Betting Odds Explained

You want to place a bet on a sporting event. Should be a simple process, right? Well, it can be but there are various ways in which the odds on that event can be presented.

Ultimately, odds are expressing the mathematical likelihood of an event happening. But that expression can take a range of apparently confusing forms.

In this guide we’ll tell you:

  • What the different types of sports odds are
  • How to use them to calculate your returns
  • How to compare the varying types of betting odds

Introduction to Sports Betting Odds

There are three basic types of betting odds we’ll be discussing and explaining here.

Fractional odds tend to be used in the UK, Decimal odds are popular in Canada, Europe and the rest of the world and Moneyline odds are mostly restricted to the US.

However, the prevalence of online sportsbooks means a bettor in any country can be confronted by different ways of expressing odds.

So the same bet can be expressed as:

Fractional / UK odds
Fractional / UK odds Eg. 3/1
Decimal / European odds
Decimal / European odds Eg. 4.00
Moneyline odds Eg. +300

Decimal Odds Explained

These are mostly used in Canada, Australia and Europe. Their format shows simply the potential return of a bet, including the stake amount.

All you have to do is calculate your return by multiplying your stake by the decimal.

So, for instance, if the Maple Leafs are facing the Bruins in the NHL and are quoted at 2.5 to win, if you stake C$10 you will win C$25.

Similarly, should you think Manchester United will be relegated from the Premier League next season, the odds might be expressed as 500.0. A C$10 bet would pay out C$5,000.

Decimal Odds Explained

Moneyline Odds Explained

These are also known as American odds because of their popularity with sportsbooks in the US. They work in two ways.

If you are betting on a favourite, the odds begin with a minus and show how much you have to stake to win C$100.

When you want to back an underdog, the figure carries a plus and shows how much you will win if you stake C$100.

For example, if Miami Dolphins are playing Cleveland Browns and the odds about the Dolphins are -124, you have to bet C$124 to take a C$100 profit.

Should you fancy the Browns and their price is +112, a C$100 bet will yield a C$112 profit.

Moneyline Odds Explained

Fractional Odds Explained

Known also as British odds or Traditional odds, these are popular in the UK. They display the likelihood of an event happening by showing how much your stake will be multiplied if you win.

It’s easier if you say it out loud: 6/1 is “six to one”, so there is technically a one in seven chance of your prediction being correct.

If you are watching a Premier League match between Chelsea and Liverpool and think Chelsea will win, and the odds are 2/1, a stake of C$10 will return C$30, including your stake.

Likewise, if you reckon Tottenham Hotspur will be relegated from the Premier League next season, the odds might be 200/1, meaning a C$10 bet will return C$210.

Fractional Odds Explained

Odds Comparison

It can be useful to translate one set of odds into another with which you are more familiar.

Simple Odds Converter

Moneyline /
American Odds:
Decimal /
European Odds:
Fractional /
UK Odds:

Common Betting Odds Conversion Table


Odds Payout Calculator

Sometimes you want to know how much a bet is going to pay out before you decide to put down your stake. Our handy Odds Calculator allows you to enter your stake and click on your odds to bring up the projected return.


Understanding betting odds when you want to place a bet in Canada will be much easier once you are familiar the different ways in which they can be displayed.

To learn more about every aspect of how to bet on sports, check out our sports betting page.

There is also a more in-depth NBA odds guide for you basketball fans.



What does 'odds' mean?

Odds are simply the expression of the probability of an outcome in numerical form.

How do I read sports betting odds?

Odds allow you to calculate how much you will win if your prediction is successful. There are different sorts of odds, as we have seen, but once you know how they work you’ll know how to read them.

How do I calculate potential winnings?

You multiply your stake by the numbers in the odds. So if an outcome is expressed as 2/1, or 3.00, or +200 you can see you will get back twice your stake, plus the stake itself, if you win.

What are the different types of odds?

The three most popular odds are fractional, decimal or moneyline (also called American odds).

What type of odds are used in Canada?

The most common type of odds used are decimal odds, which are very easy to use. However, the number of online sportsbooks with a global reach now in existence means bettors in Canada may also encounter fractional and moneyline odds from time to time.