As known from:
The Verge logoUSA Today logoVentureBeat logo
VA
Online Gambling Sites > Betting Guide > Betting Odds Explained: Learn How To Read Betting Odds

Betting Odds Explained: Learn How To Read Betting Odds

Publish Date:19/05/2023
Fact checked by: Heather Williams

The term 'Odds' is probably the most common word in the history of sports betting. That is because your winning chances and payout potential are all based on the odds.

On this page, everything about American betting odds is explained. You'll learn what the plus and minus mean for betting odds and how to read them. The one thing odds don't affect is bonuses, and our exclusive bonus code TGHSOCIAL for the Stake welcome offer is still available for you to claim.

Social Casino Bonus
4.7/5
Stake.us
Social Casino Bonus
4.7/5
$55 Stake Cash + 260K Gold Coins + 5% Rakeback
Welcome Bonus
|
T&Cs apply, 18+
Copy
Get Bonus

Plus and minus – How to read odds

Odds are the sportsbook's way of naming the price of a bet. Basically, American odds are based on $100, so the lines available on any market tell you how much you need to spend to win $100 or how much you win from spending $100.

To simplify, it's necessary first to understand the meaning of the plus (+) and minus (-) symbols besides the odds. A team with the "-" sign means they are the favorite to win the event. On the other hand, a team with the "+" is the underdog.

So the sign attached to the odds reveals the team's strength and which one has a higher chance of winning.

Here's an example:

  • Kansas City Chiefs: -115
  • Indianapolis Colts: +165

From the above, the Chiefs are the favorite, and Colts are the underdogs. The odds mean that you have to bet $115 on the Chiefs to win $100, while a $100 stake on the Colts will earn $165 in profits.

Some markets, like future bets, may display only + odds. In this case, the team or player with smaller lines is more likely to win.

American odds vs. Decimal and Fractional odds - Format on sports betting odds explained

American odds (+ and -) are not the only existing odds formats. There are also Decimal/European odds and Fractional/British odds, and the best betting sites will allow you to switch between the formats as you please.

It's worth noting that regardless of the odds system, the price representation is always the same. They are simply expressed differently.

For illustration, the table below shows the equivalent of +200 American odds in Decimal and Fractional odds formats:

American odds Decimal odds Fractional odds
+200 3.00 2/1
  • For American odds, a $100 will net you $200 in profits. You also receive your stake back.
  • For decimal odds, your payout is simply the stake multiplied by the points. In the example case, a $100 bet will pay $300 ($200 profits + $100 stake).
  • Fractional odds indicate the ratio of profit to stake. So, once again, you get $200 in profits if you bet $100.

Our best betting sites

Bet365
1.
Favicon
4.7/5
First Bet Safety Net up to $1000 OR Bet $5 and Get $150
Virginia
Players from Virginia accepted
Virginia (US) Lottery Board
Bet now
At bet365 we don't do ordinary, that's why if you sign up now you'll get the choice of two great New Customer Offers, the First Bet Safety Net up to $1000 or Bet $5 and Get $150 in Bonus Bets. Deposit required. Bonus Bets wager excluded from returns. T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-Gambler 21+
BetMGM
2.
Favicon
4.7/5
Up To $1500 in Bonus Bets Paid Back if your First Bet Does Not Win
Virginia
Players from Virginia accepted
PayNearMe
Skrill
PayPal
Virginia (US) Lottery Board
Bet now
T&Cs apply, 21+
FanDuel
3.
Favicon
4.6/5
Bet $5 Get $150 in Bonus Bets if your bet wins
Virginia
Players from Virginia accepted
Prepaid Card
PayNearMe
PayPal
Virginia (US) Lottery Board
Bet now
T&Cs apply, 21+
Caesars
4.
Favicon
4.5/5
100% up to $1000
Virginia
Players from Virginia accepted
E-Check
PayNearMe
PayPal
Virginia (US) Lottery Board
Bet now
T&Cs apply, 21+
DraftKings
5.
Favicon
4.5/5
20% up to $1000
Virginia
Players from Virginia accepted
PayPal
VIP Preferred
Play+
Virginia (US) Lottery Board
Bet now
T&Cs apply, 21+

Odds explained in betting markets – Moneyline & Point Spreads

Moneyline and point spreads are the most popular bet types, whether in the NFL, NBA, NHL, or any other top American sport.

Moneyline bets are placed on a projected or potential winner of an event or contest. This bet type is the most direct in online sports betting. The odds are straightforward, like in our initial illustration of a match-up between the Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts. Moneyline bets are great when you have a strong, well-informed idea of who will likely win the match. Also, if you’re a beginner just learning how to sign up for online betting, this bet option is an easy place to start.

Spread betting, on the other hand, holds a lot of the sports betting action at US online sportsbooks. Unlike the moneyline, this one isn't concerned with who wins or not but by how many goals/points the winner wins, or the loser loses. So a bet on a losing team can still win as long as they cover the spread. Spread bet lines are slightly different because they also indicate the point spread for both teams.

Typical lines on the spread will look something like this:

  • New York Giants: +4.5 (+120)
  • Buffalo Bills: -4.5 (-115)

This means the Giants have to lose by 4 goals or less (or win outrightly) for your bet to win, while the Bills have to win by at least 5 goals for a bet on that team to win.

As long as each team covers the spread, a winning bet will pay according to the odds displayed in brackets. A $100 bet will net you $120 for the underdog, while you get a $100 profit on a $115 bet on the favorite.

Conclusion – Make smart bets when you understand sports betting odds

American odds represent your chances of winning at online sportsbooks. It also reveals which teams are favored to win over the other. All of this means that understanding the odds is crucial before you apply any strategy. If you're a bettor who enjoys testing strategies, you'll need to understand the plus and minus coefficients on American odds first. Luckily, these are quite easy to grasp.

Also, calculating payouts is faster with American odds, especially if you are wagering with a flat $100. The + odds refer to the potential amount you can win with a $100 wager. On the other hand, the – odds indicate the amount you need to wager to win $100. If you're placing a different amount, then it's a simple case of cross-multiplication to get the new potential returns.

The best sports betting bonuses for 2024

Bet365
1.
Favicon
4.7/5
First Bet Safety Net up to $1000 OR Bet $5 and Get $150
Virginia
Players from Virginia accepted
Requirements (WR): 1x Bonus, Min. Deposit: $10
Go to Bet365
Get bonus now
At bet365 we don't do ordinary, that's why if you sign up now you'll get the choice of two great New Customer Offers, the First Bet Safety Net up to $1000 or Bet $5 and Get $150 in Bonus Bets. Deposit required. Bonus Bets wager excluded from returns. T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-Gambler 21+
BetMGM
2.
Favicon
4.7/5
Up To $1500 in Bonus Bets Paid Back if your First Bet Does Not Win
Virginia
Players from Virginia accepted
Min. Deposit: $10
Go to BetMGM
Get bonus now
T&Cs apply, 21+
FanDuel
3.
Favicon
4.6/5
Bet $5 Get $150 in Bonus Bets if your bet wins
Virginia
Players from Virginia accepted
Requirements (WR): 1x Deposit, Min. Deposit: $10
Go to FanDuel
Get bonus now
T&Cs apply, 21+
Caesars
4.
Favicon
4.5/5
100% up to $1000
Virginia
Players from Virginia accepted
Requirements (WR): 1x Deposit
Copy
Get bonus now
T&Cs apply, 21+
DraftKings
5.
Favicon
4.5/5
20% up to $1000
Virginia
Players from Virginia accepted
Requirements (WR): 1x Bonus, Min. Deposit: $5
Go to DraftKings
Get bonus now
T&Cs apply, 21+

Sports betting odds explained FAQs

📲Which sportsbooks have the best odds?

Come along and find out the best sportsbooks with the sharpest odds on the market. Our online betting guides will also reveal what other cool features are available on the top-rated operator sites.

🎲Should you bet on the plus or minus?

The plus and minus in American odds indicate that one team is an underdog while the other is the favorite. You'll find out more about these distinctions when you read our guide. We'll also offer some insight to let you know which one you should bet on at any time.

✅What's the difference between American, fractional, and decimal odds?

The three odds formats within the sports betting industry are American Fractional and Decimal odds. American odds are the standard odds formats at most US sportsbooks, but you may get the option to switch formats if you wish. Our guide sheds more light on these different odds formats so you can decide which style is best suited for you.

Read Also
Best Kansas Sportsbook Promos & Bonuses 2024
If you want to make the most of your sports betting experience, ...
Illinois Sportsbook Promos & Bonuses 2024
Sports betting is legal in The Prairie State, and many sportsbooks are ...
Bet365 Promo
Connecticut Sportsbook Promos & Bonuses 2024
The Nutmeg State may not have tons of betting options, but if ...
Free SC Coins for Sweepstakes Casinos
One of the best things about sweepstakes casinos is the fact that ...
Social Casino Promo Codes
It’s pretty easy to get some social casino promo codes and our ...
Top Betting Sites
Bet365
Bet365
Bet365 Review
4.7/5
BetMGM
BetMGM
BetMGM Review
4.7/5
FanDuel
FanDuel
FanDuel Review
4.6/5
Caesars
Caesars
Caesars Review
4.5/5
DraftKings
DraftKings
DraftKings Review
4.5/5
Top Betting Bonuses
Bet365
Bet365 Bonus
First Bet Safety Net up to $1000 OR Bet $5 and Get $150
T&Cs apply
4.7/5
At bet365 we don't do ordinary, that's why if you sign up now you'll get the choice of two great New Customer Offers, the First Bet Safety Net up to $1000 or Bet $5 and Get $150 in Bonus Bets. Deposit required. Bonus Bets wager excluded from returns. T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-Gambler 21+
BetMGM
BetMGM Bonus
Up To $1500 in Bonus Bets Paid Back if your First Bet Does Not Win
T&Cs apply
4.7/5
FanDuel
FanDuel Bonus
Bet $5 Get $150 in Bonus Bets if your bet wins
T&Cs apply
4.6/5
Caesars
Caesars Bonus
100% up to $1000
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
DraftKings
DraftKings Bonus
20% up to $1000
T&Cs apply
4.5/5
Our Team
Eric BaleHeather WilliamsGraham Stevans
Eric Bale
Eric Bale
Editor
Heather Williams
Heather Williams
Editor
Graham Stevans
Graham Stevans
Writer

21+ and present in VA. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.

This site is using Cloudflare and adheres to the Google Safe Browsing Program. We adapted Google's Privacy Guidelines to keep your data safe at all times.

Close
Our Sports Pros recommend these awesome sports betting sites this week:
BetMGM
BetMGM Bonus
Up To $1500 in Bonus Bets Paid Back if your First Bet Does Not Win
T&Cs apply, 21+
Promo Code:
Go to BetMGM
Get Bonus
FanDuel
FanDuel Bonus
Bet $5 Get $150 in Bonus Bets if your bet wins
T&Cs apply, 21+
Promo Code:
Go to FanDuel
Get Bonus
Bet365
Bet365 Bonus
First Bet Safety Net up to $1000 OR Bet $5 and Get $150
T&Cs apply, 21+
At bet365 we don't do ordinary, that's why if you sign up now you'll get the choice of two great New Customer Offers, the First Bet Safety Net up to $1000 or Bet $5 and Get $150 in Bonus Bets. Deposit required. Bonus Bets wager excluded from returns. T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-Gambler 21+
Promo Code:
Go to Bet365
Go to Bet365
×
Your Promo Code:
The bonus offer of was already opened in an additional window. If not, you can open it also by clicking the following link:
Visit Site