Are you interested in placing wagers on the outcomes of several different sporting events?

And do you have an intense interest in the mathematical and statistical algorithms behind the wagering strategies?

At this juncture, it is vital to note that betting odds are calculating using mathematical formulae or algorithms. Thus, there is very little guesswork involved. Of course, the same cannot be argued for determining beforehand which team or individual wins the game or match.

The math behind betting odds

There is only an element of luck involved when predetermining the winner of an event. And, as highlighted by, most of making the correct choice lies in the pre-match research on all the individuals or teams playing the game or match.

At the outset of this discussion, it is important to be aware of the fact that, according to, “the math underlying odds and gambling can help determine whether a wager is worth pursuing.” Consequently, it is essential to understand how gambling odds are calculated; otherwise, you will run the unnecessary risk of losing the money you used to secure the bet.

Thus, by way of explanation, let’s look at the three main types of odds to determine the math behind the wager-types:

Moneyline odds

The moneyline or American wager is the traditional “all or nothing” bet. In a conventional sports match or game, there are either two individuals or two teams playing against each other. And, only one of these two competitors can win the game.

Bookmakers use odds to determine the amount of money you need to wager to win $100 USD. The minus sign indicates the favorite, while the plus sign indicates the underdog. For example, if you are betting on a boxing match between two greats, Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson. This is a mythical match used as a case study to describe moneyline odds.

Sugar Ray Robinson is the favorite at -500, and Muhammad Ali is the underdog at +250. Thus, the odds are interpreted as follows:

Bookmakers believe Muhammad Ali has a 50% less chance of winning the match. Therefore, to win $250, you need to stake $100. If Ali wins the match, then you get a payout of $350, your $100 stake, plus the 250 odds converted into dollars.

Fractional odds

These odds are used by some of the largest bookmakers across the globe and are popular in the UK. And, they are written as a fractional representation. For example, if the outcome of the same boxing match is represented here, Sugar Ray Robinson would be a favorite at 5/2.5 or 2/1.

If you wagered $100 on the fact that Robinson won the match, you would receive $2 for every $1 you bet, plus your original amount. Therefore, you would receive $300.

Decimal odds

Finally, decimal odds wagers are most often used in Europe, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia. And, they are arguably the simplest odds to understand and work with. Succinctly stated, the decimal odds number indicates the amount you win for every $1 you place on a particular wager. Also, the number represents the total return on your bet. Thus, your stake is already factored into the odds calculation.

Thus, the total return calculation is as follows:

Total Return = stake x decimal odds

The best way to describe this is to cite an example. Based on the fantasy match described above between Sugar Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali, the bookmakers have indicated their decimal odds as follows:

Sugar Ray Robinson = 11.00

Muhammad Ali = 5.00

If you stake $100 on this wager and Sugar Ray Robinson wins, the total return is $1100 ($100 x 11.00). Remember that the $100 stake is included in the total return figure, so the maximum you will receive is $1100. On the other hand, if Muhammad Ali wins, your total return will only be $500, including the $100 stake.