Learn how to read American, decimal, and fractional betting odds. Find out how much you can win with your bet.

Understanding Different Bet Odds

If you’re into sports betting, you know how important odds are: they determine what your winning potential will be. However, nearly every bookmaker uses a different odds format: you may have noticed that the odds listed on sites like Betting offers Finder Canada look quite different. So, what is the reason for this, and how to read betting odds in different formats? We will answer these questions below.

How to Read Betting Odds?

Odds formats are determined by geographic regions and local customs. This is why you see different formats on European bookmaker sites and different formats on US bookies. All these essentially determine the same thing: how much you can win from that bet. In other words, the job of betting odds is to provide you with at-a-glance information about the profit you can make with your bet.

“Remember that you can switch between odds formats on most bookmakers,” says Tony Sloterman, Product Owner of Betting Offers Finder company. “Odds options are usually listed alongside the language options. Here you can select the odds format you want to display. It is best to do this before placing a bet.”

There are three different odds formats currently in common use, and they all look quite different from one another. European bookmakers usually offer the option to switch to different formats, but US bookies don’t have this option most of the time. Therefore, learning how each format is viewed and how you should read it is essential for an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Below is a short list of available betting odds.

American (Money Line)

As the name suggests, this format is used by US bookmakers. It is also possible to say that this is the most complex format because you also need to learn to read the “plus” and “minus” signs. Let’s explain with examples.

  • American odds have a plus or minus sign at the beginning.
  • If there is a plus sign, you are betting on the underdog team/player and odds show how much you can win for a $100 bet. For example, if you wager $100 for +200 odds, you will win $200.
  • If there is a minus sign, you are betting on the favouriteteam/player. In this case, the odds represent the amount you must bet to win $100. For example, if odds are listed as -120, you would need to wager $120 to win $100 on that bet.


This is the odds format used in Europe, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. It is quite simple and direct, as it consists of a single digit, which represents what the total payout will be. To see how much you will win on a bet, simply multiply the bet amount by the decimal odds. For example:

  • If you wager 50 CAD for 1.30 odds, the payout will be 65 CAD (50 x 1.30)
  • If you wager 100 CAD for 3.00 odds, the payout will be 300 CAD (100 x 3)

Note, however, that you will need to subtract the initial bet amount from the payout. For example, the above 300 CAD payout includes the initial stake of 100 CAD, so your actual profit is actually 200 CAD.


This format is predominantly used by UK bookmakers. Two numbers are used here, separated by a slash or hyphen. The first number represents the payout and the second number represents the bet amount. For example:

  • 8/1: For every 1 GBP wager made, 8 GBP will be paid out, i.e., if you wager 10 GBP and win, you will win 90 GBP. Of this, 10 GBP is the initial bet, and 80 GBP is the real profit.

The odds format may change, but the amount of payment will never change. Therefore, choosing the format will offer nothing but a more practical experience, but you will be able to calculate more easily when comparing multiple odds and trying to find the highest one.




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