American odds work against a base value of $100. Odds for favourites (-100) denote the stake required to win $100 while odds for underdogs (+100) display the profit that can be made on a bet of $100.
And there you have it – a very basic answer to the question, “How do American odds work?” If you would like a more detailed explanation with some practical help, keep reading. We cover American odds at online betting sites, how to convert them to other odds formats, and plenty more!
American odds – also known as US or Vegas odds – are the main sports betting format used in North American bookmaking. But they can also be used at UK betting sites that allow you to change odds formats. What stands American odds apart from fractional and decimal odds are the positive (+) and negative (-) symbols that precede a bookie’s prices.
Odds with negative signs indicate the stake required to make a profit of $100. Those with positive signs show the potential profit that can be made from a $100 wager. This doesn’t mean you must place a $100 bet each time – this is simply an incremental value used to discern between fighters, runners, or teams in markets. Here is an example of American odds for the winner of the MLB World Series. in baseball.
We believe there are benefits to using American betting odds. For example, they are generally consistent and easy to understand. Especially when betting on US sports like basketball or baseball. Other odds formats make it tougher to gauge the implied probability of a selection, which can sometimes make it favourable to use American odds.
In much the same way as fractional and decimal formats, understanding American odds can help you identify betting value on football or other sports. It may also come in handy if you are planning a trip to North America or a specific country that uses them.
American odds might look strange at first glance. They can certainly spark curiosity if you have never had to use them before. We believe examples are good for answering questions like, how do American betting odds work? So, let’s introduce an easy one.
Here is an example of a moneyline bet placed on Arsenal vs Tottenham in the Premier League.
As you can see, Arsenal are the favourites and are priced at -138 (8/11) to win. This means a $138 stake is required to make a profit of $100. If you bet $138 and Arsenal beat Spurs, your total returns will be $238 ($138 + $100 = $238).
Spurs are the underdogs at +300 (3/1) and bookies pay out $300 for every winning $100 stake placed on them. If you back Spurs with a $100 stake, total returns will be $400 ($300 + $100 = $400).
Perhaps you fancy the draw at +320 (16/5)? If you make a successful $100 bet on Arsenal and Spurs drawing, your total returns will be $420 ($320 + $100 = $420).
American odds can make it easier to work out potential payout on bets. Especially where favourites, or “plus money” selections, are concerned. You might be wondering, how do American odds work when converted to other formats? Let’s move on to the next section where you explain everything.
There may be times when you are looking to work out potential profit or implied probability. Regardless of the bet types or odds formats, everything comes down to maths. Sometimes, you’ll need to figure out American odds that aren’t as simple as +100 (Evens).
The following sections explain how to convert American sports odds to decimal and fractional formats. And vice versa!
To convert American to decimal odds, you need both values. The formula is straightforward but must be adjusted depending on whether the sports odds are positive or negative.
Let’s use the example of Manchester United with American odds of +200.
For the decimal odds, we’ll use the horse Arkle at odds of -400. Notice how the 100 is now flipped in front of the value of the American odds.
There are two ways to work out decimal to American odds. One can be used with odds of 2.00 or more, with the other applied when you use (negative) values of 1.01 to 1.99.
Here is the formula for converting Manchester United’s decimal odds (3.00) back to American odds.
Converting odds under 2.00 in decimal form to American – such as in Arkle’s (1.25) case – can be slightly more complicated. By understanding betting odds conversions, we can use an easy formula on odds between 1.01 and 1.99.
How do American odds work out at -400 from 400? The decimal format does not account for the plus and minus symbols, meaning these must be added when there is a positive or negative value. Decimal odds under 2.0 are considered negative, which is why you add the minus symbol.
Most betting sites in the UK display odds in the fractional format. Odds on display for everything from major sports like horse racing to underdog bets in football are fractional by default – this makes it important to know how to convert American odds to fractional.
Here are examples of how to convert American to fractional odds for Detroit Pistons (+275) vs. Miami Heat (-114). Remember – you don’t add the negative or plus signs to either formula for favourite or underdog bets.
There is also a formula that makes the conversion of odds from fractions to US-style easy. Just remember that a higher number on the left (e.g. the 11 part of 11/4) indicates a plus money (+) favourite. A lower number on the left (7/8) indicates a minus money (-) underdog.
Here’s an example using Detroit Pistons (11/4) and Miami Heat (7/8).
And that’s it – American betting odds explained through examples. We are hoping you won’t need to ask how do American odds work any more, having gone through the above scenarios. Let’s now move on to the most popular markets for US betting odds.
Many online betting sites offer the chance to wager with different types of betting odds. Some of the popular betting markets with American odds include moneyline wagers, over/unders, and spread betting.
You’ll find plenty of sports betting markets that use American odds. Odds are not restricted to one format, either. Whether your initial wager is in the decimal, fraction, or American format, you will find something right for you to bet on NFL games and more.
Betting odds formats are a matter of personal preference, with some favouring a particular type. Still, there are some benefits and drawbacks to using American odds – especially when wagering on UK gambling sites.
A bet calculator for American odds can be a great addition to your bookmarks tab. We have designed a system that lets you set the format, which is great if you are used to using US odds.
Use our free bet calculator to convert American odds to decimals. You can transform your moneyline favourites or underdogs into another format.
Looking to avoid the headaches of manual calculations? If so, consider how do American odds work when converted at the click of a button.
Many of our recommended online betting sites allow you to change odds to the American format. Even after you have placed your original wager. Some of them also have a great range of American-style markets for US sports and leagues like basketball, baseball, and the NFL.
Our recommended bookie for American odds is Betfred. This provides the means to view and place bets on all sports using US odds. More than this, they also have one of the best selections of American sports markets online.
The best way to read American odds is by first considering what the plus and minus signs mean. For example, money line odds of -200 mean you must place a bet of $200 to win a $100 profit, while odds of +200 indicate the profit that can be made from a $100 wager. American odds show positive and negative values to indicate varying degrees of probability in sports betting.
American odds are used on popular sports in the North American betting industry and are presented as either positive or negative numbers. The European format of odds is more internationally used and shown as decimals. With American (or Vegas odds), a common boxing matchup might look like Fighter A (-200) vs Fighter B (+130). If you convert the odds to decimal (European), it shows as Fighter A (1.5) vs Fighter B (2.30).
Payouts are determined by the odds type and original stake on your online betting slip. For example, if you staked $100 on Liverpool at odds of +200, the +200 means you make $200 profit plus your stake. A $100 bet on +500 betting lines returns $500 in profit plus a $100 stake. How do American odds work with minus-money bets? Well, the figure after the minus sign is what you need to stake to make $100 in profit You can find more examples of American odds (and other types of odds) explained in this guide.
To accommodate players who use this type of betting odds. Granted, not all sites in the UK betting industry offer things like denomination changes on betting slips after punters are done placing their original stakes. But bookies who do provide them ensure that punters have the odds type/type of betting odds they need to work out their wagers.