, and if you’re correct then you’ll collect $4 from the bookmaker for a profit of $3. Such a bet has positive expected value if and only if you believe the candidate’s probability of winning the primary is greater than 25%. But traditional bookmakers typically don’t let you take the other side of their posted odds. In other words, you probably couldn’t bet $3 on A to lose the nomination, and receive a $1 profit if you’re correct.
Betting markets like Betfair, though, do allow you to bet in either direction, but not at the same odds. Maybe you can bet on candidate A to win the nomination at a 25% risk-neutral probability, but if you want to bet on A to lose the nomination, you might only be able to do so at a 20% risk-neutral probability, which means you could risk $4 for a potential $1 profit if A loses the nomination, or 1:4 odds. The difference between where you can buy and sell is known as the bid-offer spread, and it reflects, among other things, compensation for market-makers.
The probabilities in the earlier table are given as ranges because they reflect this bid-offer spread. If candidate A’s bid-offer is 20%–25%, and you think that A’s true probability is 30%, then betting on A at 25% seems like an attractive option, or if you think that A’s true probability is 15% then betting against A at 20% is also attractive. But if you think A’s true probability falls between 20% and 25%, then you probably don’t have any bets to make, though you might consider becoming a market-maker yourself by placing a bid or offer at an intermediate level and waiting for someone else to come along and take the opposite position.A hypothetical example calculation of electability
Betfair offers betting markets on the outcome of the general election, and the outcomes of the Democratic and Republican primary elections. Although Betfair does not offer betting markets of the form “candidate A to win the presidency, if and only if A wins the primary”, bettors can place simultaneous bets on A’s primary and general election outcomes in a ratio such that the bettor will break even if A loses the primary, and make or lose money only in the scenario where A wins the primary.
Let’s continue the example with our hypothetical candidate A, who has a bid-offer 20%–25% in the primary, and let’s say a bid-offer 11%–12.5% in the general election. If we bet $25 on A to win the general election at a 12.5% probability, then our profit across scenarios looks like this:
Bet $25 on candidate A to win the general election at 12.5% probability (7:1 odds)
We want our profit to be $0 in the “loses primary” scenario, so we can add a hedging bet that will pay us a profit of $25 if A loses the primary. That bet is placed at a 20% probability, which means our odds ratio is 1:4, so we have to risk $100 in order to profit $25 in case A loses the primary. Now we have a total of $125 at risk: $25 on A to win the presidency, and $100 on A to lose the nomination. The scenarios look like this:
Bet $25 on candidate A to win the general election at 12.5% probability (7:1 odds) and $100 on A to lose the primary at 20% probability (1:4 odds)
We’ve constructed our bets so that if A loses the primary, then we neither make nor lose money, but if A wins the primary, then we need A’s probability of winning the election to be greater than 62.5% in order to make our bet positive expected value, since 0.625 * 75 + 0.375 * -125 = 0. As an exercise for the reader, you can go through similar logic to show that if you want to bet on A to lose the presidential election but have 0 profit in case A loses the primary, then you need A’s conditional probability of winning the general election to be lower than 44% in order to make the bet positive expected value. In this example then, A’s electability range is 44%–62.5%.
This analysis does not take into account the total amount of money available to bet on each candidate. As of September 2015, Betfair has handled over $1 million of bets on the 2016 election, but the markets on some candidates are not as deep as others. If you actually tried to place bets in the fashion described above, you might find that there isn’t enough volume to fully hedge your exposure to primary results, or you might have to accept significantly worse odds in order to fill your bets.
It’s possible that someone might try to manipulate the odds by bidding up or selling down some combination of candidates. Given the amount of attention paid to prediction markets in the media, and the amount of money involved, it’s probably not a bad idea. In 2012 someone tried to do this to make it look like Mitt Romney was gaining momentum, but enough bettors stepped in to take the other sides of those bets and Romney’s odds fell back to where they started. Even though that attempt failed, people might try it again, and if/when they do, they might even succeed, in which case betting market data might only reflect what the manipulators want it to, as opposed to the wisdom of the crowds.
The electability calculation ignores the scenario where a candidate loses the primary but wins the general election. I don’t think this has ever happened on the national level, but it happened in Connecticut in 2006, and it probably has a non-zero probability of happening nationally. If it were to happen, and you had placed bets on the candidate to win the primary and lose the election, you might find that your supposedly safe “hedge” wasn’t so safe after all (on the other hand, you might get lucky and hit on both of your bets…). Some have speculated that Donald Trump in particular might run as an independent candidate if he doesn’t receive the Republican nomination, so whatever (probably small) probability the market assigns to the scenario of “Trump loses the Republican nomination but wins the presidency” would inflate his electability.
There are probably more caveats to list, for example I’ve failed to consider any trading fees or commissions incurred when placing bets. Additionally, though I have no proof, as mentioned earlier I’d guess that candidates who are longshots to win the primaries probably have higher electabilities due to the implicit assumption that if something so dramatic were to happen that caused them to win the primary, probably the same factor would help their odds in the general election.
Despite all of these caveats, I believe that the implied electability numbers do represent to some degree how bettors expect the candidates to perform in the general election, and I wonder if there should be betting markets set up that allow people to wager directly on these conditional probabilities, rather than having to place a series of bets to mimic the payout structure.
Posted by Todd Schneider Sep 15 th , 2015
© Sports Predictions 2018