# How Statisticians Can do Well Understanding the Science of Betting Odds

## How do betting odds work?

Diving into the world of betting odds can at first look like a confusing mess of numbers. However, they serve a couple of purposes and can give you everything you need to know before placing a bet.

Of course, one of the most important pieces of information betting odds will give you is the payout for any wager you could make. With each bet, the odds will impact the how much you can win at any given time. The higher (or riskier!) the betting odd, the more money you could potentially win.

There is also another crucial piece of information you can get from betting odds. They will also convey the prediction of a particular outcome. The higher the betting odd, the less likely the outcome is to happen. While if the betting odd was lower, the outcome is expected to happen more. This correlates with having an underdog winning a match – you’d expect to get more money for going against the grain to predict this outcome.

### The main types of odds

To begin with, let’s look at the three main types of odds you can come across: fractional, decimal, and moneyline odds.

Moneyline odds, favoured in America, show each bet as either a positive or negative number. A positive number shows how much you would win with a wager of \$100. The negative number on the other hand represents the favoured team and shows what stake is needed to win \$100.

Decimal odds are quite straightforward showing a single positive number. For example, if the bet stood at 1.5 and the wager was \$1, the return for a winning bet would be \$1.50.

Fractional odds can be slightly more complicated. For example, an odd of 5/1 would show that for any amount wagered, you could win five times your wager back. When the first number is larger than the second number, this favours the underdog of the match.

When the second number is larger than the first, this shows the favourite who is expected to win. This also means the potential profit is less than the wagered amount. While this might seem counter intuitive, you would also receive your wager back, ensuring you at least leave with a profit. Some might consider an easy wager to win, however due to the low risk you would get a low reward.

## The science of betting odds

Long are the days when odds are just for gamblers. There are now many discussions about the role of statistics in relation to betting odds. Statistics can help guide a decision grounded in maths rather than making a decision based off a whim or a gut feeling. It’s an interesting note that all the way up to the Renaissance, all gambles were not considered mathematically, which contrary in today’s day and age.

## Why do statisticians like betting odds?

We are getting more and more research into why statisticians like odds. Simply, it’s possible to convert odds to implied probabilities to give you an idea on how likely an outcome will happen.

It doesn’t matter if you’re not a genius at turning odds into implied probabilities yourself. It’s possible to find many websites of converting odds online for you.  Let’s take a betting odd of 5/4 or as the equivalent decimal of 2.25 as an example. The implied probability of outcome would be 44.4%, not exactly the best odds to win. However, taking odds at 1/5 or the equivalent of 1.2 for example, would result in an implied probability of 83.3%.

So, taking this into consideration, if you think there is a chance a winning bet could be <i>higher</i> than its implied probability, then this could potentially be a good bet to place.