If you’re new to the world of sports betting, it’s important that you start by understanding the basics – and learning how to read the odds is perhaps the most important place to start. There are different ways that sportsbooks can display their odds, but in the US, the default setting is American odds, which we’ll explain here.
American Odds and the Moneyline
The Favorite vs the Underdog
American Odds and the Point Spread
American odds and Totals
In American odds, the favorite appears with a minus sign and the underdog with a plus sign. The numeral illustrates the extent to which a favorite is favored to win, or an underdog is expected to lose.
For the favorite, the odds show how much you need to bet in order to win $100. For the underdog, the odds show how much a $100 bet would return.
To illustrate, a slight favorite would carry odds of say -100, while a heavy favorite might be at -1500. Meaning you would need to wager $200 and $1500, respectively, to win $100.
For a slight underdog at +200 or a heavy underdog at +1500, a $100 bet would return $200 and $1500, respectively.
In Europe, bookmakers usually display decimal odds. Most online sportsbooks allow players to choose the style of odds display they are most comfortable with.
See for yourself below how American odds translate across to other odds formats using our Betting Calculator.
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