Sports betting is the practice of betting real money on the outcomes of sports matches. It is legally permissible in multiple countries and jurisdictions around the world, and regulated by leading authorities such as the Great Britain Gambling Commission (GBGC), The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), and the Government of Gibraltar, among others. Provided a player is of legal age, in a regulated jurisdiction, it is possible to bet on sports. There are thousands of sports betting options across hundreds of markets. Such is the diversity of sports bets available to players, that multiple different bet types are readily available, including the following:
- Head-to-Head Bets – Typically in golf, tennis and NASCAR with just 2 competitors
- Parlay Bets – Multiple bets grouped together into a single bet known as a parlay
- Teaser Bets – Bettors can adjust the point spread in their favour by grouping 2+ bets
- Straight Bets – Bet on the favourite or the underdog to win with a point spread
- Money Line Bets – Bet on a team to win straight up with no point spread
- Total Line Bets – A number for the final score is determined and players bet on the score (over/under)
Such is the interest in sports betting that the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada Las Vegas found that between 1984 – 2018, sports betting in the Silver State amounted to $77.25 billion. The passage of Supreme Court legislation overturning PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) has led to several billion dollars’ worth of additional sports betting.
For many players, the odds and statistics can be confusing. Sports books routinely post different types of odds which players need to understand before placing a bet, for example:
Philadelphia Phillies +122
Colorado Rockies -142
The aforementioned odds are known as American odds. Once you understand the foundations, it’s a relatively simple process to determine payouts on these types of run line and money line bets. The + and – are important. With positive odds, players can immediately see how much a $100 bet will win if the team wins. In the above example, a $100 bet on the Philadelphia Phillies will yield $122, for a net profit of $22. If there are negative odds alongside the team’s name, that’s precisely how much money must be bet for winnings of $100. In the above example, a $142 wager needs to be placed to win $100.
*(Betting currencies can be in £, €, ¥, or any other applicable currency)
Of course, sports betting also encompasses different types of odds including fractional odds such as 61/50, and decimal odds such as 1.70. The calculation of fractional odds requires players to look at the numerator and the denominator (61/50) to determine how much stands to be won from the placement of the bet. A simple calculation can denote this: 61÷50 = 1.22. This means that a $100 bet can yield $122 in winnings if the team pulls through.
With decimal odds, the bet must be multiplied by the decimal odds to determine the possible payout. In our example, a $100 bet will yield $170 in total. If we use decimal odds less than one, it’s equally easy to understand the payout. In the case of 0.25 odds, you are clearly betting on a favourite to win. A $100 bet will yield just $25. Put differently, you would need to bet $400 to win $100. In live sports, the games are taking place in real time. That means you don’t have a whole lot of ‘time’ to sit and ponder what the payout possibilities will be.
Using a Betting Calculator to Determine Your Potential Winnings in Live Sports
Once you have a cursory understanding of sports betting odds and probabilities, it’s important to know what size bet you need to make to receive a specific payout, or what size payout you can expect given a specific bet size and sports betting odds. In live sports betting – otherwise known as ‘Live In-Play Betting’, the odds are changing by the minute. Teams or players can easily gain/lose the advantage as the action unfolds. This makes it challenging to understand the odds.
By using an odds calculator, you can remove much of the confusion from the equation in real time. For example, bet calculators have placeholders for you to assign a specific stake and odds. By inputting the size of your bet and entering the odds associated with that bet, you can instantly see the total odds, possible winnings, and net profit that you can potentially generate if your bet comes through.
Many bettors shy away from complicated betting options like parlays and focus on single bets like straight up bets. However, it’s entirely possible to use a betting calculator for the purposes of multiple bets such as doubles, trebles, and four-folds. Be advised that parlays require that each leg in the bet wins in order for the overall bet to pay out. Sports betting calculators do not increase your chances of winning whatsoever – they are merely a tool you can use to determine your potential payouts if the bets win with live sports betting.