How to Understand The Odds Of A Football Match

How to Understand The Odds Of A Football Match


How to Understand The Odds Of A Football Match


Ever wondered how betting companies calculate the odds on a football match? Well, today we’re going to talk you through how it’s done. 

Betting odds are designed to be safe enough that the company won’t lose too much money if they get things wrong. But they still want to make them enticing enough to draw betters in. 

A knowledge of sports betting is key to winning big in the field. 

It is important to know the difference between short odds and long odds. To know what they have been set that way. And to know when it is best to stick with short odds and when it is a good idea to take a punt on something longer. 

The Columbus Crew play the New England Revolution during the second half of the inaugural match at Field in Columbus on Saturday, July 3, 2021. The Crew tied the Revolution 2-2.
Columbus Crew Inaugural Match At Lower Com Field

In this article, we are going to talk you through how these odds are calculated so that you can start placing smarter bets on football matches

Calculating the odds

There are three types of betting odds: 

  1. Fractional (the British and traditional method) – shown as 9/1
  2. Decimal (the numbers shows how much you will win for every $1 you bet) – shown as 9.00
  3. American (- or + show to indicate winnings) – show as 9 + 1 

The betting company will calculate the odds of a team winning using the data available about the team and their current performance. They will then allow people to bet on these odds. 

If you are trying to work out the probability of victory based on the odds, here is a rough guide – 

1/4 – there is a 80% chance of victory (payout is $0.25 for every dollar) 

1/1 – there is a 50% chance of victory (payout is $1 for every dollar) 

4/1 – there is a 20% chance of victory (payout is $4 for every dollar)

9/1 – there is a 10% chance of victory (payout is $9 for every dollar)

If you place a $10 bet on a 9/1 victory your returns will be $100, and your profit will be $90.    

Nashville SC midfielder Hany Mukhtar (10) defends against Philadelphia Union midfielder Jose Andres Martinez (8) during the second half at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Saturday, July 3, 2021.
Mls Nsc 070321 An 017

The House Always Wins…What are the odds?! 

When setting odds on football matches, betting companies have to walk a fine line between setting odds that will entice betters, whilst reducing the risk of them losing money. 

Ironically, when it comes to odd settings, there is very little gambling involved on the part of the betting companies. 

In general, the odds of the football match are based on how the betting company believes each team will perform, based on their past experiences, with profit allowances made too. However, sometimes when large amounts of money are placed on an outcome, the betting company will adjust the odds.* 

*Placing large bets to try and change the odds in your own favor is illegal. 

The odds set by the bookkeeper will never truly reflect the probability of the match’s outcome as they are always looking to make a profit. The odds are calculated in a way that means with the bookkeepers’ odds you will win less money than if they had allowed you to bet on the true odds. 

This way the betting companies make money whether you win or lose. 

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