Understanding Odds

Getting to grips with understanding odds is a vital component when wagering on horse racing. Knowing what the odds represent unlocks important information that every punter needs to know before betting in earnest: what is the chance of my selection winning? Does it represent value? How much can I potentially win?

When I had betting odds and Probabilityexplained to me in a simple manner it moved my understanding of the racing game on in leaps and bounds.

How do betting odds work?

Betting odds are usually expressed as fractions, 2/1, 7/2 and 6/4 as examples. With the aid of a simple calculator or spreadsheet we can calculate how much we can win from a bet and also the percentage chance of our chosen selection. Let's start with the first odds mentioned, the 2 to 1 chance, written as 2/1. We can find the percentage chance of the 2/1 shot winning by adding the right hand side (1) to the left hand side (2) giving us 3, the right hand side (1) is then divided by 3 giving the answer 0.333 or 33.3%. Now we can calculate any odds that are expressed as fractions. Let's try the 7/2 chance, add the 2 to the 7 giving 9 and divide 2 by 9 which gives us 0.222 or 22.2%. The 6/4 shot has a 0.40 (40%) chance of winning, 4 added to the 6 (10) 4 divided by 10 = 0.4, it's that simple. Awkward odds like 13/8 can easily be calculated, 13 + 8 = 21, 8 divided by 21 = 0.38 (38%).

For your convenience we have provided a Betting Odds Percentage Table

Now that we have mastered understanding betting odds, calculating returns is just as simple. Our 2/1 shot is simple, 2+1 = 3, if we have £10 on at 2/1 we have a return of £30, £20 winnings and our stake of £10 = £30. 7/2 is 7+2 = 9, 9 divided by 2 = 4.5, so £10 at 7/2 returns us £45, £35 in winnings plus our £10 stake. 6/4 is 6+4 = 10, 10 divided by 4 =2.5, £10 at 6/4 returns £25, £15 in winnings plus our £10 stake. And what of the awkward 13/8? It's not awkward any more, 13+8 = 21, 21 divided by 8 = 2.625, £10 at 13/8 returns £26.25. We are now in position to use Horse Racing Odds to make a backers book.

From the early morning prices or the Liveon course market we can estimate whether there is value in the market. Also with the knowledge of Understanding Odds comes the ability to Calculate Oddswhich put the chance of winning firmly in our favour.


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