Fractional odds
Fractional odds are the most popular in the UK. Learn how to interpret them.
Probability is the statistical likelihood of a specific event or outcome occurring.
The concept of probability is fundamental to sports betting and bookmaking. Every time you place a sports bet, you’re wagering on the probability of a particular outcome.
Probability is often expressed as a percentage. A probability of 0% indicates that there’s no chance that a particular event will occur, and 100% indicates that the event is certain to happen. The higher the probability, the more likely it is that the event will take place.
Whenever you place a bet, your goal is to select the outcome you think is most likely. You don’t need to understand how statistics are used to calculate probability before you place a bet. Instead you use your knowledge of the sport and the event you’re betting on to make an educated estimate of probability. If your estimate is accurate, your bet will win. If you win more bets than you lose, you may have a knack for estimating probability in particular sports events.
The odds that bookmakers offer in betting markets are based on probability. For bookmakers to run their outfits at a profit, they have to ensure that probabilities are calculated as accurately as possible.
Whereas most regular punters base their probability estimates on educated guesses, bookmakers use computer software to calculate odds. The software takes into account many of the same factors that you’d consider when making a selection – including variables like form, event conditions, opposition and any known injuries to competitors. However, the software uses complex statistical and mathematical models to convert this information into probability estimates, which are as accurate as possible, for every possible outcome of an event.
Using betting exchanges, large groups of punters independently set odds for specific events. An interesting fact is that this process tends to produce more accurate odds than the statistical models used by bookmakers. Whereas the probability estimate of a single punter is going to be of variable quality, the cumulative probability estimates of hundreds or thousands of punters can be extremely accurate. As a result, some bookmakers even use betting exchanges to check and set their own odds.
Fractional odds are the most popular in the UK. Learn how to interpret them.
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Make sense of decimal odds and figure out how to convert them to fractional odds.