how are bets calculated

Odds are arguably the most important aspect of betting. Understanding them is crucial to understanding how bets are calculated as they indicate how likely it is an event will happen and what your winnings could be. These lists of numbers might seem intimidating at first, but once you get your head around them, you're well on your way to improving your chances... so one of the first questions we need to as ourselves is how are bets calculated

Probability: The cornerstone of how bets are calculated

The most important thing to consider, when answering the question, 'how are bets calculated?' is, of course, probability. For any given event, whether it's a football game, a horse race, a boxing match or an election, there are a certain number of possible outcomes. In essence, betting odds are a representation of how likely something is to happen. Take rolling dice as an example: as it's all down to chance, there's a 16.67% or 1 in 6 chance the dice will fall on either of its six faces.

Of course, in sport, current affairs or whatever the bet may be, there are more complex variables. It's the bookmaker's job to make this assessment based on performance, public opinion or any other factor that might affect the result. In the UK, odds are usually expressed as fractions, so when you see two numbers separated by a forward slash, you're looking at the odds. So, if a bookmaker says there's a 10/1 chance of a horse winning a race, it means that they think there's a 10% chance the horse will win.

How probability expresses potential winnings

However, this fraction doesn't only express the likelihood of something happening; it also shows how much you could win if you place the bet. Essentially, if odds are expressed as A/B, then for every quantity of B you bet you'll win quantity A, plus your initial stake. Let's say that the odds on a football match are 9/1 for a given scenario. This means that for every £1 you bet, you'll win nine.

That said, anyone who has set foot in a betting shop will know how bets are calculated is occasionally a little more complex. Sometimes, value B will be expressed by a number other than 1. For instance, odds on an election might be 5/2. Quite simply, this means that for every £2 you bet, you win £5. So, if you put down £6, your potential winnings are £15.

In a nutshell

Odds represent how likely is that something will happen. They also show you how much money you'll win, should you bet that this event will come to pass. With these calculations, you can compare and contrast how lucrative a bet is versus the chances of the event happening. Of course, in gambling, there's plenty of room for surprises, but betting odds help you understand risks and potential payoffs.

Odds are arguably the most important aspect of betting. Understanding them is crucial to understanding how bets are calculated as they indicate how likely it is an event will happen and what your winnings could be. These lists of numbers might seem intimidating at first, but once you get your head around them, you're well on your way to improving your chances.

Related links:
What do the form numbers mean in horse racing
can you make money from horse racing
what is the best bet to place in horse racing?