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What are Decimal Odds in Sports Betting?

Decimal Odds Looking to get up to some abroad gaming in Europe? Find out what decimal odds are, how they work, and what they entail.
Uno July
Author:
Uno July
Updated:
13 October 2021
Table of Contents

    What Are Decimal Odds In Sports Betting?

    Across betting markets around the world, you’re likely to encounter a wide range of different odds systems that’ll discern the likelihood of whatever outcome(s) you’re betting on. 

    These odds may be represented as fractional points systems, American odds spreads, betting exchange percentage systems, or in the form of decimal odds systems, which is the system we’ll explore here.

    If you plan on doing sports betting anywhere around Canada, Australia, or the better part of Europe, then you’re likely to encounter decimal odds of some form in some capacity. This odds system is fairly self-explanatory; rather than represent the vig, the fractions needed to multiply in your award, or anything else in isolation, decimal odds represent the stake and potential total return as a decimal figure. 

    How does this odds system work, how can it be converted, and how can it be put to use? Read on to find out. 

    How Do Decimal Odds Work?

    Decimal odds might seem confusing at first glance, especially if you’re an American bettor who’s looking to do some gambling abroad. That said, they’re incredibly easy to comprehend once you get the gist of them.

    Arguably, they’re even easier to comprehend than American odds, because rather than being based on betting increments of $100, decimal odd calculations are based on betting increments of $1, so they’re incredibly easy to scale up or down. 

    Unlike the American moneyline system, which is defaulted at -110, decimal odds systems are defaulted at a 1.91 decimal figure. This means that for every $1 you’re wagering, 91 cents will be returned, as well as the stake you initially put down.

    These odds systems make decimal odd calculations much more straightforward, and betting competition much more flexible. There’s also slightly less mathematic legwork involved in calculating the final payout of decimal odds, as you don’t have to add in the stake; it’s already included. 

    Although this decimal system is popular around Canada, Australia, and the majority of European countries, most of the United States’ best online sportsbooks offer decimal odds as an option as well. These odds are presented as American odds as default, but their sidebar or setting sections should offer the option to change this format. 

    Right now, gamblers can currently enjoy legal online sports betting around 14 states across the country, as well as the District of Columbia. Now that online sports betting is effectively made legal nationwide, it’s only an inevitability that this market will keep scaling, scaling, and scaling upward with time. 

    If you live in one of the states with legalized online sports betting markets (or more accurately, when you do), then you can look forward to enjoying some of the best names in the business, reputable, trusted sportsbook operators like:

    Caesars Sportsbook

    FanDuel Sportsbook

    PointsBet Sportsbook

    BetMGM Sportsbook

    BetRivers

    WynnBet

    Unibet Sportsbook

    Fubo Sportsbook

    Golden Nugget Online

    Borgata Sportsbook

    DraftKings Sportsbook

    888 Sport

    Sugarhouse Casino

    Fox Bet Sportsbook

    BetAmerica Sportsbook

    Tipico Sportsbook

    The Score Sportsbook

    SI Sportsbook

    Betway

    Betfred Sports

    Bet365


    How Are Decimal Odds Calculated?

    To calculate decimal odds, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist or career mathematician. You don’t even have to had passed high school calculus, just multiply the stake with the decimal odds of the wager you want to bet on.

    For example, say you wanted to put money down on a 3.5 wager in favor of the New York Knicks when they faced off against the Dallas Mavericks at Madison Square Garden. Although decimal odds wagers are often different from the common American -110 wager, let’s use a $110 stake in this example for the sake of simplicity.

    If you put $110 down on that 3.5 Knicks wager, you could potentially return upwards of a $385 payout, or three-and-a-half times the original stake you placed. This formula remains the same regardless of whether you’re betting on the favorite or the underdog.

    To ascertain the implied probability of your wager, you would just have to divide the decimal odds of your wager by 1; simple as that! So harkening back to the 3.5 example, the implied probability there (calculated as 1 / 3.5) would round out to 28.6% after the decimal was carried over. While that doesn’t translate into the best odds, it does translate into a decent return on investment.

    Decimal Odds Vs. American Odds

    Let’s imagine by some sheer stroke of bad luck that you failed to find an online sportsbook that offers an odds system conversion option, or you needed to convert odds on a physical, brick and mortar sportsbook. How would you go about doing that? How would you go about converting decimal odds to American odds, or vice versa? Here’s what you should do:

    Converting Decimal Odds To American Odds

    To convert decimal odds to American odds, you would take two different approaches toward doing so:

    To convert decimal odds equivalent to 2.00 or above: You would subtract decimal odds by 1, then multiply the result by 100. 

    To convert decimal odds lower than 2.00: You would divide -100 with the decimal odds subtracted by 1.

    Converting American Odds To Decimal Odds

    Say you need to convert American odds to decimal odds. What then?

    To convert positive odds: Simply add 1 to the American odds divided by 100.

    To convert negative odds: Subtract 1 from 100 divided by the American odds.

    Other common odds systems include fractional odds (which represent the multiple that amounts to your potential final payout), and betting exchange odds, which simply represent the likelihood of an outcome happening in a percentage.

    Betting exchanges are a popular gambling market abroad, due to having lower limitations, lower barriers to entry, and a very, very wide range of options to choose from. Unfortunately, this is a market that’s come to lag behind in the United States, as gambling laws and industry pressure have prevented it from expanding much.

    Little by little though, things are changing, and we’ll be here to tell you about those changes as they come.

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