The first time I came across sports betting odds I was completely confused! All I wanted to know was, “how much money do I win if I’m right?” Unfortunately, for some reason (a good one, actually), sports odds are not that simple. It takes a little effort to begin understanding sports betting odds, but I’m going to explain how to do so in this article.
First, let’s start off with basic sports betting odds like the NBA Championship Odds and NCAA Championship Odds I posted the other day. What we can see from the NCAA article is that North Carolina has 12/1 odds to win the championship. All this means is that for every dollar you bet, you would win $12. Sometimes you’ll see odds like Kentucky’s odds which are 13/2. This means that you would win $13 if you bet $2. To compare this to North Carolina’s odds, divide by two and you can see that you win only $6.50 for betting $1 since Kentucky is more likely to win in the sports book’s opinion.
Another popular way you’ll see odds presented is as a money line. You may have seen a line such as: Duke -200 or UCLA +300. These odds are common on individual games where 1 team is the favorite and 1 is the underdog. Let’s take the Duke example (Duke -200). The minus sign means Duke is the favorite to win and the 200 means you need to bet $200 to win $100. Money lines are usually in reference to $100. In the UCLA example, there is a plus sign. This means UCLA is the underdog and you would win $300 if you bet $100. Note the difference between the two. For the favorite, it is telling me how much you need to bet to win $100, but for the underdog it is telling you how much you will win if you bet $100.
Those are the basics on sports betting odds. Later on I’m going to write about how to understand point spreads, over/unders, and the juice. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.