Betting odds are used by bookmakers and exchanges to display how much a specific outcome will return if a bet wins.
Bookmakers will usually display their odds in 3 categories. These are fractional, decimal and European. Understanding fractional odds can be a bit of a struggle if you’ve never placed a bet before but are the main default set by bookmakers.
If you walked into any high street bookmaker to place a bet the odds would be displayed in fractions and they look a little something like this: 9/1 (9 to 1), 9/4 (9 to 4) or 7/4 (7 to 4). For somebody that had been betting in bookmakers for years they would know how much each would return from a £10 stake, but do you?
Decimal odds are much easier to understand which is why, as a matched bettor it is important to use decimal odds as our prefix. Not only is it a lot clearer to understand our returns from a stake, exchanges also use decimal odds as their prefix.
Lets have a look as some examples:
We need to place a qualifying bet at the exchange. The offer is simple, bet £10 to receive a £10 free bet. Our chosen selection is laying at 2.8 and the bookmaker currently has odds of 7/4.
To work this out we must use the equation ((Stake / Demoninator) x Numerator) + Stake. In this case ((£10/4) x 7) + £10 = £27.50. Pretty confusing.
However, if we were working in decimals we would immediately see our odds displayed as 2.75. Our equation just became a lot simpler – Stake x Odds. £10 x 2.75 = £27.50.
We can clearly see that the odds of 2.75 at the bookmaker with the lay odds of 2.8 are much closer than the 7/4 / 2.8.
For the reasons above, working in decimals is the quickest and most reliable option when matched betting.